Tag Archives: Xenapp

A New Citrix Trade-Up Program

At the recent Citrix Synergy conference, Citrix announced a new product bundle: the Citrix Workspace Suite, which consists of XenDesktop Platinum Edition plus XenMobile Enterprise Edition. The Workspace Suite is only licensed in a per-user model. Also, as we mentioned in an update to our blog post on Citrix Subscription Advantage, it appears that, with the advent of the Workspace Suite, Citrix is continuing to move to a more traditional model of “Software Maintenance,” that covers both product upgrades and 24×7 telephone support. Subscription Advantage by itself is not available for the Workspace Suite.

Purchasing the Workspace Suite does offer a bit of savings compared to purchasing the two products separately. A Workspace Suite license is $450 (MSRP) plus $99 for the required first year of Software Maintenance, for a total acquisition cost of $549. XenDesktop Platinum is $350 per named user, and XenMobile Enterprise is $226 per named user ($185 for the license plus $41 for the required first year of Software Maintenance), so buying the two products separately would cost you $27 more than buying the Workspace Suite.

Now, Citrix has announced a trade-up promotion for existing customers who would like to move to the new Workspace Suite. The cool thing about this promotion is that it is so widely applicable. If you own any version of XenDesktop, XenApp, or XenMobile, or if you own ShareFile Enterprise licenses, you can take advantage of this trade-up. If you own XenDesktop concurrent-use licenses or XenApp licenses (which have always been concurrent), you can get two Workspace Suite licenses for each license you trade up; otherwise it’s a 1 for 1 trade-up.

The trade-up price varies depending on what product you’re trading up from, what edition of that product you own, and whether you’re current on your Subscription Advantage. For example, the XenApp trade-up pricing looks like this:

Advanced Edition Enterprise Edition Platinum Edition
SA Current $373 $323 $298
SA Not Current $423 $373 $348

Note: All prices shown are MSRP and do not include any volume license program discounts.

Citrix is also offering a 10% discount on additional Workspace Suite licenses purchased on the same order as a trade-up, or a 35% discount if you purchase enough additional licenses to cover everyone in your organization.

You can find a handy trade-up calculator at www.citrixinformation.com/cwscalculator that will let you enter your existing license information and tell you what your trade-up will cost.

Licensing Office in a Remote Desktop Environment - Updated

Judging from the questions we continue to be asked, lots of people are confused about how to license the Microsoft Office Suite if you are accessing it via Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services (a.k.a. Terminal Services) and/or Citrix XenApp. Hopefully, this will help clear up the confusion. We’ve also updated this post to include information about how to license the applications in a Cloud hosting environment.

First of all, it is important to keep in mind that desktop applications such as the Office Suite are licensed per device, not per user. According to the latest Microsoft “Product Use Rights” document dated April, 2014, a “Licensed Device” is “the single physical hardware system to which a license is assigned.”

That begs the question of what “assigned” means, and the answer - particularly for devices like thin clients, where you couldn’t install the application locally if you wanted to - is that you are on the honor system. You decide, in the privacy of your own conscience, which licenses you are assigning to which devices - with the caveat that, if you’re ever audited, you’d better be able to produce a license for every device people are using to run Office apps. You can reassign a license from one device to another, but not more often than every 90 days, unless it’s due to permanent hardware failure.

Once you’ve assigned each license you acquire to a device, you have the following rights (again quoting from the Product Use Rights document, with my commentary in italics):

  • You may install the software on the Licensed Device and a network Server.
  • Unless you license the software as an Enterprise Product or on a company-wide basis, you may also install the software on a single portable device. That would cover a user who, for example, had both a desktop PC and a notebook PC.
  • Each license permits only one user to access and use the software at a time. So, technically, it would be a license violation for someone else to run Office on your desktop PC while you’re in a hotel somewhere running it on your “portable device.”
  • Local use of the software running on the Licensed Device is permitted for any user. So it’s OK to let someone else use your desktop PC to run Office, as long as you’re not simultaneously running it on your “portable device.”
  • Local use of the software running on a portable device is permitted for the primary user of the Licensed Device. So, technically, it would be a license violation for you to let someone else run Office on your “portable device” under any circumstances.
  • Remote use of the software running on the Licensed Device is permitted for the primary user of that device from any device or for any other user from another Licensed Device. So if your Licensed Device is your desktop PC, it’s OK for you to use GoToMyPC or some similar remote access method to access and run that copy of Office, using whatever kind of client device you want - including, say, an iPad. However, any other user could not remotely access your desktop PC to run that copy of Office unless they were doing so from another Licensed Device.
  • And now the most important point relative to the subject at hand… Remote use of the software running on a network Server is permitted for any user from a Licensed Device. A Remote Desktop Server falls under the definition of a “network Server.” So any user who is accessing Office via Remote Desktop Services must be doing so from a Licensed Device.

