Citrix plans to end support for XenApp 6.0 in 2013. What’s that? You’re still migrating to 6.0?
A few months ago Andrew Wood wrote a nice blog article about the end of life of a number of key XenApp-related products, and it reminded me of some conversions I've been having with a number of my customers about this topic.
Like all big vendors, Citrix maintains a product support lifecycle policy for XenApp (as well as all of their other products). The current lifecycle timelines are available at CTX122442. I'm not going to spend any time in this post discussing the differences between End of Sales (EOS), End of Maintenance (EOM) and End of Life (EOL) as Citrix's Jeff Muir wrote an excellent article describing all of this in great detail.
Instead, the main point of this article is that Citrix would like all of their customers and partners to cease using XenApp 6.5 Beta (err, I mean XenApp 6.0) by July 2013. In addition, they'd also like you to stop using XenApp 4.5 and 5.0 as well. What does this mean to us?
It means that you have exactly 17 months from right now to architect and migrate your existing Citrix infrastructure from XenApp 4.5, 5.0 and 6.0 over to XenApp 6.5.
I see several major problems with this and I'd like to break the discussion down into three separate parts. They are:
End of life of XenApp 4.5 on Server 2003
End of life
Server 2003 SP2 is officially end of life by Microsoft on July 14th, 2015. Citrix ends support for XenApp 4.5 on March 31, 2013. This means there's a 27 month window between when Citrix drops support for XenApp 4.5 and when Microsoft stops supporting the core platform. There are some legacy apps out there that won't run on Server 2008 in 32-bit mode let alone on Server 2008 R2 which is 64-bit only. For the customers stuck with these legacy apps your solution is either to migrate to a pure RDS environment or migrate away from Citrix and over to Quest or another competitor if you can't get your legacy apps off XenApp 4.5 by then. Of course you can buy extended support from Citrix for 4.5, but I'd rather migrate off from XenApp and buy a few Ferraris with the spare change left over ;)
Server 2003 is rock solid!
I've been happily running XenApp 4.5 on Server 2003 in many customer environments and the reality is that is that it is just a rock solid platform. Barely any Citrix related stability issues, barely any OS-related stability issues (ok ignore print drivers for a moment). XenApp 4.5 just runs and runs. Compare that with XenApp 5.0 on Server 2008 and XenApp 6.0 on Server 2008 R2 which were substantially poorer code quality from my perspective and XenApp 4.5 on 2003 looks like the platform of choice as long as one can milk it for.