Citrix XenApp's new feature pack is really just a licensing change. How significant is this?

Yesterday Citrix announced a Feature Pack for XenApp 5.

Yesterday Citrix announced a Feature Pack for XenApp 5. (Interestingly they're just calling it "XenApp 5 Feature Pack," not "Feature Pack 1" or anything.) From what I can tell, there are not any new features per se, but rather Citrix is changing which features are enabled in which editions (Advanced, Enterprise, or Platinum) of the product. Who knows whether this is related to the economy or to VMware or to the XenServer announcement or what?

The thing is, I just can't get excited about this annoncement. (Again, I guess I get excited about new features more than which features come in which package.) But that may be more related to my position, since I'm not actually a Citrix customer and I don't have any of my own users. Citrix's Sridhar Mullapudi and Vinny Sosa blogged about the change, and one of the first reader comments was about this being the most major announcement Citrix has ever made. So I ask you: is this a big deal?

If you haven't read through the fine print of the deal, Sridhar and Vinny created a great chart. (I just copied and pasted it from their blog post, so they deserve credit for this, not me.) This chart shows ONLY the new or changed features in the XenApp 5 Feature Pack.

  Advanced Enterprise Platinum
Citrix XenServer
X X
X
Application streaming
X X X
EasyCall voice services
X X X
Workflow Studio orchestration
X X X
Load testing services
  X X
Profile management
  X X
Provisioning services
    X
Single sign-on
    X

A couple key takeaways that might night be apparent from the chart:

First, Citrix XenServer is now free for everyone, so it's not *technically* a feature of the XenApp 5 Feature Pack.

Next, the big change to the application streaming component is now it also applies to streaming applications that run locally on the desktop in ALL editions. (This used to be a Platinum and Enterprise only thing. Advanced edition users could only stream apps into XenApp sessions, but not down to local desktops.)

Third, the Profile Management piece is the Citrix User Profile Manager, which is based on the product Citrix licensed from Sepago. Apparently that's technically been in beta this past year, so in this case Citrix is saying this is a new feature for the suite. What I don't understand is that UPM is not too particularly advanced, and Citrix themselves says it's for more basic environments. So it seems weird to me that you have to buy at least Enterprise to get it.

Finally, Provisioning Services in Platinum means you can use Citrix Dynamic Provisioning Services (formally known as "Provisioning Server," formally known as "Ardence") to stream your Citrix XenApp server images. (If you want to stream desktops, you still have to buy XenDesktop.)

Oh, the single sign-on thing in Platinum is also for offline too. (Previously you could only use the single sign-on capability within your XenApp session, but now Platinum customers can also use it locally on their desktops.)

So what do you think? Is this a big deal? Or just a way to try to take some spotlight away from VMware this week?

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To me the best part of it is a renewed focus by Citrix on their "core" products.


Citrix have made a lot of acquistions in the last couple of years and it was starting to look like they intended to try and keep all the products "alive" as stand alone options (read extra cost) rather than using them to directly enhance the products that the company is built on.


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Thanks for picking this up Brian. A couple of quick notes. First on the XenServer comment, understand that while XenServer is free, including it as a feature in XenApp means that customers get support for it as part of any support agreement they have with XenApp. This support is for XenApp servers only but this is a major value point. The same is true of the other components. Since they are a part of XenApp the customer neither has to pay for them nor needs to purchase separate support contracts for them. It's included and covered under XenApp. This is pretty important to our customers, especially since they are seriously trying to cut costs. And with all the extra functionality, they can hopefully avoid purchases they may have been thinking of making separately.


Application streaming is another thing all together. With App Streaming you could not use it with Advanced Edition AT ALL prior to this release unless you purchased separate licenses. In addition, using it with Enterprise and Platinum meant that if a user took an application offline with them then a CCU license would be checked out of your pool for the duration of the time the user had that application. For this reason, enterprise and platinum customers had to purchase additional add-on licenses for offline users. None of this is the case with this feature pack. Any user with access to hosted applications on XenApp servers can now have access to offline applications without penalizing the license pool. This is huge for customers. Again, saves a ton of money.


Thanks again! If anyone has questions, you can check out our blog or post them here. Also, there is some additional information on citrix.com/upgradetoxenapp5.


Vin


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Hi,,


From that chart - Load Testing - is this the Citrix Edgesight for Load Testing product that is now bundled with Enterprise?


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Yes, Load Testing is the Edgesigtht for load testing, previously known as TLoad from Thin Genius.


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I think adding PVS to platinum is a big deal... Also with thing with XenServer and XenApp is a little confusing because Citrix made the Xenserver (basically the Enterprise edition) free.  So it sounds like your getting the free XenServer regardless.  Kinda like going to a casino and the waiter says you get a free drink with the purchase of a dinner entree... but everyone knows you get free drinks at the casino regardless if buy food or not.  The XenServer and XenApp deal is different in that the value add is support.  There is no free support for free XenServer, but for XenApp customers there is.


Overall I think it's a good move.  (Granted I would have liked to have seen this done much earlier)  It will force Citrix, Microsoft and VMware to move forward and continue to innovate otherwise be left behind.  


Joe


Joe


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I think this is actually a big deal. XenServer is giving away a lot of free mgmt tools that VMWare charge for. So they are raising the bar, and this makes it easy for me to force the internal debate in my company as to why hypervisor x vs. hypervisor y when one charges for mgmt and the other doesn't. I think a lot of unhappy ESX or EA approaching EOL will be compelled to take a serious look at XenServer. Also the XS tweaks I find make a difference at peak session load, so scalability for the lower cost TS SBC model is a win in combination with a VDI story. So gives me flexibility.


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I've just seen a demo of the StorageLink software that is to be included in the new Enterprise bundle, and all I can say is WOW!!! This is going to save so much time & hassle. Best of all it works with XenServer AND Hyper-v. I'm guessing that it's leveraging XenAPI and SCVMM API calls on top of the SMI-S API calls to do this. When are Citrix going to extend this to VMware platforms (Citrix Essentials for VMware???) as I guess they could just as easily utilise the vCenter API like they do with XenDesktop. That would rock for VMware admins, but be a massive embarresment for VMware. They've been talking about this kind of thing with Cisco for years, but Citrix have made it a reality...


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Hi Brian, i miss a bit that you do a better research, because Vridhar Mullapudi and Vinny Sosa told on citrix blog, what the new features are.


The chart is a good point of view, but i miss that you dont mentioned the full detailed chart that is officiel from Citrix.


www.citrix.com/.../feature.asp


Here you can see the entire features by edition.


It gives a much better overview.


Enjoy! :o)


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