In other words, if you can walk up to a device and use it to access a Remote Desktop Server and run Office, you must have an Office license for that device. It doesn’t matter whether that device is a PC or laptop that has the Office bits installed on its local hard drive, or whether it is a thin client device that only knows how to connect to a XenApp server, you need to have “assigned” a license to that device.

It’s also important to note that all of the above came from the Product Use Rights document for Microsoft Volume Licenses. You do not, never have had, and probably never will have the right to access Office on an RDS or XenApp server from a device that has an OEM Office license installed on it. If your PC or laptop came from the manufacturer with Office pre-installed on it, then you have an OEM license, and you do not have “network storage and use” rights. There is an excellent blog post over on the Microsoft SMB Community Blog that explains this in detail. Yes, it’s an old post (from July, 2005). No, the policy hasn’t changed.

Things get a bit more complicated when you move to the Cloud. For example, if you are a VQOffice® customer, and you want to run Office apps on our cloud servers, we can, of course, bundle the Office licenses into your monthly fee under our Microsoft SPLA (“Service Provider License Agreement”). But what if you already own volume licenses for Office? According to the Product Use Rights document, we can use your licenses “provided all such Servers and other devices are and remain fully dedicated to your use.” Given the highly virtualized environments of nearly all Cloud hosting providers (including us), that’s going to drive the cost of the solution up significantly unless you have enough users to justify dedicating hardware in our data center just for your use. For most small businesses, it will be less expensive to pay us for the use of our SPLA licenses than to pay us for dedicated hardware so you can use your own licenses.

What about Office 365? Office 365 is governed by a completely different use rights document - the Online Services Use Rights document. If you read through that document, you will find that, under the E3 plan for example, each user has the rights to activate the Office software on up to five devices, which is a pretty good deal. You will also find the following statement: “Each user may also use one of the five activations on a network server with the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) role enabled…” At first blush, you might think that means you could use your Office 365 E3 licenses to cover running Office apps in our Cloud hosting environment - and you would be right, provided that you’re running on dedicated hardware. So, basically, the same rules apply to Office 365 licenses as apply to volume licenses. We’d be delighted if the rest of the world added their voices to ours to try to get that policy changed.

Disclaimer: I do not work for Microsoft, nor do I define their license terms, which are subject to change, particularly when new product versions are released. I have, however, worked with them for a very long time, and had lots of discussions about what is, or is not, legal under the terms of various license models. The foregoing is my own interpretation of information that is publicly available on the Microsoft Web site - and I have helpfully provided you with links to that information. I highly recommend that, if you have any questions, you download the relevant Product Use Rights document and read it for yourself.

Changes to the XenApp Product Lifecycle

Back in May, in our post entitled “When Is End of Life Not End of Life,” we talked about the impending “End of Life” dates for all versions of XenApp earlier than v6.5 on Server 2008 R2. Citrix has now backed off on those dates, and given us a bit more breathing room.

Note that nothing has changed for XenApp on Server 2003. If you’re still running Presentation Server v4.5 or XenApp v5.0 on Server 2003, you should be planning to upgrade as soon as possible, because we’ve already moved past the “End of Maintenance” date (which was September 30). That means that no code maintenance is being done other than for serious security vulnerabilities. “End of Life” hits next March 31, at which time there will be no support available at all from Citrix unless you want to buy “Extended Support” - and, trust me, you really don’t want to buy Extended Support.

Extended support is a cool $100,000 for six months, regardless of how many licenses you have, and that’s in addition to a Premier Support agreement, which you must also have on your XenApp licenses (at a cost of $35/year/license) before you can buy Extended Support. It is deliberately priced at such a painful level to discourage you from buying it. Citrix really, really doesn’t want to support products that are beyond their End of Life dates.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: I just discovered that I had understated the cost of Extended Support. Here are the official criteria:

  1. Customer must have a current/valid/paid Citrix Technical Support contract (that means either Premier Support, or one of the legacy incident-based support agreements.
  2. Customer must have a Citrix Technical Relationship Manager (TRM) contract, which is an additional $40,000/year.
  3. Customer mus purchase Extended Support in minimum increments of 6 months at $100,000 per 6 month increment.
  4. Should the customer require a hotfix, the cost will be $40,000 per hotfix.

So, when it comes to keeping XenApp in service beyond the End of Life date, “Just say no.”

The good news is that End of Maintenance for XenApp v5.0 on Server 2008 has now been extended to July 13, 2014, and End of Life to January 13, 2015. (Why the dates fall in the middle of the month seems puzzling, but there it is.) That’s good for customers who still need to support apps that just won’t run on a 64-bit platform - you’ve got a little more time to plan your transition.

