It’s a bold statement. But I believe it’s true. You know why? Because for the first time in a long time I can confidently recommend an FMA-based version of XenApp for our largest and most demanding customers. And next to XenApp 4.5 and XenApp 6.5 (my other 2 favorite XenApp releases of all time) there is no better release than XenApp/XenDesktop 7.15.
I’m really excited about this release and it seems everyone else is, too — CTPs the world over are rejoicing, Dan Allen opened a nice bottle of Cab, Brian Madden is dancing in the rain (wherever he is these days), and even Shawn Bass gave us a little golf clap to commend us for making XenApp great again. I made up most of that but here’s 5 real reasons why 7.15 is a huge deal:
- This is an LTSR! (With Cloud Support). I’ve been one of the biggest proponents internally at Citrix pushing for the LTSR program. Our large customers simply can’t keep up with a 3 month release cycle. And our ISV friends also can’t test every release – they want “solid” releases like 6.5 or 7.15 that they can certify their key apps on and feel confident. The cool thing about this LTSR is the 7.15 VDAs are also compatible with our XA/XD Service in Citrix Cloud, not to mention 5 years of mainstream support and another 5 of extended if required. This is why I love these LTSRs: it’s a no-brainer for our large customers or customers with mission critical workloads to adopt so they future-proof their Citrix environment for years to come. The supportability and additional regression testing we do on these LTSRs should give you even more confidence that this is the way to go.
- Zero Gaps! We moved from IMA to FMA when we went from XenDesktop 4.0 to 5.0. And admittedly, we had a few gaps in those first few releases of FMA. We’ve been working extremely hard to close the gaps over the last couple years and I’m here to report that zero gaps remain and FMA can now do a whole lot more than IMA. And since we only ship LTSRs every couple years, 7.15 is the first LTSR that has everything you know and love from the IMA days. Namely zones (that scale and now with ZPF), LHC (that now scales better) and “advanced” application publishing that lets you granularly publish apps to specific servers.
- Windows 10 Support. Before 7.15, we didn’t have a perfect solution to support Windows 10. We only went about “half way” IMO here and a few of our customers said they wanted more. The 7.15 LTSR now provides you with total support.
- Key Features Delivered in CRs. We shipped almost 10 Current Releases (CRs) between these last couple LTSRs… and some of our larger customers told us they aren’t super comfortable adopting new features in these CRs right away. Now that we have an LTSR, you can feel confident about deploying some of these new features or components. My favorites that fall into this category are EDT, WEM, App Layering, and FAS.
- Platform Support. The other reason this is a monumental release is because we’re going to see this one for a while. It’s going to “linger” very similar to 4.5 and 6.5. Why? Because this is the last release to support some of those key MSFT platforms you know and love, namely 2008 R2 and Windows 7. So, if you’re not ready to make the jump to Server 2016 or Windows 10, then 7.15 is the way to go and you can feel good about this version for years to come.
I’ve been waiting for this 7.15 release — some say they’ve waited 2 years for this “next” LTSR, but other customers may have been waiting a bit longer. So, for all of you 6.5 customers that are staring at the EOL dates in the very near future, this is the release you want to move to. And I believe this 7.15 release will be one of those flagship Citrix releases that we’ll see in environments for the next decade.
Do you need help migrating from 6.5 or doing an in-place upgrade from 7.6.3 or another 7.x CR? Citrix Consulting Services is here to help, of course! Feel free to reach out to me directly or get in touch with your local Citrix rep. And my colleague Sarah Steinhoff will be sharing some firsthand stories from the field related to doing these IMA->FMA migrations and 7.x in-place upgrades. Be sure to tune into that free Citrix Consulting session in a few weeks.
Nick Rintalan, Principal Architect – Americas, Citrix Consulting Services (CCS)