Question and Answers
Citrix Windows App Delivery team has been releasing innovations and feature enhancements for the XenApp and XenDesktop product lines at a rapid pace, with the 2015 year bringing about new product releases on a quarterly basis. This rapid pace of innovation enhances the use cases for XenApp and XenDesktop while keeping the industry-leading Citrix solutions ahead of the competition. However, this increased rate of innovation has been demanding for some customers to keep pace.?? With Citrix releasing so many enhancements and component updates for XenApp and XenDesktop, customers are struggling to know when to initiate an upgrade plan and if they should continue to wait for Citrix to close the last few remaining feature gaps between the XenApp
(IMA) and the XenApp 7.x (FMA) platform. The Windows App Delivery team has made major strides in resolving these gaps in 2015; however, the existing XenApp install base has been slow to adopt the latest XenApp 7.6 release.
Balancing rapid release cycles with customer expectations and environment stability is a?? challenge many other technology companies are also facing, and the industry trend has been to establish servicing options to support ‘long term’ or ‘extended support’ releases. Citrix is announcing new Servicing Options for XenApp and XenDesktop and has adopted the term ‘Long Term Service Release’ (LTSR) and ‘Current Release’ (CR). Once Citrix has released a version of XenApp and XenDesktop and that release is well established in the field, Citrix will identify if the XenApp and XenDesktop components of that release meet the criteria for a Long Term Service Release. As a benefit of Software Maintenance, Long Term Service Releases of XenApp and XenDesktop enable enterprises to retain a particular release for an extended period of time while receiving minor updates that provide fixes, typically void of new functionality. This provides customers with greater predictability and simplified on-going maintenance. At Summit 2015, Citrix announced our first-ever Long Term Service Release of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 that is available for download on Citrix.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Long Term Service Release of XenApp/XenDesktop?
Long Term Service Release of XenApp/XenDesktop is a benefit of Software Maintenance. Customers with Software Maintenance can opt to implement the Long Term Service Release of XenApp and XenDesktop to receive 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support. In addition, by electing to implement a LTSR version of XenApp and XenDesktop, customers will receive fixes, known as a Cumulative Update. A Cumulative Update typically includes only fixes for the LTSR components without introducing new features and functionality that might impact the environment. Cumulative Updates are not considered version upgrades since they are typically void of new features and functionality. Rather, Cumulative Updates are maintenance updates to an existing product version. By opting to deploy an LTSR version of XenApp/XenDesktop, customers can take comfort in knowing that they have longer cycles between version upgrades with minimal environment changes which then lowers the long term IT management costs associated with their XenApp/XenDesktop deployments.
What is the ideal customer environment for a Long Term Service Release?
A Long Term Service Release of XenApp/XenDesktop is ideal for customers that typically follow a 3-5 year version upgrade cycle, must follow strict compliance testing and validation for any environment changes, and are seeking clear, predictable guidance on releases so that they can adopt them based on business needs and risk tolerance.
Who is eligible for the benefits of a Long Term Service Release?
Customers must have Software Maintenance for all their XenApp/XenDesktop licenses to qualify for the 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support (Separate purchase of extended support contract required). Software Maintenance is also required to access the Cumulative Updates for a Long Term Service Release.
What is a Current Release of XenApp/XenDesktop?
Any new release of XenApp/XenDesktop will be labeled a Current Release. A Current Release is the standard release process in which our customers are familiar with today. Citrix is simply identifying the standard release process as a Current Release to help differentiate those releases from a Long Term Service Release. All XenApp/XenDesktop releases will be initially a Current Release.
What is the ideal customer scenario for Current Release and Long Term Service Release environments?
Citrix recommends that large enterprise customers have a combination of Current Release and Long Term Service Release environments. It is recommended that customers install the latest Current Release to thoroughly test new features and functionality based on their individual business objectives. The Current Release of XenApp/XenDesktop will have the latest features and functionality that address the broadest range of use cases. Whereas, these same enterprise customers will likely have a Long Term Service Release environment for mission-critical applications and desktops where they are looking to minimize change and simplify long-term maintenance.
Who is eligible for a Current Release?
Access to Current Releases of XenApp and XenDesktop are a benefit of both Software Maintenance (SWM) and Subscription Advantage (SA).?? A customer must have active SWM or SA by the eligibility date of the Current Release to have access to download a Current Release.
What is the difference between a Current Release and a Long Term Service Release?
All initial releases of XenApp/XenDesktop will be a Current Release. There will likely be multiple Current Releases of a major XenApp/XenDesktop version (i.e. 7.6, 7.6 FP1, 7.6 FP2, 7.6 FP3, 7.7, 7.8); however, there will likely only be one LTSR release of that version after that release is considered customer-tested and industry-proven (i.e. 7.6 FP3).?? For example, there were three?? feature packs of XenApp 7.6 before the 7.6 LTSR release is identified. Current Releases will occur more frequently. Citrix thoroughly tests all new technology before releasing any feature to market; however, Current Releases signify new technology and fixes in one combined release. Long Term Service Releases will contain XenApp/XenDesktop components and features that have been proven and well established.
