LTSR and CR

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.X

With the concept of LTSR, somewhere citrix admins might end up choosing either current release or LTSR versions for their citrix environments. So first of all lets see what is LTSR and CR and decide which one to choose?

Current Release:

With Current Release latest and greatest updates are available from citrix on the citrix product that you use. Support and Maintenance for CR are maintained upto the latest mark from citrix. This is ideal for environments where they can adopt software changes quickly and implement new changes immediately. Instead of managing new releases and patches independently, with Current Releases you can simply upgrade to the latest release which includes fixes and new functionality side-by-side.

  • New use cases to address changing business challenges. Each employee is different and has different business needs. The flexibility of Citrix Virtual Apps, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, and Citrix Hypervisor architecture enables you to address the broadest range of these needs.  The fast pace of Current Releases will bring new features to market enabling, you to address even more use cases to completely mobilize your workforce.
  • Rapid innovation and quick delivery of new features. You are constantly taking measures to protect your company’s intellectual property and keep your workforce productive, but the IT world changes quickly and you need access to the latest app and desktop delivery features to stay competitive.  Current Releases will give you fast access to the latest security, productivity, and collaboration features.
  • Faster delivery of enhancement requests. Your requests for enhancing Citrix Virtual Apps, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, and Citrix Hypervisor make the solution more versatile. With Current Releases the turnaround time on getting new features implemented into the overall solution architecture will be much shorter. Faster cycles let Citrix deliver new features that address your enhancement requests and make them generally available for all customers to consume.

CR details

  • Eligibility: Customer Success Services is required for all Citrix Virtual Apps, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, or Citrix Hypervisor licenses to access the latest current release.
  • Accessing and Deploying Upgrades: Rapid release cycles make new current releases available at a frequent rate, therefore you will not be asked to patch your current release. Instead you will simply be asked to upgrade to the latest release that includes both fixes and new functionality to streamline maintenance.
  • Product Lifecycle: The standard lifecycle milestone dates established at the initial major version release apply.
  • Maintaining Compliance: You will remain compliant within the terms of a current release if you continuously install and configure the latest component release of Citrix Virtual Apps and/or Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and/or Citrix Hypervisor.

 New releases are released every 3-9 months.

Long Term Service Release

Long Term Service Releases (LTSR) is ideal for large production sites where you prefer stable environment for years rather than upgrading your environment for each and every update you receive from citrix. You will only receive updates from citrix on the LTSR version. That’s it. You won’t be eligible (or get) new features but only fixes/solutions for the LTSR version that you are on.

  • Extended Lifecycle with support for up to 10 years. Citrix typically announces a five year mainstream support lifecycle for each major release, but with LTSR the clock restarts.  For a Long Term Service Release, you will have 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support (separate contract required).
  • Predictable maintenance thanks to scheduled cumulative updates. Citrix will regularly release LTSR cumulative updates – typically containing only fixes devoid of new features – making it easier to schedule on-going site maintenance and lowering risk to your deployments.
  • Reduced IT costs with simplified management. Opting to implement a Long Term Service Release will give you access to the highest quality product releases with the most predictable maintenance schedule to streamline your management efforts, reduce uncertainties and mitigate risks, thereby lowering your total cost of ownership.

LTSR details

  • Eligibility: Customer Success Services is required for all Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops licenses to be eligible for the LTSR benefits.  Citrix Hypervisor is an entitlement of all Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops editions. All editions of Citrix Virtual Apps (Citrix Secure Browser, Advanced, Enterprise and Platinum), Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (VDI, Enterprise, and Platinum), and Citrix Hypervisor (Standard and Enterprise) are eligible for the LTSR benefits.
  • Accessing and Deploying Updates: Cumulative Updates (CUs) are software releases that provide maintenance corrections and/or fixes. CUs will be available for download from Citrix.com for Customer Success Services (Software Maintenance) customers.  Generally, CUs will include fixes and no new functionality. CUs are cumulative in nature, so any new CU will include all fixes released in previous CUs for that component.  This means that all updates will include all previous updates. You will not be able to install a subset of the fixes included in a CU release. Support is available for any LTSR version level, but code level maintenance will be provided on the latest released CU.

Example:  If you have adopted LTSR and report a new issue, but have not kept up with the different CU releases (CU1, CU2, CU3, CU4), Citrix will support your LTSR environment and work on a fix. However, you may be required to move to the latest available CU (CU4) to ensure that the issue is reproducible with the latest update. In addition, the official fix will be included as part of CU5, which will also include other fixes along with fixes previously released in CU1, CU2, CU3, and CU4.

