Deploying Windows 10 with Citrix XenDesktop LTSR

08 August 2016 | By David Baird

In early 2016, Citrix announced that produce releases for the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop suite of products would follow two streams - Current Release (CR) with quarterly updates including new features, and Long Term Service Release (LTSR) which would include patches and hotfixes, extended support for 5 years, but not any new features.

For many organisations wishing to standardise their Citrix environments and limit the amount of change occurring, LTSR seemed like an ideal model to follow. The caveat was that support for Microsoft Windows 10 wasn't included in LTSR, with Windows 10 being listed as a Notable Exception.

That changed at the Synergy 2016 conference when Citrix announced that Windows 10 has now been added to the list of compatible components that can be used with LTSR. This is great news for those organisations wishing to implement Windows 10 based desktops, but there are a few pointers as to how LTSR compatibility can be maintained within the Citrix environment. Essentially, you need to ensure that the following principles are adhered to:

  • Maintain the current Citrix XenApp / XenDesktop site at 7.6 LTSR as per Citrix requirements
  • Install Citrix VDA version 7.9 or later on the Windows 10 desktops – don’t use the VDA that is provided in the standard 7.6 LTSR or LTSR Cumulative Update 1 (CU1) install set
  • If using Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS), use PVS version 7.9 or later for the Windows 10 VDAs

Please note that as the VDA and PVS components technically differ from those shipped in the LTSR versions and therefore don’t comply with the LTSR maintenance cycles, you may be asked to install later Current Release updates should issues arise – the remainder of the environment would be maintained under the standard LTSR maintenance processes.

Whilst Citrix anticipate to announce a new LTSR version sometime in 2017 that will have full LTSR benefits for Windows 10, using the principles as described above provides an acceptable method to include Windows 10 in your environments now, while maintaining the LTSR support for the majority of the Citrix environment.

As an aside, for those organisations wishing to check their environments for LTSR compliance, Citrix have released the LTSR Assistant Tool. While this is still in Tech Preview, care should be taken if running the tool against a Production environment, as this is not officially supported at this time. The tool will however provide a basic report with recommendations as to what is needed to obtain LTSR compliance, and has the ability to upload these reports to Citrix Insight Services for additional analysis.

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