Rest In Peace - Citrix XenAppIn 2013 Citrix merged their application and desktop delivery solutions XenApp and XenDesktop into XenDesktop 7. XenDesktop 7 (XD7) combined the ability to provide remote access to single- and multi-user Windows platforms improving their FlexCast technology.

Besides that we got rid of the ancient IMA architecture, what I liked most was the fact that there’s  now one single product to offer access to single- and multi-users applications AND desktops: XenDesktop. Nonetheless we had to let our beloved XenApp go. After numerous evolutions and name changes (WinFrame >> MetaFrame  >> Presentation Server >> XenApp) this was the end of an era. But, Citrix did skip the cursed version 6 for the XenDesktop product range. Hooray!


Virtual desktop word bingo

In May 2013 I shared my thoughts about the virtual desktop word bingo we as an industry got ourselfs into. In the article I expressed my displeasure of the productnames XenApp and XenDesktop. Unless you’re a well trained Citrix professional it’s likely your assuming XenApp is for applications and XenDesktop for Desktops, a lot of my customers do.

Citrix XenApp - Expectations vs. RealityCitrix XenDesktop - Expectations vs. Reality

With XenDesktop 7 this was no longer an issue, there’s one single product that provides access to  hosted applications or desktops, both private and shared. Sure enough this was confusing for the traditional XenApp customers, did Citrix abandon XenApp? Where should the go now,  Remote Desktop Services?

To offer a smooth transition from XenApp to XenDesktop 7 the “App Edition” license was available which could only provide hosted applications / desktops from multi-users systems (XenApp running FMA).

Unfortunately Citrix didn’t offer a smooth path for customers with the Advanced edition, Bram Wolfs wrote about this in “XenDesktop 7, are XenApp Advanced customers left in the dark?”. And since this was the first release where FMA was used on multi-user systems there where some features absent, Shaun Ritchie collected them in “XenApp 6.5 vs XenDesktop 7 App Edition”.

IMHO these were minor issues which affected a subset of the customers which could be solved with good guidance by Citrix and their partners.


“XenBroker 7.5”

In (January) 2014 the evolution of XD7 was announced which offers ‘Hybrid Cloud Provisioning” and a whole lot of other enhancements.  Unlike the title suggest this product was not named XenBroker 7.5, nor was it XenDesktop 7.5. No, Citrix launced XenApp 7.5.

“New Citrix XenApp 7.5 makes it simple to deliver any Windows app to an increasingly mobile workforce, while leveraging the cost saving and elasticity of hybrid clouds and the security of mobile device management. Learn more at

Hear more about it in this video!”

Source: YouTube, Launching Citrix XenApp 7.5


So we’re back to the situation we were before:

XenApp vs XenDesktop





          Reluctance or an inability to make up one’s mind; irresolution.

Source: TheFreeDictionary


So what has led Citrix to this indecision? We can only guess what the real reason is, but if you’re active on Twitter you might have seen some wild guesses and speculations. According to Citrix XenApp is ‘back by popular demand’, analysts say “Q3 earnings call did show a pretty weak EUC for Citrix”.

I can only imagine that customers did not grasp the concept of a single product name to consolidate single- and multi-user application and desktop delivery. Maybe customers would have understood better if they started with a new product name (a proven strategy at Citrix) like XenBroker or XenIca,


Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.





8 Reacties

  1. Totally agree that Citrix should not have chosen XenDesktop to represent the new combined product.

    This combining of products was quite different to purchasing a new company and rolling their product features into an existing product (which Citrix often do) or combining an existing minor product into a major one.

    Most customers are familiar with both XenApp and XenDesktop and when they hear XenApp doesn’t exist any more they are confused.

    Have heard some same that they thought server hosted app publishing was not possible any more or that you have to have a server hosted published desktop to run published applications etc.

    Think if they had given it a completely new product name people would have gone out to look for the information regarding new product rather than making assumptions.

    1. Guess we’ll have to see what the future brings us, for now we’ll have embrace XenApp once more.

  2. Nice one ingmar (again 🙂

    To be honest, I thought the introduction of XD7, together with the FMA change, was a good move. I also found it relatively easy to explain to my customers as well, no real issues there, one now represents two. Of course there are always exceptions 🙂 But now the real trouble starts, we went from a to b and now back again, why? Let’s hope that Citrix’s statement at Summit ‘XenApp is what sticks’ is the real reason behind it all and that our customers agree! Hopefully, now, they’ll leave it alone for a while.



    1. Thanks Bas!
      I agree that choosing one name for both products was a good move (I liked it), the name was up for debate but that’s okay. The indecision of Citrix together with the everlasting name changing (and now bringing back XenApp) makes it more difficult for us – the partners – to explain what it’s all about. I love Citrix (and XenApp for that matter) but they do tend to make our lives… well, dynamic 🙂

  3. Nice article Ingmar. I think the last paragraph says a lot. After closely watching the YouTube video, it sounds to me like it’s all about the marketing (causing customer confusion/angst?), not necessarily that customers were screaming for “XenApp” but that they didn’t grasp XD7’s capabilities as both a desktop and application delivery solution.

    I agree that the name “XenDesktop 7” was bad marketing for what it actually represents.


    1. Hi Jeff

      We’ll have to wait what will be communicated about the reenactment of XenApp, but it makes sense it had to do with customers not understanding what to do with their XenApp environment. For that reason I can understand they want to keep using XD.

      For the record, I don’t think choosing XD7 was a bad marketing decision. It was either XA or XD and since FMA was used, the architecture of XD at the time, and the focus of the industry was (and is) at hosted “virtual” desktops I think they made the right decision.

      1. What you wrote makes absolute sense. But at the same time, Citrix has changed product names many times over the years – not always the best marketing – and IMHO it would have made more sense to give it a new name. XenFramePresentationDesktopAppDeliveryServer. Too long? 😉

        Your point about customers’ existing XA environments is spot on.

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