Are you ready to say goodbye to XenApp 6.5—and hello to XenApp 7?
With two important expiration dates on the horizon, it's almost the end of the line for Citrix XenApp 6.5, the popular application virtualization software. What does its expiration mean for your organization?
First, about those deadlines. On December 31, 2017, Citrix will stop maintaining XenApp 6.5. That is, no more security patches or upgrades from Citrix. Then, XenApp 6.5 will be officially retired on June 30, 2018. While you can continue to use XenApp 6.5, you'll be on your own for support.
A major issue with the XenApp 6.5 lifecycle retirement is that it may affect many other applications that you use and eventually, your mission-critical applications will become incompatible with XenApp 6.5. Lack of updates also means security risks. You can't patch a vulnerability if the patch doesn't exist—unless you create it yourself. That might not be possible. Clearly, now is the time to consider your migration strategy.
Preparing for change
As the XenApp 6.5 lifecycle expiration approaches, you have several options for replacement. One is to migrate to VMWare or another non-Citrix platform. Or, migrate to XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x. Either way, it is a migration, not a simple upgrade to be taken lightly or executed at the last minute. We recommend a comprehensive roadmap for the transition.
If you stick with Citrix, note that XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x is based on a new FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA) rather than the old Independent Management Architecture. In addition to the FMA's greater interoperability, XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x also provides all-new security, user experience, and management capabilities, and more agility for cloud and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). XenDesktop/XenApp 7.x allows applications and desktops to be presented close to the data, whether that data is on premise, bursting to the cloud, or recovered out of the cloud during a disaster.
XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x reduces administration by combining XenApp and VDI into a single architecture. You'll be able to dynamically provision and de-provision users on the fly without a manual rebuild or complex coding and installation steps.
All those new bells and whistles mean you'll need a full-blown program to deploy the new environment and migrate users. The first step will be to consider the version differences and the new opportunities that will come with them. For example, what level of application support will you need with this new technology? Which, if any, of your current applications will be compatible? If you replace an application, what dependencies should you take into consideration? And, will you need a Citrix environment expert to ensure a smooth implementation?
The bottom line: Change is coming for XenApp users and you're going to need a strategy. Are you ready?