XenApp 6 and Mixed Farms
I’ve just learned that the new Citrix XenApp 6 does not support mixed farms (see also here ),. Mixed farms are server clusters that contain more than one server version. Up until now Citrix supported farms that contained different versions of Windows and of XenApp. XenApp 6, on the other hand, cannot coexist with any previous versions in the same farm. This means that when it comes to upgrading existing XenApp sites, there are three options:
Option1: Upgrade all servers to XenApp 6 all at once. But since XenApp 6 only runs on Windows Server 2008 R2, the operating system of all the servers must also be upgraded all at once as well. This “Big Bang” approach leaves little or no way out when things go wrong. Not to mention how one accomplishes such a switch in a production environment that can afford little or no downtime. And if one is unlucky enough to host an application that doesn’t work well on 64-bit platforms (Windows Server 2008 R2 is 64-bit only), then one is truly stuck.
Option 2: Create a secondary farm for the XenApp 6 servers, and then use Web Interface to distribute the clients between the two. This approach has several downsides: firstly, managing two farms requires significantly more effort than managing one farm. This is especially true in the case of XenApp 6, which has new management consoles and a whole new way of doing configuration and scripting. As a result, each farm will need to be managed separately using a different tool-set. A second challenge is determining how to properly distribute the clients between each of the two farms. This will require close monitoring; otherwise users may not be able to connect to the proper farm. Finally, in all likelihood the combined size of both farms will need to be larger, potentially much larger, than a single farm would have been.
Option 3: Switch to Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect. Thanks to its three-tier architecture, Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect can support mixed farms containing Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 and future versions of Windows as well. And Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect is certified by Microsoft for Windows Server 2008 R2. Because of this it can be easier, safer and more cost-effective to upgrade an existing XenApp farm to PowerTerm WebConnect than to XenApp 6!