Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop 7.11 – Is this the version we should be on?

December 1, 2016

It is December 2016 and we hit that point again where I have been asked numerous times what version a client’s XenApp/XenDesktop (XA/XD) environment should be?  We have situations where clients are building new version 7.x XA/XD environments and others that are on lower 7.x versions and are wondering if they should upgrade.  Basically, I am being asked a few questions:

  • Is version 7.11 stable?
  • Should I build or upgrade to 7.11?
  • How great is the risk?

The quick answer to the first question is ‘yes’.  Version 7.11 is not a major change to the engine behind previous versions of XA/XD.  In fact, the VDA (Virtual Delivery Agent) is probably at its best in this version.  Issues where a server or desktop shows as unregistered have been addressed with this new VDA.  This version is more of a features update than anything else.  Version 7.11 has been out for a few months now, so you are not quite on the ‘bleeding edge’ by installing it.  I am not saying all the kinks have been worked out, but what is left should be minor.

In answer to the second question, I am going to say ‘most likely’.  I can’t say definitely because there are situations where you may not want or be able to go to version 7.11 at this time.  For instance, there are companies with policies that determine what level of a software release can be utilized.   These policies may prohibit from going to version 7.11.  I don’t agree with upgrading for the sake of upgrading.  This goes back to the old saying; “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”.  If you have a viable reason for performing the upgrade, then definitely upgrade to 7.11.  If you are building a new farm, then start at version 7.11.  One sure reason why you would want to go to version 7.11 is Windows Server 2016 support.  If you want to utilize Windows Server 2016 in your farm, then you have very little choice, but to install version 7.11.  In fact, version 7.11 is the first time that Citrix had a version released for day 1 availability on a new full version of Windows Server.

New versions of software always come with risks.  Proper testing and other precautions will mitigate some of the risks.  It has been my experience so far that upgrading from other 7.x versions to 7.11 has been very successful.  In fact, Citrix has taken a lot of the difficulty out of the upgrade process.  You can upgrade from versions prior to 7, but I prefer a migration path in those cases.  Migrations always give you more chances to test properly and run in parallel before going to production.

As always, please feel free to post any questions or comments below or reach me directly by email.

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