Joy? Confusion? Anger? These are all things you might be feeling about the return of XenApp.

Yesterday, Citrix officially announced the latest version of XenApp along with XenDesktop 7.5, despite many leaks over the last few weeks.

Yesterday, Citrix officially announced the latest version of XenApp along with XenDesktop 7.5, despite many leaks over the last few weeks. “XenApp?” you might say. “XenApp? I thought XenApp was dead, rolled into XenDesktop?” You’d be right, but now, according to a video from Citrix, they see more and more uses from Application Delivery since then, so they’ve decided to launch “the second generation of XenApp.”

Hooray!

Wait…”second generation?” Why call it that? What’s really going on here?

XenApp 7.5 is the new name for XenDesktop App Edition, which will be available as a separate SKU, just like XenApp always was. It will be based on FMA rather than IMA, so it is not at all compatible with XenApp 6.5, and there is no upgrade path. I honestly wonder if this was the plan the entire time…to kill it off for a year, then come back and have Gen 2 XenApp. I’d really like to think it wasn’t, but then again Citrix has been trying to get away from IMA for years, so maybe drastic measures needed to be taken. Of course, if that was the case, I think the go-to-market would have been a little better executed.

Naturally, there are issues with this re-re-branding. If XenApp 7.5 were the same or better as XenApp 6.5, migrating would just be a bigger project, worth it in the long run but kind of a pain in the neck during the move. XenApp 7.5, though, is only building on XenDesktop 7 App Edition, which was already behind XenApp 6.5 in terms of features. The gap has narrowed with 7.5, but it isn’t quite there. There’s also the OS support issue that arises when applications won’t run on Server 2008 R2 or above. Anyone still running older OSes will have to run XenApp 6.5 no matter what.

Regardless of the plans, how it went down, or even the differences, de-mothballing the XenApp name and bringing some of the focus back to applications is the right thing to do. It’s rather confusing, the way they’re doing it (especially with all the NDA leaks ahead of the announcement), but it’s still smart. By the time this is 100% ready, the world won’t care as much about desktops. The trajectory of the industry started off by delivering Windows desktops via Terminal Server, but it really took off when we were able to publish the applications. Then, we started virtualizing desktops more or less just because we could, but really all we ever cared about was the applications. Brian gets credit for figuring that out (at least on this site) because he wrote an article back in 2010 discussing the inverse bell curve of Terminal Server adoption.

That’s why this and Citrix’s other moves make sense. There’s a new Web Interface as part of this release Web Interface support has been extended, which is something that people have been clamoring for (Like, real Web Interface…the one that we thought they took away and replaced with StoreFront!), so those reluctant to introduce added complexity to their environment can hold off for a while longer. Don’t forget, too, that Citrix recently acquired Framehawk and are folding their LFP protocol into HDX. It all adds up to Citrix falling back on what it has done best–delivering Windows applications (and the occasional desktop) to anything–while updating it for modern use-cases.

Add to this all the talk about hybrid cloud provisioning, which utilizes local and cloud-based resources in a permanent or burstable manner, and you can see a solution taking shape that’s akin to some other solutions by MainFrame2, Amazon AppStream, add Microsoft Mohoro, which was described as “RemoteApp from the cloud.” VMware even changed their tune towards SBC this past year, so you can bet they’re on board, too.

I’m puzzled as to why they announced this so early before Synergy, where someone could have explained this in greater detail at an event that was not an NDA event (as Summit, a partner event, is). My guess is that Citrix wanted to strike while the iron was hot rather than wait for everyone else to have solutions that addressed this (both Amazon and Microsoft are expected to have their solutions solidified this half). Hopefully by Synergy we’ll get a more comprehensive view of Citrix’s strategy moving forward.

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Doing the math on the version numbers:


XD 5.0 was basically FMA 1.0


XD 5.5 would be FMA 1.5


XD 5.6 would be FMA 1.6


XD 7 would be FMA2 (even though marketing jumped 1.4 versions from the previous one, I still think engineering made more of a 0.4 jump)


And XD7.5 would then be FMA2.5


So ... will that mean that XA7.5 aka FMA2.5 will suck comparatively more than PS3.0 did?????


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This is a a good strategy for Citrix and ultimately the right market approach since MANY customers got very confused (and pissed out) with XenDesktop being the all-in-one solution being forced down their throats.


Their customers wanted an app-delivery solution via a web interface. That's it. And it's back.


The customers have spoken and they're right.


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Confusion?  How dare you sir !!  It's as clear as mud !!


I'm still waiting for Mars to bring back the 'Marathon' bar I used to love so dearly,  a 'Snickers' doesn't taste even remotely as nice!


I spent 30 minutes this week trying to explain to one group of XenApp admins how XenDesktop now has equivalent app publishing functionality and they were confused.


I spent 30 minutes a little later trying to explain to an experienced group of XenApp/XenDesktop admins that the name XenApp was back and that 'no, it's not IMA' and 'no, it's not a separate product again....and they were mightily confused.


Just need to ditch WorxHome and go back to the old 'Receiver' everywhere paradigm again and the world will be a happy place.


I think marketing department, a wall and a machine gun are the only solution!


At least we only have one console now!!


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I fully enjoy Citrix word games


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Me too, but I think we are in need of a 'Citrix Name Server'. You would submit the name of the Citrix product you are familiar with and it would return the name which the product is currently known as at that specific point in time.


This could never be a global service though, as by the time all servers had converged, the database would already be out of date!!


This service could sit alongside the 'Citrix Deprecated Feature Server' which lets you know if you need to re-engineer your Citrix solution based on features which are added, removed or reintroduced at any point in time.


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@help4ctx: Thank you for making me laugh out loud!


:D


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I may not have much in the way of technical savvy or business acumen to add to the discussion these days, but I feel there is still a place for the occasional moment of levity !!


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