Citrix XenApp 6.5 End of Life: An Approach to Upgrading If You’re Not On Windows 10 Yet

Ah, how to bid farewell to an old friend? Citrix XenApp 6.5 has been a reliable workhorse since its release in 2011, but the time has come to say goodbye as it reaches End of Life on June 30, 2018.

For most Kraft Kennedy clients, XenApp complements a physical Windows desktop deployment. Most firms that have migrated to Windows 10 have migrated to XenApp 7.x on Windows 2016 as well, but many firms that are still on Windows 7 are running XenApp 6.5 on Windows 2008 R2. Are you still on Windows 7 and XenApp 6.5? Here’s an approach to consider:

First, if you aren’t already planning your Windows 10 deployment, please contact your Kraft Kennedy representative to discuss your plan to upgrade (see our recent post, “As Windows 7 Approaches End-of-Life, Security Problems Await”). Support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020 and we anticipate that many firms will wait until the last minute. To ensure that we can provide assistance, we encourage you to contact us to reserve slots (we are currently booking into 2019).

Once Citrix XenApp 6.5 reaches end of life, technical support and update downloads will no longer be available, and you will have to rely on forums to troubleshoot issues. To avoid this unpleasant scenario and take advantage of the latest features, we recommend upgrading. For firms still in the planning stages of a Windows 10 deployment, we’ve been successful following a phased approach to implementing XenApp 7.x and related components as follows:

Phase 1: Implement new Citrix infrastructure

The goal of this phase is to implement updated Citrix 7.x infrastructure and related components (NetScalers, StoreFront Servers, Delivery Controllers, Provisioning Servers, and Licensing) as appropriate to position the firm to update delivery of existing Windows 7 / Windows 2008 R2 resources while Windows 10 planning continues.

Phase 2: Update delivery of legacy resources while Windows 10 is pending

The goal of this phase is to update existing Windows 2008 R2 resources (published desktops and applications) for delivery via the new infrastructure deployed during Phase 1. This not only addresses the XenApp 6.5 EOL issue, but allows the firm to take advantage of new protocol enhancements and improved management and monitoring capability.

Phase 3: Deliver new resources once Windows 10 implementation is underway

The goal of this phase is to leverage the “heavy lifting” that goes into a Windows 10 planning and implementation effort in terms of applications, policies, user settings and data, and automated deployment process to generate a master image that will be used to deliver new Citrix resources with the same look/feel that users experience on their new Windows 10 desktops.

Of course, every environment is different and entails unique considerations, including locations, components, client access, backup and disaster recovery, and how Citrix’s expanding suite of cloud services might fit in. That said, we’ve found that some variation of the phased approach above has allowed firms who expect to be on Windows 7 a bit longer to address the XenApp 6.5 EOL issue, buy a little time to effectively plan and implement Windows 10, and take advantage of administrative and end-user improvements in the meantime.

Questions? Please contact your Kraft Kennedy representative or email sales@kraftkennedy.com.