Friday, 1 July 2011

XenApp 6.5 Tech Preview

Now at Tech Preview stage, XenApp 6.5 (previously known as Project Iron Cove) has been in development for over a year, and since this beta is now available for public download the final release should available in around August 2011.

The downloads can be found here:

You'll need a MyCitrix logon which access to XenApp, and make sure you get both parts - the (huge) iso file and the license file.  The ISO is too big to burn to a single layer DVD anyway, so just extract it with 7zip or a similar product to a shared location all your servers can use.


XenApp 6.5 is clearly less of a revolution than the last two major releases, XenApp 5 and XenApp 6.  Both of these introduced support for new Operating Systems as a big part of the release, and though nearly every main component of XenApp is upgraded in the release of XenApp 6.5, its more of a gradual evolution from version 6.  The look and feel of both the management tools and the front end should be pretty familiar to anyone with a good knowledge of XenApp 6. 

New features introduced in XenApp 6, such as PowerShell management capabilities, Active Directory policies and the unified management management console remain and are developed further.  The Operating System requirements for XenApp 6.5 are unchanged – the 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2 only (I would strongly recommend SP1 as well).  As in XenApp 6, some components such as Web Interface can probably go on older OSs, but I would personally use 2008 R2 for all server roles.

One interesting change in the client tools is that the Citrix Online Plugin v12.1 seems to be replaced by the Citrix Receiver v13 – not something everyone might welcome.

This is a version number comparison of the main components between the Tech Preview of XenApp 6.5 and its predecessor, XenApp 6:

Component XenApp 6 XenApp 6.5
EdgeSight 5.3 5.4
EdgeSight for Load Testing 3.7 3.8
License Server 11.6.1 build 10007 11.9.0 build 11007
Offline plug-in 6.0.1 (later 6.0.2) 6.0.37
Online plug-in 11.2 (later 12.1) Citrix Receiver v13
Power and Capacity Management 2.0 2.1
Secure Gateway 3.2 3.3
Streaming Profiler
Web Interface 5.2 (later 5.3) 5.4
Single Sign-On 4.8 5.0

New Features

This is a quick rundown of the new features in XenApp 6.5, as seen in this Tech Preview.  I’ll cover some of these in more depth later, once I’ve documented the installation of a test farm.

  • New Server types – this is similar to a feature which was meant to be in XenApp 6, but which never appeared.  That was the idea of having dedicated Data Collectors – XenApp servers which could only be DCs and which presumably would be stripped down.  This is that idea in reverse, with servers being either capable of doing all roles (“Controller Servers”), or only hosting applications (“Session-Only Servers”), and not being Data Collectors.  They lack features such as XML service and don’t participate in Zone Data Collector elections.
  • XenApp Connector for Configuration Manager 2007 – Lets you use SCCM to manage windows updates and publish applications on the XenApp servers
  • Session Prelaunch – for client PCs with v13 or later of the client only, Session Linger creates a connection with the farm under configurable conditions, such as a user logging onto a PC.  This sounds great, although those sessions will take up both server resources and concurrent user licenses.  And frankly users can achieve something like this by putting a Citrix application in their Startup folder.  That said, its innovative and will be very useful for some people.  As long as it doesn’t become compulsory.
  • Session Linger – extending the other end of a normal Citrix session, Linger means that when a user closes all their apps, their connection stays open for while in case they launch another app, saving the time to log back into the farm.  Streamed to Server apps in XenApp 5 and 6 work this way already by default, with a 5 minute linger.  Personally I turn this off already to save load.
  • Fast Reconnect – unlike Linger and Prelaunch this doesn’t need to be configured. It claims to reduce the time to reconnect to existing sessions. We’ll see.
  • Power and Capacity Management – This is now enhanced with the ability to power on Hyper-V and VMware based XenApp Servers.
  • Load Evaluator changes – Load Evaluators are no longer assigned to servers, but to Worker Groups or OUs.
  • Application Streaming support for VHDs - This feature copies the profile contents into the VHD and mounts it in the RadeCache location at application launch.
  • Application Streaming improvements – other changes to streaming include handling the AppHubWhiteList registry key better (it was a pain in XenApp 6) and launch time improvements, especially in Outlook apparently!  Outlook 2010 streamed was not good in XenApp 6 so that sounds good.
  • AppCenter – yes, they’ve renamed the management console AGAIN.
  • Migration Center – a tool to help migrate from previous versions of XenApp
  • Printer Optimizations – printing has been getting better and better recently, with the dynamic printer mappings being added to XenApp by a Hotfix and the 12.1 being especially good.  XenApp 6.5 builds on this, further improving printing.
  • Windows Desktop Integration Experience – A Windows 7 look and feel for published desktops – it has to be said this wasn’t terribly hard to accomplish in XenApp 6, but it sounds easier to turn on.  It’ll be interesting to see whether this includes Aero.
  • HDX Enhancements – Generally better apparently.
  • Multi Stream ICA Client – v13 of the client is now multi streamed, meaning it can connect over multiple ports at the same time (this is configurable), improving performance.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

in a small farm of xenapp 6.5 Enterprise deployment. 30 licenses
is it ok to put all server role in one server? or should we group them in to two?

Chaitanyakumar said...


It depends upon the application you install in your farm. If you have a business critical application and you want that application to be available 24X7, it is better to put in seperate servers, configure backup and load balance. If not, then you can install all the components in one single server. Anyways, if your enviornment is not growing in future, you can go ahead with one server and a backup server, I suppose.

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Hey Labmouse, your site looks good, and the link which you gave isnt working. I tried logging in with MY credentials but it is not working... It says content cannot be found.

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