What’s a Citrix Streaming Customer to do now?

OK. So XenDesktop 7, the new combined version of XenDesktop and XenApp is now released.

And we can see that Citrix has not integrated their own application virtualization solutions (Citrix Streaming) into the Citrix Studio console. Instead, they have chosen to with integrate Microsoft App-V 5.

And not just into the Management console, but also in the new AppDNA, which not only analyzes applications but can now even produce App-V packages for some apps.

Why?

  • Because they want to be a better Microsoft Partner?
  • Because they were looking at a significant effort to port to Windows 8/2012?
  • Because, well not that many customers were using Citrix Streaming?

Well we don’t really know, but it is reasonable to assume that it is a combination of all three. Here is my guess:

Citrix Streaming was (reportedly) born out of the inability of Citrix to purchase Softricity, plus Softricity starting to go after their customers to do app virtualization on the desktop rather than on Presentation Server (the earlier name for XenApp). But then Microsoft went and bought Softricity (renaming it to App-V) and Citrix found themselves in a awkward position of competing against their best partner. Although Citrix has gone way out of their way in the last couple of years to assure both customers and Microsoft that they aren’t competing with Citrix Streaming and fully support both AppVirt products, it has to be a least a small thorn in the relationship. And that relationship is more important to Citrix than any single product, let alone one that you can’t claim adds a penny to the revenue stream.

Windows 8/2012 does not support the device driver development model used by the Citrix Streaming Client. Getting a version running on that platform would be an effort. I wouldn’t think it would be an overly significant effort, but more than many releases.

To the best of my knowledge, most Citrix Customers using an Application Virtualization solution select App-V over Citrix Streaming today. Of those using Citrix Streaming, they tend to be using it only on XenApp. Of course, only Citrix really knows those numbers, but I am reasonably confident that this is the case.

I think we need to add to this that having their own AppVirt solution has become an unnecessary distraction to a company with a lot of products, attempting to move their customer base out of the comfortable sale of the past (XenApp) to what they view as the future (a mixture of virtual desktops and mobile deployments).

So what’s a customer to do?

Well it’s unlikely that you’d want to move to ThinApp, so maybe App-V?

If you’re deploying on XenApp, you already have a license for it. For VDI/Desktops, you need MDOP (and an Software Assurance Agreement), and that might be a problem for you. I have noticed fewer customers with this issue lately, because they added in SA and MDOP when planning their Windows 7 migration. But that doesn’t help if you aren’t in that group, so in that case you may be facing costs to Microsoft in order to make the switch to App-V.

There is no conversion program to convert your existing Citrix Streaming packages to App-V. Citrix didn’t do one. Microsoft (so far) didn’t do one. Although asked to look at it, I’m not doing one. I could create one, but I don’t see the market potential to put everything else I’m planning to do this summer on hold. Maybe someone else will step up, but don’t hold your breath waiting on that.

The good news for existing customers, is that Citrix Streaming still works with XenApp on 2008/R2 and on Windows 7. You just don’t have integration. If you aren’t moving to newer platforms yet, you have some time.

When you make the move to App-V, I expect that much of the packaging skills of your existing staff to transfer over. I think you’d be better off getting them a little training on App-V (which of course IS my business so you probably shouldn’t take my word for it). But once they understand the nuances of App-V, all of the application specific knowledge will transfer right over.

For a well trained expert, the rate-of-effort to package in App-V is in general similar to that for Citrix Streaming, which of course is LESS than for MSI packaging. Their is a somewhat better support network out there when dealing with App-V than Citrix Streaming today, including application specific information (recipes) and out-source packaging factories.

Warning: Commercial here

If you need help in making the transition, TMurgent can probably help. Contact us for a discussion.

Author: Tim Mangan

Tim is a Microsoft MVP, and a Citrix CTP Fellow. He is an expert in App-V and MSIX.