We’ve been talking quite a bit recently about how Citrix just released a slew updates for XenApp running on 32-bit Windows Server 2003. We also know that they’re now busily working on “Parra,” the next major release of XenApp which will run on Windows Server 2008 R2.
And of course everyone should know by know that all future versions of Windows Server (starting with 2008 R2) are x64 only, which means that all new Remote Desktop Servers are x64 only from now on, which means that all future versions of XenApp will be x64 only from now on.
That would be fine, if every single app was x64 compatible. But they’re not. Anything with kernel components (drivers, etc.) won’t run on Windows x64 unless it’s been specifically compiled for it. And 16-bit apps are out. (Which isn’t too much of a problem in today’s world, although every once and a while we come across a 32-bit app with a 16-bit installer. D’oh!)
Never fear, though, because everything we’ve been talking about over the past few years has been that application and desktop delivery environments of the future will be “hybrid” solutions (much like they are today). We’ve talked (and talked and talked) about hybrid VDI solutions (local VMs, multiple VMs, OS streaming, remote VDI, TS, etc.)
Moving forward, we should think about how we’ll mix 32-bit and x64 OSes strictly for the purpose of app compatibility. (After all, if we didn’t need 32-bit for app compat, then we’d be 100% x64 today.
A few possible scenarios:
- x64 clients with 32-bit VMs for non-compatible apps. (Hey, just like Windows 7’s XP mode!)
- x64 servers and clients, with some 32-bit Terminal Servers / XenApp servers for hosting remote seamless 32-bit apps. (Thanks AppDetective for that suggestion!)
- A mix of 32-bit and x64 VDI VMs?
- Only run the 32-bit apps that will run on Windows x64.
- Something else?
What about you? How do you plan to deal with 32-bit apps as the mainstream moves towards x64?