The same dates apply to XenApp v6.0 on Server 2008 R2…but if you’re running Server 2008 R2, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be on XenApp v6.5, and we’d recommend that you go there as soon as possible.

If you want to see the full announcement with all the dates, you can find it in the Citrix Knowledge base - it’s article CTX122442.

What Licenses Do I Need….

Earlier this week, I had a long discussion with a client (you know who you are) about what licenses they would need for a deployment of “zero client” devices. We’ve written a lot about Microsoft and Citrix licensing, about XenDesktop and XenApp, about the Citrix trade-up, etc., but it occurred to me that it might be beneficial to pull all the licensing information together into one post instead of expecting you, gentle reader, to have to sort through multiple posts to pull it all together.

So, let’s discuss Citrix licensing first, then move on to the Microsoft licensing.

First of all, if all you want to do is to deploy VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure), and you have a limited number of users, then you should probably purchase VDI-in-a-Box.

If you decide that VDI-in-a-Box is not the right fit foryou, the next question you need to answer is whether to use XenApp licenses or XenDesktop licenses. Beginning with the introduction of XenDesktop v4.0, Citrix concluded, reasonably enough, that an organization that was deploying VDI probably wouldn’t get much leverage from a concurrent-use licensing model, because their concurrency ratio (by which I mean the ratio of total users to concurrent users) would be pretty close to 1:1. So XenDesktop v4.0 was introduced with a per-named-user or per-device license model. These licenses were roughly half the cost of the comparable XenApp concurrent-use license: XenApp Enterprise Edition, for example, carries an MSRP of $450 per concurrent user. XenDesktop Enterprise Edition carries an MSRP of $225 per user/device.

At the same time, Citrix made the decision to include XenApp rights in the XenDesktop license. So if you buy XenApp, you get only XenApp. But if you buy XenDesktop, you get both XenDesktop and XenApp - so you can use XenApp to stream applications to your virtual desktops, or have your virtual desktops function as client devices that run published applications that execute on the XenApp servers, or simply deploy a mixture of XenDesktop and XenApp to your user community depending on what delivery method is best for a particular use case. This is what Citrix refers to as the “FlexCast” delivery model.

This created the interesting situation where, because of the difference in license cost, if your concurrency ratio was less than 2:1, you were better off financially to purchase XenDesktop licenses even if all you really wanted to run was XenApp. And, since delivering what Citrix calls “hosted shared” desktops from XenApp servers makes more efficient use of the underlying hardware and storage infrastructure, the bias should probably be toward XenApp unless there is a clear use case for why users need to connect to individual desktop OS instances rather than a shared XenApp desktop (and it isn’t just appearance, because with XenApp v6.5 on Windows Server 2008 R2 we can deliver a XenApp desktop that looks and feels like a Windows 7 desktop). But, for the sake of this discussion, let’s move on down the XenDesktop trail.

Citrix has re-introduced a concurrent-use license option for XenDesktop, which is a better choice for organizations who want to deploy both XenDesktop and XenApp, but have a concurrency ratio greater than 2:1, but so far, I haven’t seen very many use cases where that license model made sense.

If you already have XenApp licenses, and want the ability to deliver VDI as well, you can take advantage of the Citrix trade-up program to transform your XenApp licenses into XenDesktop licenses. And if you trade up all of your XenApp licenses, you can get two XenDesktop user/device licenses for each XenApp license. So 250 XenApp licenses would become 500 XenDesktop user/device licenses. If you want more information on how the trade-up program works, and what your trade-up options are, check out the handy Citrix Trade-Up Calculator.

As of the release of XenDesktop v5.0 Feature Release 1, the license service got pretty smart in terms of how it managed those user/device licenses. This is good news for, say, a hospital, which may have devices that are used by multiple users and other users who use multiple devices. The license server can intelligently and dynamically reassign licenses between users and devices to make the most efficient use of the available licenses. For example, consider the following scenario for a brand-new environment where no licenses have yet been assigned:

  • User 1 logs on from client Device 1. The license server will, by default, check out a license to User 1.
  • User 1 logs off, and User 2 logs on from the same client device. The license server, now sensing that two different users have logged on from the same device, will take the license that was assigned to User 1, and reassign it to Device 1. Any subsequent users who log in from Device 1 will not cause any action by the license server, because Device 1 is already licensed.
  • If User 1 logs on again from a different client device, the license server will again check out a license to User 1 (so, at this point, two licenses are checked out: one to Device 1 and one to User 1). Since User 1 has logged on from two different devices, the license will remain assigned to User 1 unless/until manually released by an administrator (e.g., in the case of the employee leaving the organization), or unless User 1 doesn’t log on for a period of 90 days, in which case it will be automatically released due to inactivity.
  • Likewise, since two different users have logged on from Device 1, that license will remain assigned to that device unless manually released or automatically released due to 90 days of inactivity.

