Citrix: Bring back the Rollup packs

In the past Citrix had several software updates available, these days the options are different. In this short article I explain what has changed and why I think that’s causing issues.
In the old days you had:
  • Software
  • Hotfixes
  • Feature packs
  • Rollup packs.
The Rollup packs used to contain all the hotfixes of a certain period and guarantee that you installed all the hot fixes and your environment was up-to-date again. The Rollup packs would have a list with all the previous hotfixes it included.
When we fast-forward to today what Citrix is delivering is:
  • Software
  • Hotfixes
  • Feature Packs
As you notice the rollup packs are gone. Hotfixes are no longer combined and as Citrix is also not delivering service packs the Citrix site is loaded with hotfixes.
On the Citrix site you can create a filter to find hotfixes for a specific product but after you selected the last version there is no filter for feature packs.  Of course a feature pack is to add new features so no hotfix would be included I assume, but 113 hotfixes available make it an unsolvable puzzle to complete.
Another issue is that there is no filter to filter VDA,Controller, Storefront hotfixes, so you need to look at them all to find interesting ones. You are comparing numbers and reading if they became obsolete or not. Good stuff for a rainy day 😉
As it seems all hot fixes are needed for none of them have information about which feature pack obsoletes the hotfix. There are no service packs as mentioned before so if you would be a first-timer you go about installing hotfix 001 until you read the last one. I can guarantee your servers will fail if you do. DON’T TRY.
The biggest issue is that there is no documentation, NO documentation what so ever about what hotfix to apply and which one not. Of course there are always hotfixes that are depending on the situation but some are required. Without documentation, each time a software update/feature pack comes out, it’s Russian roulette. 
With this being the case you have to apply hotfixes in a production environment without a real way of doing it controlled. If it fails, restore the database and all controllers and hope they get back up. If they don’t, rebuild your environment 🙁
In the old days the database was open and after a restore of the database you could rollback easier. With the 7.x database being a closed database this route is closed. I think it’s a dangerous route Citrix is one and I hope they will return to rollup packs at least. With this at least we know what to install and we know it has been tested in that order at Citrix.
Another thing Citrix should do is to create a tool to add controllers to the database and remove orphan ones from it after a crash. This way if you update and it all goes wrong you have an easy escape route.
Hope someone at Citrix reads this and has the power to change… we applaud it 🙂

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