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Return of the King: Citrix XenApp Back with Version 7.5

I don't think there is a more appropriate title to describe Citrix's announcement of the re-introduction of XenApp, just a few months after it was abolished. I could have used a phrase from the great Toni Stark: "Never has a greater phoenix metaphor been personified in human history." That's a bit much for a piece of software, no matter how much I like it.

The irony with Citrix is it has excellent vision and fantastic products, but sometimes it makes decisions that are truly mind boggling. When Citrix decided to integrate XenDesktop and XenApp, we applauded the effort from an architectural stand point. It was and still is the right thing to do and that has not changed with XenDesktop and XenApp 7.5.

When the products were being integrated, all the components that had the words "desktop" in them were being renamed to "delivery" because the product was no longer about just desktops. That was cool and everything, except, HEY, CITRIX, the product you are converging into has the word "Desktop" in it. So, for instance Citrix renamed Virtual Desktop Agent to Virtual Delivery Agent, Desktop Studio became Citrix Studio, Desktop Director became Citrix Director, Desktop Groups became Delivery Groups and so on. But you missed one.

Citrix knew back then that it was going to be all about applications. Today, they are justifying the rebirth of XenApp as a stand-alone product due to changing market conditions. I am calling them out on this. Market conditions have not changed; it's still is about applications. Citrix, you messed up with XenDesktop. Now you are setting the record straight and that is a welcome step.

Now that I got that off my chest, let's take a look at what the young XenApp 7.5 king has in store for you:

For starters, and just to be clear, IMA is still dead. The architecture is still built around FMA and none of the consoles have changed. So while the product is re-introduced, it is simply packaging and product positioning at this point and not necessarily any architectural changes.

Hybrid cloud provisioning is probably the most exciting new feature of this release. This version gives you the ability to deploy XenApp or XenDesktop infrastructure on public clouds like Amazon, with Microsoft Azure support to come. In addition, you can leverage Citrix CloudPlatform for on-premises or public cloud deployments that you CloudPlatform. This is exciting news for enterprises that are deploying or thinking about deploying IaaS-like private clouds or want to leverage the public cloud.

Citrix Framehawk also makes it in this release, and it's definitely the most exciting technology of this release. Wait, did I say that already for the hybrid cloud stuff? Ok, I lied about the hybrid cloud; Framehawk is cooler. This technology is what Citrix acquired a few months earlier from a company called Framehawk. Among many things, the one that is important is that it developed a lightweight protocol that can function exceptionally well over very high-latency links that may experience significant amounts of packet loss. We have seen videos on YouTube that show 50 percent packet loss; yet, it's still able to perform very well.

And, finally, AppDNA is now part of XenApp. Depending on the edition of XenApp you own, you will be able to leverage the ability to pretty much P2V applications. This will significantly streamline the migration process and put you in a better position to tackle mobility.

I can't help it, I am a fan of XenApp. So, I'm more interested in what your thoughts are. Was this a good announcement or a confusing one on Citrix's part, and what do you think of some of the new features?

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 02/03/2014 at 4:19 PM


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