Fixes for Current Releases will likely be released in the next Current Release; therefore, it is less likely that an individual fix would be released for a Current Release version. Therefore, the customer would be asked to upgrade to the next version of a Current Release that includes the requested fix and new functionality. The cadence of Current Releases may vary throughout the product lifecycle and due to legal and financial restrictions, only general timing cannot be made generally available.
Long Term Service Releases will have a regular cadence of Cumulative Updates that will typically contain only fixes. Cumulative Updates would typically not include new features or functionality. Customers could plan for Cumulative Updates based on a regular cadence of 3-9 months.
Customers with Long Term Service Release environments would not be asked to upgrade to a newer version of the product, for example customers running 7.6 LTSR components will receive Cumulative Updates for 7.6 LTSR – they will not be asked to upgrade to XenApp 7.7.
Below is a table comparing the different servicing options:
|??||Long Term Service Release (LTSR)||Current Release (CR)|
|Software Maintenance Required||Yes1||Optional2|
Product Lifecycle Timelines
|5 years of mainstream support + 5 years of extended support3||Standard product lifecycle milestones4|
|Access to Releases||Citrix.com/Downloads||Citrix.com/Downloads|
|Cumulative Update Schedule||4-6 months9||N/A|
|Release Schedule||12-24 months9||3-9 months9|
|No enhancements until next LTSR||Rapid release cycles, more opportunities for enhancements|
Subscription Advantage or Software Maintenance is required and standard terms apply. Separate support contract is required with Subscription Advantage.
Separate support contract is requires for extended support.
Cumulative Updates will typically contain only fixes for Long Term Service Release sites. Customers will be asked to install relevant Cumulative Updates on Long Term Service Release sites.
Rapid release cycles allow customers to add new features and all public fixes by upgrading to the next Current Release. Customers will be asked to upgrade Current Release sites to a newer release that includes relevant fixes as well as new features and functionality.
Customers on Long Term Service Releases will be asked to update to next Cumulative Update that contains the fix.
Customers on Current Releases might be asked to upgrade to next Current Release that contains the fix.
General guidance, Citrix does not make product roadmaps public.
What is the difference between a Long Term Service Release “Update” and a Current Release “Upgrade”?The following table helps differentiate Updates and Upgrades:
|LTSR?? Cumulative Update||CR Version Upgrade|
|Maintenance?? Release||Major Release|
|Software release that provides maintenance corrections and/or fixes||Software release that provides functional enhancements as well as fixes|
|Available to Software Maintenance?? ?? Customers||Available to Software Maintenance and Subscription Advantage Customers|
Can a customer have both a Long Term Service Release environment and a Current Release environment?Yes. Customers can have both an LTSR environment and a Current Release environment within their organization.
Can a customer move a Long Term Service Release environment to a Current Release of XenApp/XenDesktop?
Yes. Customers are not required to remain on a Long Term Service Release for an extended period of time. Customer can move an LTSR environment to a Current Release as they deem fit based on business requirements and XenApp/XenDesktop features.
How do I determine the new End of Life and End of Extended Support dates for Long Term Service Release?
Customers and Partners should reference the Product Lifecycle on Citrix.com to determine the extended End of Life and End of Extended Support dates for each LTSR.
What does a customer need to purchase to receive the benefits of Long Term Service Releases?
Customers are required to have Software Maintenance for XenApp and/or XenDesktop to receive all the benefits of LTSR. A separate contract is also required for extended support.
Are the XenApp and XenDesktop Servicing Options restricted by edition?
No. All current editions of XenApp (Advanced, Enterprise, and Platinum) and XenDesktop (VDI, Enterprise, and Platinum) are eligible for both Current Release and Long Term Service Release benefits. However, active Software Maintenance and/or Subscription Advantage restrictions apply.
How will the customer know if their environment is Long Term Service Release compliant?
Citrix support and engineering are developing a compliance tool to help customers determine if their environment is LTSR compliant.?? Wireframe mock-ups of the tool are scheduled to be demoed at Citrix Summit with the GA date of the tool to follow sometime thereafter. This tool will not only help customers identify if their environment is LTSR compliant, but this tool will also check the customer’s environment against available Cumulative Updates that include fixes to help notify the customer if they are missing critical updates. Six months prior to reaching the end of mainstream support, Citrix will ask all LTSR environments to run the LTSR compliance tool before signing a contract for Extended Support.
How will a customer with active Software Maintenance access the Cumulative Updates available to their Long Term Service Release environment?
