“Citrix and the curse of version 6”

Written by Ingmar Verheij on July 23rd, 2012. Posted in Citrix

Disclaimer: In no way have I any bad intention with this article. Any reference to the number 666, the devil or religion is purely to illustrate. If you feel offended in any way, I apologize.


Once upon a time there was a successful independent software vendor based in the sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Started in 1989 with $3 million in funding the company now has an estimated market value of $14 billion dollar.

This growth is achieved by developing products that help companies solve their issues and enable them to pursuit their goals. Products like XenApp (former Presentation Server (former MetaFrame (former WinFrame))), XenDesktop, XenServer, NetScaler, Branch Repeater, Provisioning Server and many (many!) more (product matrix).

With the release of each new version of a product more features are added,  problems are solved and raises the bar for the competition. Both companies as IT professionals embrace each new versions with a loud applause, lots of marketing and geek speaks. All version except that feared version : 6

Each time Citrix releases a version 6 of a product the experts cringe and take a step back to evaluate the product from a safe distance, with the necessary precaution.  In their minds it sounds “version 6….6…6…!”

How come? Well, do you remember XenApp 6? The version that was required for 2008R2 but got released before it was really finished (no separate roles for data collector and desktop server, and quite buggy). Or XenServer 6 (got some nasty bugs)… or Provisioning Server 6 (got some nasty bugs)…. or recently Branch Repeater 6 (6.1 is released, consider upgrading to 6.1 or skip 6.0).

XenDesktop is at version 5.6, with high expectation of new release announcements for the coming Citrix Summit/Synergy in October…

Dear Citrix,


Could you please skip version 6 for XenDesktop?



The author

Ingmar Verheij

At the time Ingmar wrote this article he worked for PepperByte as a Senior Consultant (up to May 2014). His work consisted of designing, migrating and troubleshooting Microsoft and Citrix infrastructures. He was working with technologies like Microsoft RDS, user environment management and (performance) monitoring. Ingmar is User Group leader of the Dutch Citrix User Group (DuCUG). RES Software named Ingmar RES Software Valued Professional in 2014.

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Comments (3)

  • 23 July 2012 at 16:05 |

    Well point made but if only it was that simple:)…

    My personal opinion is that the problem is two sided.

    The first is quality control!!! Time to market is superfast at the moment and that’s never a good way to do proper quality management.

    The second problem that’s not so hard to fix is the mix and match of fixes and features in hotfix packs. A hotfix (litteraly) does not translate as “new features”, it fixes bugs. Citrix should split it in hotfix packs and feature packs.

  • 23 July 2012 at 22:50 |

    Nice article…
    I for my part have high expectations for XenDesktop 6 and the next XenApp versions…

    But don’t forget AppDNA 6 😉 That’s not bad! It’s really not that much of a version 6, more a 5.2

  • Ingmar Verheij
    24 July 2012 at 14:43 |

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for reacting on my blunt statement, which is ment as a ludic action.

    @Barry: I agree that the time-to-market with certain releases is too fast, especially with XenApp6, resulting in a less-than-perfect release.

    That’s why I fear the release of the XenDesktop 6; I suspect they’re finally dropping the IMA for XenApp “7” and integrate it in the DDC architecture. Since XenApp “7” and Server 2012 are tight together, there’s a tight timeframe.

    Then again: if there’s such a tight integration between XenApp and XenDesktop, why not branding it as a new product with licensable modules?

    XenWorkspace 1.0 anyone?

    @David: AppDNA is the “exception that proves the rule”, they bought a new development team 😉

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