Citrix IT Support Houston
5 Business Reasons to Upgade from Citrix 4.5 to 6.5
Many small business owners consider IT support systems a real area of frustration. It is an irritating black hole into which one needs to throw seemingly endless amounts of cash.
Furthermore, since it is also very technical and specialized, it is very hard for you to get a handle on what is really happening. It is very much like buying a diamond in that you are dependent on the experts to guide you in the right direction.
When you bought Citrix, you worked with an independent company referred to as a Citrix solution partner. This is how Citrix, and most other IT hardware and software vendors, market their products. Hopefully this solution partner did a good job and has been there to support you since that time. Sadly though, we have found that this is almost always NOT the case, which also leads to additional frustration for you as a business owner.
The good news is that you made a good decision initially, because Citrix Presentation Server and XenApp have been very good products. Your mileage may vary, as this is evidenced by the 300,000 companies and 50,000,000 end-users that depend on a Citrix environment every day. Citrix’ claim to fame is excellent connectivity to your host network from anywhere using any type of device. The only drawback is that Citrix interacts with everything on your network… the applications (Microsoft OFFICE, Internet Explorer, etc.) , the servers, the disk storage, and your connection to the internet, and the system takes care and feeding for it to continue to operate smoothly.
Citrix Presentation Server (version 3.0, 4.0, or 4.5) was the Citrix flagship product from 2003 through 2008 when it was renamed XenApp. Presentation Server 4.5 will reach its End of Life March 31st, 2013. This presents a problem.
Do you upgrade? If so, what’s the best way to accomplish the upgrade? If your system is stable and you don’t expect much change, then you’re OK… for a while… but you will need to tackle the upgrade issue sometime soon.
The saying goes "Don't fix what is not broken," and those are typically wise words, but there is an exception in this case. So, why upgrade?
- It is very risky to have the lifeblood of your IT environment unsupported by Citrix. How badly will it hurt your business if you run across a problem that requires Citrix support on Presentation Server 4.x at the vendor level and you can’t get it? There are a number of 3rd party organizations that offer Citrix support, but those companies will not be able to assist in cases where interaction with Citrix is required to address your issue at the time. Is it worth the risk of having 5 or 500 people unable to work for a few days while you order hardware and rush a last minute upgrade?
- The cost of IT support for an end of life product will continue to increase. Even going the 3rd party support route, support will get harder and harder to find as time goes on, and it will become more expensive as it becomes more difficult for your vendor/partners to maintain support on multiple versions of the applications. Keep in mind that the quality of support will degrade as more partners move on, following the masses to the latest versions of the software.
- Technology marches on, and quickly at that. If you want to use any of the latest and greatest technology, you are likely going to be forced into an upgrade in some areas or risk them not working properly or breaking something else by trying to use unsupported software versions/configurations. Examples of things you may want are to use the latest version of your line of business application, or one of the new tablets or smart phones.
- You can’t stay frozen in time. The only way your current environment is guaranteed to be stable is if you change nothing, and even that can’t go on indefinitely because the server hardware it runs on will eventually fail and need to be replaced by something newer that requires updated operating system software. Even if you decide not to change any of your current hardware or applications, what about application patches and security updates? You have to install them, right? It is impossible to escape the risk completely.
- Who’s managing the System? You may be lucky enough to have a good IT support person or staff. If you do, that’s great, but many of you out there have a non-IT person in-charge of your system. Maybe this is the time to think about finding a partner that can manage the Citrix system for you and let your non-IT person go back to their main job for your company. Even if you have good IT support staff, they are most likely not experts on Citrix, and outsourcing the management of the Citrix system will free your IT person up to address application and workstation issues. Either way, if you are going to tackle the upgrade of your Citrix system, that is a good time to reassess all the operational issues as well.
The bottom line of all this is that upgrading is a necessity in today’s IT environment, and since Citrix touches so many things in your environment, it is that much more susceptible to other factors causing support issues. So if you accept that premise, then the only other question is “How do you accomplish the upgrade?” That will be the subject of my next post, “How to Pick the Best Citrix Upgrade Path for Your Small Business”