VMware and Citrix offer long term service releases, who is offering what, a short overview.


We live in a 24/7 environment and if we need to believe marketeers everything else needs to move at that speed as well. You are supposed to upgrade and follow suit when an update is released. Some organizations with specific requirements, however, can’t upgrade at that speed. Applications they run are not supporting the new version right away. Application upgrade processes are timely and organizations like e.g. hospitals need to guarantee consistency rather than new features. To accommodate organizations with this vendors introduced software versions that won’t receive updates that often and are supported for a longer period of time. Let’s look at Citrix and VMware and what they offer.

Naming

The normal branch is called the “Current Branch” or abbreviated “CR“. Both Citrix and VMware name their standard release cycle products this way.

The long-term or extended branch is called “Long Term Service Release” with Citrix or “LTSR” and “Extended Service Branch” with VMware or “ESB“.

VMware

VMware just recently released a long-term software release version of their Horizon software. They named this software release the “Extended Service Branch” or “ESB“. The Extended Service Branch is a separate branch next to the normal Current Branch release. VMware lists the following Horizon products to be covered under the ESB release;

  • VMware Horizon components
    • Connection server
    • Composer
  • VMware Unified Access Gateway
  • VMware AppVolumes
  • VMware User Environment Management

The following products will not have an Extended Service Branch release but will be supported throughout the support period;

  • VMware Horizon client
  • VMware Tools
  • VMware vSphere

Release schedule

The first ESB release will be Q2 in 2018, just a few weeks away. VMware Horizon 7.5 will be released both as Current Release and Extended Service Branch or CR and ESB. That’ll be the start, for there the ESB release and CR release follow a different path.

long-term

The Extended Service Branch will get it’s first service pack, with security and bug fixes, after 6 months. After another 3 months service pack 2 will be released. Service pack 3 will be the last one and be released 6 months after number 2. After that, the ESB release will be supported for a full more year. So for two years, you have a stable environment with security and bug fixes the first whole year. The Current Release will follow the normal release cycle. If during the ESB period vSphere is upgraded that ESB version (with the service pack) won’t support the new vSphere version.

Licensing

Any customer with a license for the VMware Horizon stack is eligible for both releases, no special license is required.

Citrix

Citrix has been running a Long-term release plan for a while already. At Citrix, this is called the “Long Term Service Release” or “LTSR“. The “Long Term Service Release” or “LTSR” is released next to the “Current Branch” or “CR“.

Products covered under the Long Term Service Release are;

  • Citrix XenDesktop
  • Citrix XenApp
    • Citrix StoreFront
    • Citrix Desktop Delivery Controller
    • Citrix Provisioning services
    • Citrix Print Server
  • Citrix XenServer

Some products are not covered under LTSR but are compatible. The following are compatible products for LTSR 7.15;

  • Citrix App Layering – formerly known as Unidesk
  • Citrix receiver but there is a list of recommended receiver versions for an LTSR version
  • HDX Real-time optimization pack
  • PvD is excluded for LTSR and is deprecated by Citrix with EOL in 2020.

Release schedule

The Citrix LTSR versions are supported for 5 years and can be extended with another 5 years. A new LTSR is targeted every 2-3 years, the current release (CR) is released every 3-9 months. If we look at the release schedule we see that the LTSR cumulative update schedule is 4-6 months. These updates will be going on until the new LTSR release is released.

Current LTSRs:
– XenApp & XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR is supported until Jan-11-2021 with extended support available until Jan-11-2026
– XenApp & XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR is supported until Aug-12-2022 with extended support available until Aug-22-2027
Source: https://www.citrix.com/support/product-lifecycle/product-matrix.html

:: source: Lisa

Licensing

Customers with Customer Success Services licensing will be eligible for the LTSR release. This license was introduced in July 2017. There is no limitation of which edition you are using, LTSR is available for all editions.

Differences

If we look at the differences, my reason to write this blog, we see that VMware offers security and bug fixes the first year only and supports for two years. Citrix, on the other hand, offers updates for the whole period and supports for 5 years which can be extended for 5 years. VMware offers the long-term release with no extra licensing whereas Citrix only offers it with the Customer Success Services contract which was introduced in July 2017. Small differences but depending on your business they might make a difference. Take a good look at which path you follow and which vendor to work with.

Info

More info is found right here:

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/52845

https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX205549

 


2 thoughts on “VMware and Citrix offer long term service releases, who is offering what, a short overview.”
  1. Great article. Thank you for doing this research, it is very helpful for organization to know their support options.

    I did want to make a clarification on the Citrix LTSR schedule (detailed in CTX205549, which you linked).

    Long Term Service Release (LTSR) releases are supported for 5 years with an extended support option for an additional 5 years. A new LTSR is targeted to be released every 2-3 years.

    Current LTSRs:
    – XenApp & XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR is supported until Jan-11-2021 with extended support available until Jan-11-2026
    – XenApp & XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR is supported until Aug-12-2022 with extended support available until Aug-22-2027
    Source: https://www.citrix.com/support/product-lifecycle/product-matrix.html

    Ken Liska
    Citrix, U.S. Public Sector

    1. Hi Lisa,

      yeah, I also noticed the error, thanks for mentioning it… didn’t find the time to correct it 🙁

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