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First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 4 (upgrade from XenApp 6.5)

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That is the next part of First Look series regarding new version of XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6. In the previous parts we did the following:

In the first part – we installed first Delivery Controller and setup our new XenDesktop 7.6 site.

In the second part – we have configured first site.

In the third part – we prepared the template image of Windows Server 2012 R2 that will be used by MCS service for creation of new machines that will be hosting user desktops and applications.

In the fourth part – we will upgrade XenApp 6.5 server to XenApp 7.6.

I was looking forward to write this post. The are numerous reasons why I was interested particularly in upgrade path for XenApp 6.5. As you know XenApp 6.5 is the last edition of XenApp built upon IMA architecture (Independent Management Architecture). From version 7.x both XenApp and XenDesktop work on FMA (FlexCast Management Architecture). The reason for change was explained my times on many different blogs so there is only one thing I want to underline: according to Citrix FMA is much more prepared for “cloudization” of Citrix services than IMA is/was. And that’s probably true. But with replace of IMA we lost few things that were very useful: e.g. one global XenApp farm, zones and probably on the the biggest lacks: Local Host Cache. Right now Citrix is working to get some of the old IMA features back to FMA. One of them is Connection Leasing about which you can read more here.

The other reason why I was so keen to check upgrade path from XenApp 6.5 to XenApp 7.6 was the presentation of VMware Horizon 6 few months ago. Guys from VMware as one of the main advantages over available at that time XenDesktop 7.1 pointed that there is supported upgrade path from XenApp 6.5 to Horizon 6 while there was no supported path for XenDesktop 7.1. That had to sting Citrix enough as starting from XenApp 7.5 it is possible to upgrade your XenApp 6.5 server in direct way. Let’s check it then and let’s see how it works with XenApp 7.6!
Let’s start by logging to XenApp 6.5 server. As you can see below the server has installed Windows Server 2008 R2 edition which is the only one officially supported by Citrix. It is possible to install XenApp 6.5 on Windows Server 2012 but this configuration shouldn’t be used in production environments.

xa1Next I will launch AppCenter (Citrix could finally stick to one console naming finally ;)). As you see my test server has only 2 apps published but this will be enough for our tests.

xa2

Let’s launch now Citrix XenApp 7.6 installer.

xa3xa4Now we will see the Welcome Screen of the Installation Wizard. As you see below the only option I can choose below is “Replace XenApp 6.5 with VDA”. Installer found previous of XenApp and allows me to do an upgrade. What is important to underline: the installer will uninstall XenApp 6.5 ( IMA stuff) and will replace it with VDA (FMA stuff). But good news is that my applications and my settings should stay on the server untouched. Let’s see if that’s so easy.

I was not able to find anywhere information about possible downgrade from XenApp 7.6 to XenApp 6.5 but it shouldn’t be a problem. After uninstalling XenApp 7.6 you should be able to install properly XenApp 6.5.

xa5In the next step you can choose whether you would like to create a master image or enable connections to the server machine. We want to of course attach our server to XenApp 7.6 site.

xa6Next window allows to choose if Citrix Receiver should be installed on the server. VDA agent will be installed by default. It is possible to change the location where binary data will be saved.

xa7Next we need to define the location of Delivery Controller. You can do that on one of four ways. I will do that manually. We can as well test connection to the Delivery Controller.

xa8axa9Next step allows to choose features we would like to install on the server. I will leave default configuration.

xa11Then we will be presented with well-known already firewall page information.

xa12And we get to the Summary page. Please notice that you have to confirm that XenApp 6.5 will be removed from that server. You can then click Install.

xa13After clicking Install installer starts his work by first uninstalling XenApp 6.5 components (IMA) and installing Virtual Delivery Agent (FMA) on the server. Server restart is needed.

xa15After reboot installation completes and server has to be restarted one more time.

xa16And that’s it! We just upgraded our XenApp 6.5 server to XenApp 7.6. We can see that AppCenter is no longer available on that server.

xa17As you see the whole process seems to be quite easy and straight. The only consideration is if you prefer to move FlexCast architecture and leave back IMA. The decision is yours 🙂

In the next part of the series we will create a machine catalog and add that upgraded XenApp server to XenDesktop 7.6 site. Please check other parts as well:

In the first part – we installed first Delivery Controller and setup our new XenDesktop 7.6 site.

In the second part – we have configured first site.

In the third part – we prepared the template image of Windows Server 2012 R2 that will be used by MCS service for creation of new machines that will be hosting user desktops and applications.

In the fourth part – we upgraded XenApp 6.5 server to XenApp 7.6.

In the fifth part – we created machine catalogs and used previously prepared master image. We attached to the site as well upgraded XenApp 6.5 server.

In the sixth part – we delivered applications to the end users by creating delivery groups.

In the seventh part – we will configure StoreFront so that end users could launch their apps.

In the eighth part – we checked how Connection Leasing really works.

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10 thoughts on “First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 4 (upgrade from XenApp 6.5)

  1. Pingback: First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 5 (Machine Catalogs creation) | pawelserwan

  2. Pingback: First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 1 (Overview and Installation) | pawelserwan

  3. Pingback: First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 6 (Delivery Groups creation) | pawelserwan

  4. Pingback: First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 7 (StoreFront configuration) | pawelserwan

  5. Pingback: First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 8 (Connection Leasing) | pawelserwan

  6. Pingback: First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 2 (First Site Configuration) | pawelserwan

  7. Pingback: First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 3 (template image creation) | pawelserwan

  8. Pingback: First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 9 (PowerShell) | pawelserwan

  9. Pingback: First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Series summary | pawelserwan

  10. Pingback: First Look: XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 – Part 4 (upgrade from XenApp 6.5) | pawelserwan | Infrastructure:land

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