Customers with active Software Maintenance will access the Cumulative Updates via the Citrix.com download pages for XenApp and XenDesktop. Once logged in, Citrix will check to?? determine if the customer has active Software Maintenance before displaying the Cumulative Updates on the associated LTSR downloads page.
Is it possible for customers to skip a LTSR cumulative update without losing compliance? Is there a need to install any version of a cumulative update when they are released? As long as the customer is on a base LTSR version, they will be considered compliant.?? However, if a customer reports an issue, the customer could be asked to move to the latest cumulative update to receive the fix.
Will a customer running an LTSR compliant environment be supported if they also have non-compliant components, such as a Current Release component or non-compliant component??? For example, if a customer wants a 7.8 VDA feature will they get the benefits of LTSR if they run that 7.8 VDA with 7.6 LTSR Controllers?
Citrix does not recommend mixing non-compliant components (i.e. the latest Current Release components like 7.8 VDA or LTSR notable exclusions like Personal vDisk) with an LTSR environment.?? However, the decision to add a non-compliant component to an LTSR environment should be based on the customer’s risk tolerance.?? The intention of LTSR is to provide a customer with the best possible quality and long-term stability via minimum environment changes.?? Deviation from the identified LTSR components introduces risk into the environment, although Citrix does make every effort to release products with the highest level of quality.?? In terms of the support experience, the mixed LTSR and non-compliant components environment will be supported based on the terms of the support contract and the individual component’s LTSR status. Here are a few examples:
For example, if a customer decides to implement Provisioning Services 7.7, which is not compliant with the current 7.6 LTSR environment and the customer has an issue with Provisioning Services 7.7 the customer may be asked to move to the latest Provisioning Services Current Release to receive public fixes.
If the customer is using a notable exclusion such as Personal vDisk or Local App Access within a 7.6 LTSR compliant environment, the customer maybe asked to isolate the deployments that have the non-compliant components to maintain the benefits of LTSR.?? If an issue specific to a non-compliant component like Personal vDisk is reported, the customer can expect that a fix will be made available via an upcoming Current Release; whereas for the LTSR components, they can continue to leverage LTSR cumulative updates.
?? If the customer decides to implement Storefront 3.5 which is not LTSR compliant and aggregate LTSR and CR sites.?? If the customer has an issue with StoreFront 3.5 they may be asked to move to the latest StoreFront Current Release to receive public fixes. These Current releases will have new features along with fixes. Also, the customer can plan to make the environment LTSR compliant when a new LTSR version is announced which includes the functionality available in StoreFront 3.5.
Does a customer with SA and a Support Contract qualify for the benefits of a Long Term Service Release?
Yes.?? A customer with active subscription advantage and a support contract such as Premier Support, Preferred Support or Enterprise Support is eligible for similar benefits of the Software Maintenance program; therefore, they are eligible for the benefits of Long Term Service Releases.
Will customers without a Software Maintenance have access to the fixes that are specifically targeted at addressing security concerns?
Citrix will make every effort to inform customers, irrespective of their customer support status, that Citrix is releasing a patch for a security vulnerability in our product. However, access to this fix will only be available either as an on-demand fix or through Cumulative Updates of LTSR components or as an upgrade to a Current Release.
Are any components/features excluded from LTSR?
There are two types of components that are excluded from the benefits of LTSR. The first type is referenced as ‘compatible components’. Compatible components are not eligible for the extended milestone, nor will cumulative updates be provided for these components. However, you can have these components within your LTSR environment, but you must adhere to the minimum recommended version and Citrix may ask you to upgrade that component to a newer version to install fixes, a good example is Profile Manger (UPM). The second type is referenced as ‘notable exclusions’. These are certain XenApp and XenDesktop that are not ideal for an LTSR environment and having one of these components in your LTSR environment may impact your eligibility for the extended lifecycle milestone dates, an example is Personal vDisk. For the 7.6 LTSR, the compatible components and notable exclusions information is available here: http://docs.citrix.com/en- us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-whats-new/long-term-service-release.htm.
Why is Windows 10 support excluded from 7.6 LTSR when the 7.6 LTSR VDA supports Windows 10?
Windows 10 is excluded from 7.6 LTSR at this time. The 7.6 LTSR Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) does support Windows 10; however, Citrix plans to add more enhancements and features to the Desktop VDA to extend Windows 10 functionality before establishing a LTSR Desktop VDA for Windows 10.
How do I get a Windows 10 VDA that is 7.6 LTSR compliant?
At this time, there is not a Windows 10 LTSR eligible VDA.?? Many customers may find it beneficial to run a Current Release environment, such as 7.7 or 7.8, that includes some Windows 10 value-add features in parallel with their 7.6 LTSR environment.
