Calling All Citrix XenApp Customers! Make the Move to VMware Horizon 6

Oct 24, 2014
Jessica Flohr

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Jessica Chapin (Flohr) is a contract technical writer and editor in End-User Computing at VMware in Palo Alto, California. She graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a bachelor of arts degree in English Writing and has a certificate in editing from Poynter News University. Currently, she is working on the Professional Sequence in Editing through the UC Berkeley Extension program. In addition to editing technical papers and formatting blog posts for the End-User Computing blog, Jessica writes for her local community newspaper.

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By Mark Ewert, End-User Computing Solutions Architect, VMware

This summer we released VMware Horizon 6, the latest version of our leading end-user computing platform. Perhaps the most exciting feature of Horizon 6 is its expanded support for Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, including hosted applications. Whether users need virtual desktops, hosted apps, or shared desktop sessions, VMware Horizon is the only platform you need. This means it is now possible to migrate off your Citrix XenApp infrastructure! Summer 2015 marks both the termination of support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and the end of life for XenApp 5.0. If you are still running XenApp 5 on Windows 2003, the timing is perfect for a migration to VMware Horizon. And we are working feverishly to release tools, guidance, and services to provide what you need to make your migration a success.

Horizon Migration Tool

In August at VMworld San Francisco 2014, we announced the Horizon Migration Tool, which makes it easy to migrate Citrix XenApp infrastructures to VMware Horizon. Run from just a single XenApp server in each farm, the tool migrates the configuration required to publish each application and shared desktop into Horizon, along with the inventory of users and groups entitled to access them. This not only saves substantial time, but also prevents the typical configuration errors if all of this information had been programmed into the system by hand.

Figure1

In Easy Mode, the tool automatically migrates entire XenApp farms, publishing all hosted applications and shared desktops to the same users who have access to them via XenApp. This simple and rapid approach to migration is ideal when all of the XenApp farm’s RDSH servers are healthy, stable, and running on supported operating systems (Windows Server 2008 R2 or later). Simply install the View Agent on each RDSH server and then run the migration tool in Easy Mode from one server to migrate the entire farm.

But what if the RDSH servers are running on older operating systems, such as Windows Server 2003? Or are unstable or running out of resources? The last thing you should do is migrate failing infrastructure and perpetuate these problems with Horizon. The good news is that if you do need to deploy new RDSH servers, the Horizon Migration Tool can still help. Advanced Mode enables you to migrate application publishing configurations and user entitlements from old servers to farms of new RDSH servers in Horizon. Advanced Mode also lets you selectively migrate individual applications (instead of the entire farm) as well as modify the users and groups entitled to access them.

So whether you are migrating a small XenApp infrastructure with a handful of applications or a larger, complex one with thousands, the free Horizon Migration Tool is what you need.

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Recently we also updated the VMware OS Optimization Tool with support for RDSH servers. Now you can not only optimize desktop operating systems and Windows Servers for efficient use as virtual desktops, but also optimize RDSH servers as well. So whether you are migrating existing RDSH servers or deploying new ones, be sure to optimize them first for maximum performance and scalability with the VMware OS Optimization Tool.

Guidance and Services

As excited as we are about these new tools, we recognize they are only helpful in the hands of knowledgeable customers and consultants. Last month we published a white paper that explains How to Migrate Citrix XenApp to VMware Horizon 6.

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The paper presents different strategies for XenApp migration, explaining what is required, and walks you through the major project steps. The white paper and other resources to help with your End-User Computing initiatives can be downloaded from Why Choose Horizon 6.

If you need hands-on help with your migration, we also recently introduced two new services you can engage from VMware Professional Services and our authorized partners. The VMware Horizon 6 Integration and Transition Services for Citrix XenApp will enable you to quickly and efficiently design and deploy VMware Horizon, including the VMware Workspace Portal to support integration with XenApp or to transition from XenApp to Horizon. These services will shorten your time to project-completion, prevent system problems, and ensure user satisfaction through a smooth migration. If you are interested in these services, simply contact your VMware account representative or preferred VMware Partner.

We are also excited to announce new Lakeside SysTrack MarketPlace reports focused on XenApp configurations. Successful migrations start with careful planning and assessment. Citrix infrastructures are very complex, often with dozens to hundreds of servers and published applications. Assessing such infrastructures by hand is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and error-prone; bad information can lead to costly and failed migrations. VMware has partnered with Lakeside Software for many years to automate the gathering of critical information required to chart a course to Horizon. Leveraging upcoming SysTrack MarketPlace reports that assess the configuration and status of the XenApp state, you can easily inventory the applications and desktop sessions published through XenApp. With the SysTrack report in hand, planners and architects will have the information needed to design the Horizon infrastructure and plan a successful migration. The new SysTrack reports will be available in the Lakeside SysTrack MarketPlace in December 2014.

With all of the exploding interest in Horizon 6 and migrating from Citrix XenApp, there are exciting times ahead. And we will not be standing still! We are working with our partners to develop more tools, expand technical guidance, and create additional resources to help you with your migration. So stay tuned and see you on the other side!

You can find out more about VMware Horizon 6 and migrating from XenApp by

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to find out how you can #crushthequo.

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