Article by Tony Main

Upgrading from XenApp 6.5? What are your end-points?

Citrix XenApp 6.5 is now approaching a final milestone. Come the 30th of June 2018, Citrix will no longer support this platform as part of a standard support agreement. They are providing Extended Support to 2020, but this will be priced to become prohibitive to force customers to upgrade to the 7.x version.

That being said, XenApp is still in use and a reluctance to upgrade from 6.5 sees many organisations persisting with this version. The End of Maintenance on the 31st of December 2017 and the forthcoming “End Of Life” will make the remaining users bite the bullet and migrate or maybe leave.

Much has been written and discussed about the successes and pit falls of this migration, but as a vendor of thin client devices we seldom see information about the end-point for these projects. This might not be news for the majority, but Citrix historical legacy on upgrades might create an awkward assumption which might de-rail a project if end-point consideration is not taken into account.

Up to Citrix XenApp 6.5, you were able to use clients on platforms from the very early days of Citrix MetaFrame etc. Admittedly, a limited level of functionality, but the point was that Citrix upgrades could focus on the servers and infrastructure, and then worry about the endpoint later. With the release of the 7.x version of Citrix, the supported client list changed overnight. Citrix had stopped development of their client on many operating systems (OS/2 anyone?) and this included Windows CE, a hugely popular platform with thin client vendors. This meant that with the release of the 7.x environment, the old clients fail to work.

Why? Well the fundamental reason is the shift from Independent Management Architecture (IMA) to Flexcast Management Architecture (FMA). These are the mechanisms which allow the clients to connect to the services that are provided by Citrix. I know this is an oversimplification of what both IMA and FMA did/does, but this is where the issue lies for legacy clients. IMA based devices can still connect via ICA to a 7.x service using an IP address, but try to connect to a published application or a VDI, then forget it.

While the vast majority of clients will have more contemporary devices on desktops, the oversight of these extremely reliable, low cost, ultra-secure and inexpensive terminals is all too easy. I know of customers running thin clients which are in excess of 15 years old (Windows 8 anyone?) and this is the point. Praim feel that with the deserved discussion on the end of XenApp 6.5, customers need to be made aware that this migration might require consideration of the desktop device too.

Fortunately, Praim have a rage of certified devices which will work with the current version of Citrix, and Microsoft and VMware for that matter, so as part of any migration project include Praim to see how we can assist.

 

To make your endpoint upgrade less painful Praim offers you up to 20% off on new, up-to-date thin clients. Check the Trade -in promo.

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