Does Citrix recommend certain versions of Citrix Receiver for each LTSR?
Citrix provides a list of minimum Receiver versions that are compatible with each LTSR release. The list of minimum versions for the 7.6 LTSR are available here: http://docs.citrix.com/en-
us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6/xad-whats-new/long-term-service-release.htm. It should be noted that Citrix prepared special program for Citrix Receiver for Windows, details on that program are available here: https://www.citrix.com/support/product- lifecycle/milestones/receiver.html
What is the Citrix Receiver for Windows LTSR program?
The program is a special LTSR program for Receiver for Windows that is different from the XenApp and XenDesktop LTSR program in terms of product lifecycle. The Receiver for Windows LTSR program was created to help customers be on base version of Receiver for Windows for an extended period of time, approximately 18 months. The LTSR Receiver for Windows is eligible for a regular cadence of Cumulative Updates. More information on that program can be found here: https://www.citrix.com/support/product-lifecycle/milestones/receiver.html
Will fixes be provided for Citrix Receiver LTSR version?
Citrix Receiver fixes will be available as part of cumulative updates for the LTSR Citrix Receiver.?? These Citrix Receiver cumulative updates are full install packages.?? Customers should reference the latest LTSR compliant Receiver table for more information: https://www.citrix.com/support/product- lifecycle/milestones/receiver.html
Could a customer utilize the Windows Receiver LTSR program for a non-LTSR environment, such as XenApp 6.5?
Yes. The Windows Receiver LTSR program is separate from the XenApp and XenDesktop LTSR program.??
When will a customer with Software Maintenance running a Long Term Service Release site need to sign up for Extended Support?
Customers with LTSR environments and active Software Maintenance would need to sign up for Extended Support 6 months prior to the End of Mainstream Support date as documented on the Product Lifecycle on Citrix.com. Customers will also need to run the LTSR compliance tool prior to the end of mainstream support milestone. Extended Support Contracts are available for 6-month durations; therefore, a customer would need to renew the contract with Citrix every 6 months for Extended Support, based on the terms and conditions of Extended Support contracts.
How often will Citrix release a Long Term Service Release of XenApp and XenDesktop? Citrix will release a Long Term Service Release of XenApp and XenDesktop based on the number of features, implementations, customer support cases and general feedback.?? However, as very general guidance it can be expected that Citrix will release a new Long Term Service Release every 12-24 months; however, Citrix reserves the full rights to alter those timelines.
Will Citrix pre-announce which releases will become the next LTSR version?
Citrix is actively discussing the best means to provide this information to our customer.
What resources are available for a Customer to learn more about the Long Term Service Release and Current Release of XenApp and XenDesktop?Citrix will be providing guidance to Citrix partners at Summit and providing presentations, blog posts, web sites and videos at the Summit launch to communicate the details of the Servicing Options. Citrix partners and sales reps should post any additional questions regarding the Servicing Options to SalesIQ under XenApp and XenDesktop.
Are other Citrix products going to have Servicing Options?
At this time, only XenApp and XenDesktop have announced Servicing Options. Also, a special program for Citrix Receiver for Windows has been announced. However, other Citrix product lines may offer similar Servicing Options at a later time.
Are other software companies providing Servicing Options?
Yes.?? Many other software companies have announced similar programs.?? Microsoft has announced Servicing Options - Long Term Servicing Branch and Current Branch - for Windows 10. Other companies such as Adobe, OpenSUSE, etc. have similar offerings.
Is there a time period where a customer could downgrade a component to become LTSR compliant? Nothing stops a customer from downgrading a component. For example, a customer on 7.7 can downgrade to 7.6 LTSR to receive the benefits of implementing a LTSR version. Please refer to the product documentation before making this decision.
Is Citrix discontinuing the process of providing Hotfix Rollup Packs (HRP) for XenApp and XenDesktop?
With LTSR, Cumulative Updates will replace Hotfix Rollup Packs (HRP). Hotfix Rollup Packs (HRP) will still be made available for XenApp 6.5.
Will 7.6 LTSR support XenApp for Windows Server 2008 R2 for 10 years?
Windows Server 2008 R2 will not be eligible for extended support. Citrix will continue to monitor Windows 2008 R2 lifecycle dates for future determination of lifecycle milestones.
Will Citrix ever force a customer to move to the latest LTSR prior to the 5 + 5 (10 year) timeline?
Customers may want to move to a new LTSR version based on new Microsoft operating system support reasons or new Citrix features available in the next LTSR, but will not be forced to move.?? Please note, a separate extended support contract must be purchased for the 5 years of extended support, additional fee may apply.??
How will Citrix help customers easily migrate onto future LTSR releases?
Citrix aspires to make upgrades between LTSR versions as seamless as possible and will strive to provide in-place upgrade options.
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