On December 18th, Citrix released the 1912 version of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop 7. There is a new release every 3 months now, so why a blog post? Because, this version is “special” – It’s a LTSR.
LTSR stands for Long-Term Service Release and each version tagged as such comes with 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support. In addition, by electing to implement a LTSR version, customers receive fixes, known as Cumulative Updates. A Cumulative Update typically includes only fixes for the LTSR components without introducing new features and functionality that might impact the environment. You understood correctly, LTSR are considered more “stable” than other versions called CR for “Current Release.” Citrix’s main idea is to let the customer choose between these two scenarios:
- You want to have new functionality as fast as possible? Go with the Current Release and upgrade your infrastructure every 3 to 6 months.
- You want more stability (or you can’t upgrade every 3 to 6 months)? Then the LTSR is a better choice.
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop 7 1912 is the 3rd version to be tagged as LTSR:
|Version||Release date||End of Support||End of Ext. Support|
|7.6 LTSR||January 2016||January 2021||January 2026|
|7.15 LTSR||August 2017||August 2022||August 2027|
|7 1912 LTSR||December 2019||December 2024||December 2029|
A lot of blog articles are already there to discuss how cool this new version is:
The focus I’d like to share here is not about features and versioning, but more about how new versions are perceived by (at least by my) customers.
Being a consultant for (some) years, I’ve been used to seeing customers running infrastructure for years without upgrading. The main reason for them to upgrade was the “hardware refresh.” It was even before the now popular “VM.” When hardware was “too old” (3 to 5 years), a new one was ordered and customers were using this migration to upgrade the infrastructure (OS, Citrix or whatever was running on).
With hypervisor becoming more and more popular, hardware refreshes have been able to be performed without having to reinstall the OS, so we may have thought that the customers will have used this to avoid application/OS upgrades. I know some of them played that game: running Windows NT4 on brand new physical servers by virtualizing it…
Things are changing!
With more and more security issues (ransomware helped a lot!), customers (at least most of them) are now patching their infrastructures on a regular basis. Most vendors are providing regular updates and, to be fair, the overall quality is quite good. This quality is a key factor for enabling customers in the “continuous upgrade” process and I’m seeing more and more 100% patched environment. I see two main reasons for this:
- Overall patch quality is way higher than before
- Automation is becoming a standard, so rollback is easier in case of any problem
The result is: customers are now confident enough to patch and upgrade their infrastructure more often than before.
What does it mean for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops?
Most of the Citrix environment I’m seeing are LTSR-based but the interesting thing is that most of them are running the 7.15 version (and have been upgraded from 7.6). Interesting, because we are still more than a year before the end of support of 7.6 and almost all of 7.6’s infrastructures have already been upgraded to the latest LTSR.
Even more interesting is what I’m hearing for this new 1912 LTSR version: almost all my customers are ready to upgrade during Q1 of 2020 even if we still have 2.5 years of full support on 7.15. Crazy!
Another (smaller) part of my customers have already embraced the Current Release cadence, upgrading their Citrix infrastructure twice a year.
Citrix would love to see all customers running the latest and greatest Current Release since supporting multiple versions is not “interesting” for them on a cost perspective and customers are now “used” to upgrade more often. The issue is that customers don’t like to be forced to upgrade and LTSR is still a choice of serenity: If I don’t have the time/budget to perform one upgrade, I’m still supported. Maybe Citrix should lower the support costs for the Current Release customers in order to give them an incentive to stay updated.