  • Extended Lifecycle: Once a LTSR is made publicly available, new lifecycle milestones for that release will be established that target 5 years of mainstream support plus an additional 5 years of extended support. (NOTE: Customers are required to purchase an extended support contract for the number of years of extended support required – up to 5 – at end of mainstream support).
  • Maintaining Compliance: To determine if environment components or versions meet LTSR compliance, reference LTSR product documentation for specific component or version criteria or download LTSR Assistant. You will be asked to install the most recent Cumulative Update to ensure that your LTSR site remains compliant.  Extended support component requirements will be defined 6 months prior to the end of mainstream support and customers will be asked to check for compliance prior to enrolling in extended support (Extended Support requirements).

LTSR releases are only available after every 2-3 years and Cumulative udpates which are released for every 4-6 months fixes issues that are already identified by Citrix.

Current Release Lifecycle

Citrix applies the following product lifecycle strategy to Current Releases (CR) of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, XenApp and XenDesktop:  Current Releases (N) will reach End of Maintenance (EOM) 6 months after the release date.  Citrix recommends customers adopt the latest Current Release. Current Releases will reach End of Life (EOL) 18 months after the release date. Current Releases are not eligible for the Extended Support Program. The product release dates are noted on the product download pages.

Long Term Service Release Lifecycle

Citrix applies the following product lifecycle strategy to a Long Term Service Release (LTSR) of XenApp, XenDesktop or Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops: A Long Term Service Release (LTSR) will reach End of Life (EOL) 5 years after the release date. A Long Term Service Release (LTSR) will reach End of Extended Support (EOES) 10 years after the release date.  Citrix recommends customers maintain their LTSR sites with the latest Cumulative Update (N). Code-level maintenance will only be available on the latest Cumulative Updates. A Long Term Service Release is eligible for the Extended Support Program. The product release dates are noted on the product download pages and individual EOL and EOES dates for each LTSR are noted on the Product Matrix Table or Legacy Product Matrix Table.

End of Extended Support (EOES)

This milestone signifies when a specific product release will no longer be covered under the Extended Support Program. The Extended Support Program puts customers in control of their upgrade strategy by offering technical support and maintenance after the End of Maintenance (EOM) or End of Life (EOL) milestone.null

Ok, now I know CR and LTSR can I have both in my environment?

Simple answer is NO. Customers cannot get LTSR and current release features on a single Citrix site. These two release types should be deployed on two different Citrix sites. Recommended way is to create production site with LTSR version as it is more stable, and install current release version on a development or test environment. Wait for 2-3 years for next LTSR release and upgrade your prod LTSR site to the newer version.

Mixed Environment:

Mixed environment is a Citrix site/deployment that includes products and components of different versions. Example, a Delivery controller with 7.15 LTSR version and VDA with 7.6 LTSR, 7.5 and 7.1. Citrix support mixed current release environments as long as a particular version hasn’t gone end of life or extended support dates. Having VDAs in a site with different VDA versions is supported by Citrix.

When using a mixed environment you might:

  • Lose a feature functionality.
  • If your LTSR product and components are not at the same base version level, you won’t qualify for 5 year mainstream support. Use Citrix LTSR assessment tool to check if your environment is qualified for LTSR.

Order in which updates are available

Service Offerings

 Long Term Service Release (LTSR)Current Release (CR)
Customer Success Services RequiredYesYes
Product Lifecycle Timelines5 years of mainstream support + 5 years of extended supportStandard product lifecycle milestones
Access to ReleasesCitrix.com/DownloadsCitrix.com/Downloads
Cumulative UpdatesYesNo
Includes FixesYesYes
Cumulative Update Schedule4-6 monthsN/A
Release Schedule2-3 years3-9 months
Enhancement RequestsNo enhancements until next LTSRRapid release cycles, more opportunities for enhancements

LTSR or CR – which one to choose

It should not be the decision on a citrix team/manager on deciding LTSR or CR. You should have a valid business justification on which one to choose. If you want to provide latest citrix updates to users, go with CR. If not stick to a stable version – LTSR for 10 years.

Ex, After 5 years you update your windows 10 VDAs with latest windows patches with your citrix servers on LTSR version, you might end up in some issues. There might be a product support mismatch. You have to stick to the windows 10 version that is supported by your citrix LTSR version.

At the same time, if you want to provide latest feature like roaming outlook with user’s profile, you cant do it when you are on LTSR. You have to be on CR version. So, analyze what your business needs are, and then decide whether LTSR or CR.

By the time when writing this article, citrix LTSR 7.15 and virtual apps and desktop 1811 are latest. 

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