Month: November 2017

Citrix is finally ditching Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

Citrix is finally ditching Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

As the clickbait-like headline says, Citrix is ditching Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. As of XenApp And XenDesktop 7.16, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 are no loger supported. This means that XenApp And XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR is the last version to support Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.

Finally!

A few weeks ago Citrix released this article:

Upcoming OS Changes Introduce Greater Flexibility and Innovation

It covers the new release types – Current Release (CR), LTSR Release and Cloud Release, I will not go further into these release types, as they are described very well in the article. However it is worth mentioning that it is now possible and supported to mix CR and LTSR release VDAs.

I will however share some thoughts about Citrix finally ending the Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 support.

Initially I would like to say that if you haven’t already started planning your migration from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2016, now would be a very good time to start!

As Microsoft ended mainstream support in 2015 for both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, we have only been able to receive hotfixes classified as “Security Updates” for the last couple of years. This is due to the “Extended Support” that Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is currently in, however if you have a so called “Premier Support” and “Extended hotfix support” agreement with Microsoft, this will enable you receive other update classifications from Microsoft as well.

A more in depth explanation of the “Extended Support” phase can be found here:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17140/lifecycle-faq-general-policy-questions

When the “Extended Support” phase has ended for both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, these operating systems have been supported by Microsoft for 11 years, 11 years!

This stand in heavy contrast to the new servicing channel for Windows 10 and Windows Server Core, where you basically have to upgrade the operating system every 18 months to be able to receive support from Microsoft.

So why is it a good thing that Citrix, with XenApp and XenDesktop 7.16, is deprecating support for legacy operating systems? Well, for starters Citrix is participating in keeping Windows Server 2008 R2 “artificially” alive, as they have lengthened the XenApp 6.5 End of Life date to June 30 2018. This means that Citrix has been an active part in hindering upgrades to their own XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x, even though XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x have had support for Windows Server 2008 R2 from day one.

Another thing is that by staying on legacy operating system like Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, we are allowing software developers to remain in their old ways of thinking, which could potentially provide us with subpar security and/or less innovation when developers are designing applications or software solutions.

I recognise that some applications cannot run on anything other than Windows 7 and/or Windows Server 2008 R2. However now is the time to prepare a plan to either replace the application in question or how to upgrade/patch the application, so it can run and work on Windows 10 and/or Windows Server 2016. You have around 2 years to prepare that plan, as the Extended Support ends January 14 2020.