Blog post

XenApp is Back

By Gunnar Berger | January 28, 2014 | 3 Comments

Citrix turns course and has renamed XenDesktop App Edition, XenApp, so we have gone…

XenApp is back

and I for one am pretty happy about that.

Last May I wrote a blog entitled, XenDesktop 7 is XenApp 7: The missing ingredient at Citrix Synergy, believe it or not this blog was the most read blog I have ever written. That’s pretty crazy considering some of the blogs I’ve written. Over the past year I have fed this data back to Citrix because obviously I felt the folding of XenApp into XenDesktop was an announcement a lot of people didn’t understand.

I’ll be honest with you, technically speaking folding XenApp and XenDesktop together was a great move, it solved a ton of complexity in the two solutions and the result was a better solution; non-technically this re-branding bothered me to no end. In any given year I talk to 150 different customers and every single one of these calls is VDI/SBC related. I spent a lot of time last year having to call XenDesktop 7 App Edition, the artist product formally know as XenApp. Non-technically, this is just a bit of a pain. People were comfortable with XenApp being the SBC solution that runs on Windows Server and XenDesktop being the SHVD/VDI solution that runs on Windows Client; easy peazy. When these two names became one it became a big ordeal to make sure the customer knew exactly what we were comparing. XenDesktop App Edition doesn’t really have any competition in the market space (outside of Microsoft RemoteApp) however XenDesktop is in a constantly battle with VMware Horizon View. One name for two products, different use cases, someone different markets just caused a lot of confusion.

So today Citrix is announcing the grand return of XenApp. Of course no where in the announcement did they state that XenApp ever went away, they just skipped a version and are calling it XenApp 7.5. Under the hood its still XenDesktop, its still the same management console, its the same virtual desktop agent (VDA) we saw in 7.1 (plus updates of course), its still running FMA (FlexCast Management Architecture) which replaced IMA (Independent Management Architecture) from XenApp 6.5 . So it is technically just XenDesktop 7 App Edition relabeled to XenApp again.

Basically you can take the graphic from my original XenDesktop is the new XenApp post and reuse it, all you need to do is reuse the Back to the Future font and point to the VDAs to explain the differences between SBC and VDI.


Of course the key difference is that organizations can buy just XenApp if they so choose. All in all, I expect some people to give Citrix a hard time about this. I am not one of them, I think its a great move to correct the confusion created when the name got changed.

Leave a Comment


  • Hi Gunnar,

    The cat is out of the bag, XenApp is back once again. Unlike you I m not happy about it.
    I think we all agree that from a technical point of view this was a good move. The Flexcast Management Architecutre is more flexbile and cloud-ready then IMA and decreasing infastructure components (and engine on XenApp servers) lowered complexity.

    But where you struggled to explain that XenDesktop App Edition actually was a rebranded XenApp, it solved another problem. Not all customers where comfortable with XenApp / XenDesktop. They assumed XenApp delivered applications while XenDesktop delivers desktops while in reality the both deliver apps and desktops. The principal difference is multi- vs single user.

    IMHO they should have chosen a different name, not XenApp of XenDesktop. XenBroker, XenIca or whatever clever name they could come up with 😉

    I know you disagree, let’s agree to disagree.

    Ingmar Verheij

  • Calvin Hsu says:

    Ingmar, Gunnar,

    Thanks for covering the release in both your blogs… and Ingmar, we’re trying to NOT change names every release :-)!!! Believe me, that temptation is strong… it’s in our DNA!

    In all seriousness, the debate/discussion/introspection/feedback covered all of the above and went back and forth. The brand was part of it, as was the licensing mechanisms (concurrency, user/device), pricing, etc. – but what tipped us in the favor of this direction was the market’s shift towards thinking of “mobility-as-the-new-remote-access.”

    Having a full range of editions for XenApp is a sign of the times, IMO. Think back to 4-5 years ago when the XD/XA merger first happened – that was a very different world, one without tablets and when Blackberry was the primary smartphone in the market. VDI was all customers wanted to talk about. Now it’s all about apps and app stores and mobile devices.

    Yeah, both products can do apps and desktops. Some get it, others don’t. We could have thought of a new name (we tried)… but while lots of them were “clever” as Ingmar says ;-), none of them resonated like the venerable XenApp.

    We already reinvented the wheel with IMA and FMA, why reinvent what we call the wheel? 😉 Maybe next release…

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