It's official. Citrix has made several announcements about the upcoming 4.5 release of Presentation Server. I've read through the press releases, PowerPoints, partner documents, and talked to several people. This article highlights the important facts.
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The quick highlights:
- The "Access Suite" has been renamed to "Presentation Server Platinum Edition." (no joking!)
- Standard Edition has been dropped. (Presumably since Citrix now offers Access Essentials.)
- The products will be officially released on March 8, although they should be available for download on MyCitrix by March 1.
Remember that in the world of Citrix, the "Access Suite" was Presentation Server + Password Manager + Citrix Access Gateway (CAG) with SmartAccess. For 4.5, Citrix announced that Presentation Server Platinum edition would include all the features of Presentation Server plus Password Manager and CAG with SmartAccess. They're also including the EdgeSight application performance monitoring product which used to be an extra $75 per concurrent user (ccu). All of this is priced at $600 per ccu, which seems to be a pretty good deal.
The only thing weird about the Platinum edition is the name. (Maybe Citrix used the same marketing firm to name the products that Microsoft used to name the seven different versions of Vista?) The word "Platinum" is kind of weird in the context of an enterprise business software platform. "Platinum" conjures up images of high-limit credit cards and strip clubs, but since iForum is in Las Vegas this year I guess that's okay.
In looking through some of the new Platinum material from Citrix, I saw a slide in a presentation that actually talked about the "enterprise-class reliability" in the platinum edition. Seriously? I need the Platinum edition for enterprise features? What about the Enterprise edition? (They'll probably release a slide showing how it has a lot of "advanced" features.) In 2009 Citrix will say that you get platinum-level benefits in the new diamond edition.
Folding the whole suite into the "Presentation Server" name is also a challenge for me personally because I'm working on a new book about "Presentation Server 4.5." But now that Citrix is calling all of this stuff "Presentation Server," do I need to cover it all in the book? The short answer is 'no,' because if I did the book would be 2000 pages long and wouldn't come out until 2014. But I can already picture people sending me hate mails because they bought a "PS 4.5" book and it didn't include EdgeSight or something like that. I'll probably have to rename the book to "Presentation Server 4.5 Core Technologies" or something.
Which features are in which editions?
Citrix is dropping the Standard Edition. This makes sense because Standard did not support load balancing, and now Citrix has the Access Essentials (CAE) product for single-server environments. (It was always good entertainment to ask a Citrix sales rep why anyone would buy the "Standard" edition now that CAE is out.)
In 4.5, "Advanced" is the new standard. (har har!) It provides the baseline feature set, including load-balancing.
Similar to 4.0, the "Enterprise" edition of Presentation Server 4.5 adds Application Isolation Environments, Resource Manager, Installation Manager, and (new in 4.5), the Server Health Assistant and Citrix Application Streaming support (a.k.a. "Tarpon" a.k.a. "Citrix's version of Softricity.") A key to point out here though is that the application streaming built into the "Enterprise" edition of PS 4.5 is for streaming of applications to Presentation Servers only. If you want to stream applications to desktops, you need to buy those CCU CALs separately. Correction: The streaming included in the Enterprise edition is for workstations and Presentation Servers. The extra CCU CAL add-on is if you want to use the streaming functionality without using any Presentation Server apps via ICA.
And finally, as mentioned before, the Platinum edition has all the funtionality of the Enterprise edition, plus CAG SmartAccess, Password Manager, and EdgeSight for application monitoring. Like the application streaming support in the Enterprise edition, the EdgeSight component in the Platinum edition is for monitoring servers only. (It's called "EdgeSight for Presentation Server.") If you want to get the full EdgeSight end-to-end monitoring solution, you need to buy "EdgeSight for Endpoints."
Licensing still uses the concurrent user model and breaks down as follows:
- Platinum: $600 per ccu / $75 for Subscription Advantage
- Enterprise: $450 per ccu / $50 for SA
- Advanced: $350 per ccu / $45 for SA
In all cases, the base price includes one year of Subscription Advantage. The SA prices are the renewal prices. It's also important to point out that these are just the suggested retail prices from Citrix. Resellers can charge whatever they want, and there are a bunch of different discount and volume programs available, so if you want to buy 1000 CCUs of Platinum I can guarantee you'll get them for less than $600 each
A lot has been written on Presentation Server 4.5 over the past few years, so I figured I'd use this space to confirm some of the technical rumors and predictions that have been going around.
- Presentation Server 4.5 is Windows Server 2003 only. The media kit will come with PS 4.0 for any Windows 2000 servers you might still have.
- All three editions of Presentation Server 4.5 will be available in x64 and 32-bit versions. Since pricing is CCU-based, whether you use x64 or 32-bit on the server makes no difference price-wise.
- Citrix is officially not doing service packs anymore. All bug fixes will be delivered via the hotfix rollup packs (HRPs). To that end, PS 4.5 is not a service pack upgrade for 4.0 like 4 was for 3. PS 4.5 is a wholly separate product.
- Presentation Server 4.0 will stop being sold in May. It will be supported through December 31, 2009.
Finally, I'd like to share a note about some upcoming changes to the Citrix Access Gateway (SSL-VPN) platform. You may recall that Citrix has two lines of Citrix Access Gateways--the 2000 and 5000 series devices based on technology from Net6 and sold as the Access Gateway "Standard" or "Advanced" editions, and the 7000, 9000, and 10000 series devices based on technology from NetScaler and sold as the "Enterprise" editions. You may also recall that the Enterprise edition did not support SmartAccess.
This is changing on April 16. Citrix will release new firmware for their NetScaler "Enterprise" Access Gateways that will give them the SmartAccess functionality. With this you'll be able to use them with your existing Advanced Access Control servers or with the new Presentation Server Platinum Edition servers.