So…how do you know how many licenses you really need? There is actually a formula that will tell you that. You need to know how many total users you have (let’s call that number “A”), how many shared devices you have (let’s call that “B”), and how many of your users will use only shared devices (let’s call that “C”). The formula is A - C + B. So, if you have 1,000 total users, 300 shared devices, and 600 of your users will use only shared devices, you need 1,000 - 600 + 300 = 700 total licenses.

For more information on exactly how this works, see the Citrix Community Blog post by Christophe Catesson, which in turn links to a recorded session from Synergy 2011 that was a deep dive discussion of XenDesktop licensing.

Now for the Microsoft licensing component.

If you have users who will be executing applications on a XenApp server, you will need a Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CAL for that user, or for the client device that user is using. It is very difficult to manage a mixture of user CALs and device CALs in a Remote Desktop Services environment, so, in most cases, you’re going to be better off purchasing user CALs.

If you have users who will be attaching to a virtual desktop instance, the licensing requirements are different, depending on the client device. If the client device is a Windows PC whose Operation System is covered by Software Assurance, you do not have to purchase any additional Microsoft license to use that PC to connect to a virtual desktop. If the client device is not a Windows PC, or that copy of Windows is not covered by Software Assurance, you need a Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) license for that client device. VDA licenses are only available under the Open Value Subscription license model at present, meaning that you will continue to pay for them every year. Forever.

But wait! That’s not all! As Gabe Knuth outlines in a recent article on Techtarget.com, there is a very strange loophole in the VDA license terms. If you have a VDA license for your primary device (or if it’s covered by Software Assurance), you have what Microsoft calls “Extended Roaming Rights,” which allow you to also use your home computer to access your virtual desktop, or use your iPad when you’re at home or traveling. But, technically, it does not entitle you to bring your iPad into the office and use it there! To solve that (using the term “solve” loosely), Microsoft recently announced something called a “Companion Device License” (CDL) which allows you to use up to four other devices (in addition to the primary licensed device) to access your virtual desktop. No word yet on what the CDL will cost.

So let’s see if we can summarize what our client would need for a deployment of “zero client” devices (like, for example, the Wyse Xenith thin client).

  • You’re going to need some kind of Citrix license, either VDI-in-a-Box, XenDesktop, or XenApp.
  • Since the thin client is not a Windows PC, and therefore cannot be covered by Software Assurance, you would need to purchase a Microsoft VDA license for it.
  • If the thin client will be used only to attach to a virtual PC desktop and execute applications within that desktop OS environment, no additional Microsoft license is needed. However, if the thin client will also be used to attach to applications that are executing on a XenApp server - either directly or indirectly by having the Citrix client baked into the virtual PC desktop - you will also need a Microsoft RDS CAL.
  • You do not need an RDS CAL if you are only using XenApp to stream packaged applications to a virtual (or physical, for that matter) desktop for execution there. Since you are not actually utilizing Remote Desktop Services by executing code remotely on a Remote Desktop Server, no RDS CAL is required.
  • If you want to institute a BYOD program, where users can bring whatever client device they wish into the office and use it to access your VDI, you’ll probably need some of the new Microsoft CDL licenses.

If I’ve overlooked anything, feel free to submit questions via comments on this post, and we’ll try to get them answered. Let the discussion begin!

When Is “End of Life” Not “End of Life?”

Last Friday (May 4), the news broke that Citrix had made some changes in their “End of Life” (EOL) dates. Just a couple of months ago, in our March issue of the Moose Views newsletter, we told you that if you were running any version of XenApp other than XenApp v6.5 on Windows Server 2008 R2, you needed to start seriously planning for your migration, because by mid-July of next year (2013), those older versions will all hit their EOL dates.

Apparently Citrix has been feeling some heat from customers who weren’t too happy about that, so they have announced something new called “Extended Support,” that will be available after EOL for an additional fee - which was not specified. The “End of Extended Support” (EOES) dates have been aligned with the comparable Microsoft dates for the underlying server Operating System.

The odd thing about this is that the EOL dates have not changed (except for XenApp v6.0, which will now hit EOL on January 2, 2015). It’s just that EOL doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Previously, when a Citrix product hit EOL, that meant there was no support available for it whatsoever. Now, apparently, “End of Life” means “End of Life Unless You Pay Us More Money to Keep Supporting You.”

For the record, the EOES dates for the versions of XenApp that run on Server 2003 have been set to July 14, 2015, and the EOES dates for the versions that run on Server 2008 (and 2008 R2) have been set to July 10, 2018.

You can read more about this on the Citrix Product Matrix Web page.

As of now, the Extended Support program for XenDesktop is still being defined…