Are you wondering if you should upgrade your SDX appliance? By upgrading the SDX software, you benefit from the latest enhancements and fixes for any existing issues. And at Citrix, we always look for ways to improve our products and user experience.

Any kind of software upgrade might go wrong if it’s not done properly, thereby causing unexpected situations. And that could certainly be true for an SDX appliance upgrade. By following some practical considerations and best practices, you can experience a seamless SDX appliance upgrade.

Before getting into the upgrade process, let’s have a look at the components of the SDX appliance image and the evolution of the image over the years. This information will help you understand the upgrade process better.

Inside the NetScaler SDX appliance image

The NetScaler SDX appliance is a multi-tenant hardware platform on which you can provision and manage multiple NetScaler instances.

The components of the NetScaler appliance image have always remained the same, regardless of whether it’s the legacy virtual bundle image (VBI) or the existing single bundle image (SBI). The following components make up the SDX appliance image:

Component Description
Management Service image (also known as Service VM or SVM) The management interface of the SDX appliance
 XenServer image  The hypervisor on which the SDX instances are run
 NetScaler VPX image  The NetScaler virtual appliance, which can be provisioned on the SDX on the XenServer, to provide a multi-tenant solution
 Supplemental packs  Packs to modify and extend the functionality of a XenServer host
 Hotfixes  XenServer updates, which keep the XenServer up to date
*LOM firmware The LOM helps supervise functions such as fan control, power supply monitoring, temperature monitoring, and so on

*From 12.0 57.19,  lights-out management (LOM) firmware is added to the SBI, and our customers don’t have to upgrade the LOM separately. The LOM firmware is not written by Citrix.

A look-back: evolution of the NetScaler SDX appliance image

Since the introduction of the  NetScaler SDX appliance in  2011, the SDX appliance image  has evolved not only in terms of the new features it offered but also in terms of the reduction of components required to complete the appliance upgrade. Here’s a quick look at the history of the NetScaler SDX appliance image.

Figure. Evolution of the NetScaler SDX appliance image

The SBI upgrade, available from 11.0 and later releases, allows you to upgrade all the components in a single step, eliminating the chances of incompatibility between various components. In contrast, in previous VBI, each components had a different release cycle. So, upgrading each component separately could lead to unsupported combinations of components.

Upgrade a NetScaler SDX appliance

Before you start the upgrade process, read the relevant technical document for the target release available at For more information, see the Resources section at the end of this article.
Take a note of the following points:
  • From Management Service image version 10.5.66.x or later, you can directly upgrade to a single bundle image. If Management Service is running an older version, you must first upgrade it to version 10.5.66.x or later.
  • The SBI upgrade is a multi-step process that might take up to 90 mins.
  • During an SBI upgrade, first, the Management Service is upgraded to the newer, provided version. While upgrading, connectivity to Management Service might be lost. Reconnect to the Management Service to monitor the status of the upgrade.
  • Next, the new Management Service upgrades the XenServer and completes the remainder of the appliance upgrade. Management Service from release 11.0 and later is capable of performing a full XenServer upgrade.
  • Do not restart the appliance during XenServer upgrade.
  •  Citrix recommends that you use a XenServer serial console (or a LOM console) to monitor XenServer upgrade.

Prepare for upgrade

Before you upgrade, complete the following tasks:
  • Create a backup. For more information, see Backing Up and Restoring the Configuration Data of the SDX Appliance.
  • Check NetScaler SDX Hardware-Software Compatibility Matrix.
  • Download the target NetScaler SDX image from the Citrix Download site. Here’s an example of the SDX single bundle image for 12.1 48.3 available at the download site.

    SDX appliance upgrade process (from SBI to SBI)

    Follow these steps to upgrade the SDX appliance from one single bundle image (SBI) to another SBI:

    1. From the NetScaler SDX Management Service interface, navigate to Configuration> Management Service > Software Images and then click Upload. Upload the already downloaded SBI .tgz file.

    The following screenshot shows an SBI 12.1 48.13 image uploaded to an SDX appliance running version 11.1 57.11.

    2. Navigate to Configuration > System > System Administration. Click Upgrade Appliance, choose the file, and then click OK.

The upgrade takes some time to complete.

SDX appliance upgrade process (from VBI to SBI)

If the Management Service of the SDX appliance is running version 10.5.66.x or later, you can directly upgrade to an SBI. If your Management Service is running an older version, you must first upgrade it to version 10.5.66.x or later.

After you’ve upgraded Management Service to 10.5.66.x or later, follow these steps to upgrade the virtual bundle image (VDI) to an SBI.

  1. From the SDX Management Service, navigate to Configuration> Management Service > Software Images. Choose the SBI file, and then click Upload.
  2. Navigate to Configuration > System > System Administration. Click Upgrade Management Service.

  3. Under Upgrade Management Service, choose the SBI image and click OK. The SBI upgrades all other components of the SDX appliance image.


For additional information about NetScaler SDX appliance upgrade, see the following resources: