LTSR vs CR
By CMD Technology Group
4 min read
There is a little confusion about what is the latest version of XenApp/XenDesktop. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is the new name for the XenApp/XenDesktop line. However, if you search for the latest version, you will find two results: ‘Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop 7 xxxx’ and ‘XenApp & XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR CU(x)’. Citrix Virtual Apps 7 xxxx is the Current Release (CR) version, and 7.15 LTSR CU(x) is the Long-Term Service Release version. So, how is it that both results are correct?
Under a normal life-cycle, the Current Release (CR) is the latest version of a product with all the latest features and new functionality. At the time of writing this article, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop 7 1903 is the most recent CR. Where 1903 is the year and month of the release (i.e., March 2019).
Long-Term Service Release
The purpose behind LTSR is to provide stability and long-term support options for product releases. An LTSR version includes 5 years of mainstream support and up to 5 years of extended support, compared to CR’s 18-month support cycle. Extended support is a purchasable option that extends support past the end-of-life of the mainstream offering. LTSR versions provide a longer life-cycle between version upgrades and have limited environment changes. This means greater stability in an environment with less interruption for patching and maintenance needs from Citrix software.
The CU(x) shown after the LTSR is the Cumulative Update level. Cumulative updates are a patching level. The original components released with the specific LTSR version are only patched. Typically, no new features or functionality are added to a cumulative update. Which means going from one CU level to another is not considered an upgrade. For instance, the original release was 7.15 LTSR. The first patching update was 7.15 LTSR CU1. The installation media is also repackaged to include the current cumulative update. At the time of this article’s writing, 7.15 LTSR CU3 is the latest cumulative update release.
The LTSR program is an opt-in program, to enroll, there are only two requirements:
What about the other components of an infrastructure? An LTSR release is actually a release of all the parts at specific versions. For instance, the release of XenApp & XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR CU3 includes the following products:
Keep in mind these products can either be included in the XenApp & XenDesktop release me- dia or may have their own release media. Note that the requirement to be at LTSR is based on having the core components; XenApp and XenDesktop at LTSR. Which is basically the Delivery Controller, its consoles, and the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA). Products like Receiver (now Workspace App), StoreFront, and others do not have to be at LTSR in your environment. It is recommended that they remain at LTSR for best compatibility, but they can be upgraded if desired.
If your hypervisor is XenServer, it has an LTSR version as well. The requirements for the XenServer hypervisor to have LTSR support are similar to the XenApp/XenDesktop requirements. However, if your XenApp/XenDesktop LTSR environment is hosted by XenServer, the hypervisor version does not affect the LTSR requirement for XenApp/XenDesktop.
Given the support advantages of an LTSR version, why would someone opt to utilize the cur- rent release version? The two primary reasons are that current release versions have:
If Citrix releases a new feature that you must have, then using the current release version is your ticket for immediate access. LTSR does not incorporate those types of changes but offers the advantage of greater stability. If you are required to stay on LTSR, then you may have to wait until the next LTSR version to be released with the desired feature included. How long will I have to wait you may ask. Let’s take a look at the previous release cycle. The 7.15 LTSR ver- sion was released in August 2017, and the previous version (LTSR 7.6) was released January 2016.
Who is LTSR Best Suited For?
Verticals such as healthcare, education, government, and finance typically stick to LTSR for stability. In fact, unless you need a newer feature, not in LTSR or have a business mandate on keeping up-to-date/patched, then you should be on LTSR.
If company policy is to be patched consistently for security purposes, then your only option is the current release. High priority patches may be released for LTSR, but you generally have to wait for a cumulative update to apply patches. Current release versions are patched with much higher frequency and are more likely to fall into company patch policies.
If you need help determining which version is right for you, we can help. We have extensive experience installing both versions of Citrix products.
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