Citrix Extends XenApp 6.5 Support, Releases XenServer 6.5 SP1

XenApp customers get a little more time to migrate their virtual app environments to the latest version while XenServer reaches new levels of scalability.


ORLANDO, Fla.—Citrix CEO Mark Templeton stood before attendees at the Citrix Synergy conference in Orlando today to reiterate his company's support for its virtual application platform, XenApp.

"We've left some questions in your mind about XenApp," he admitted early into his address. "We love XenApp because you love XenApp."

In a keynote centered on the theme of mobile-enabled workspaces that promotes productivity on any device, Citrix is offering XenApp 6.5 customers a lifeline, Templeton announced, eliciting applause.

"We've decided to extend the lifecycle of XenApp 6.5 until 2017," he said, enabling organizations to continue to derive value from their current investments and ease the process of moving to the latest version. For customers currently contemplating a migration, the company is releasing new beta of the cloud-based XenApp upgrade service later this quarter that incorporates Citrix Lifecycle Management, allowing users to create blueprints for their new rollouts.

Also on tap is a "new feature pack that will actually bring XenApp 6.5 way, way forward," with improved storage performance, enhanced profile management, help desk and troubleshooting tools and enhanced support for Lync, Microsoft's enterprise communications platform, which was recently rebranded to Skype for Business. Templeton also promised refreshed versions of Citrix Receiver—which he called ""—and Storefront 3, which operate in tandem to deliver virtualized apps. The latest edition of the latter will accept connections from XenApp 6.5 and 7.6, enabling organizations to set up customizable, unified app storefronts, he said.

Templeton also announced the availability of XenServer 6.5 SP1 (service pack 1), which "takes the scalability yet another click further," he said. It supports CoreOS and Window 10 tech preview and can handle a thousand virtual machines per host. Citrix has also "done a lot of work with containers and supporting containers" in SP1, claimed Templeton, noting that the release will work with the increasingly popular Docker virtualization platform. The XenCenter interface has been enhanced, providing upgraders with a more user-friendly management console.

Upgrades to the NetScaler virtual application delivery appliance now include Unified Gateway functionality, a move that will enable organizations to pull applications into their software-defined network initiatives. It boosts security and compliance efforts by enabling consolidated management over remote application access, including Web, software-as-a-service (SaaS) or on-premise business applications, on any device.

Other new NetScaler features include secure single sign-on, a centralized security policy engine that enables administrators to set individual policies to select XenApp and XenDesktop users and reporting capabilities for end-user ICA (Independent Computing Architecture), TCP and HTTP traffic.

On the storage front, Citrix introduced Melio storage virtualization software from its acquisition of Sanbolic in January. "It's completely storage agnostic. It works with any disk in your data center, provides tier 1 data services" and features workload quality of service controls," he said.

Citrix Melio is available in a VDI Edition (virtual desktop infrastructure), which complements XenDesktop VDI Edition, and an Enterprise Edition for geo-distributed, high-availability data storage infrastructures.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...