Citrix Subscription Advantage

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Recently I did an upgrade of a Citrix environment to 7.15.  Citrix has provided a very well documented Upgrade Deployment guide and the steps to follow here.  There are a number of pre-checks that you should do before upgrading the environment.  Some of those things are taking backups of the database, snapshots of the virtual machines, check database permissions.  One of those steps is to make sure your Citrix licensing is up to date.  According to the document, it says “If you are upgrading from an earlier 7.x product version, the date must be at least 2017.0801. (YYYY.MMDD)”

So, I went and checked the licensing server and it said the subscription advantage date was 2018.0206.  I made backups of the database, and snapshots of the virtual machines.  I meet all the requirements and was ready for the upgrade.  During the maintenance window we upgrade all the core components while following the upgrade guide.  I upgraded the license server, all the StoreFront servers, Director, half of the Delivery Controllers, upgrade the database, and finally upgrade the remaining half of the Delivery Controllers.

I was using the free ControlUp Logon Simulator during the entire time to make sure the environment was still accessible.  I had the tool configured to login with my test account every 60 seconds and logoff after 45 seconds.  I wasn’t able to connect to the environment five different times throughout the entire process, but never consecutively.

Things were going so well…a little too well.  I had my simulator running and connecting fine.  We had application owners connecting to make sure their applications launched and that was fine too.  The problem is, it’s not a full load.  Things on the surface seemed just fine.

After combing through the logs one last time, the license server showed an error on a set of licenses.  It said that the licenses were out of subscription advantage.  I was a little confused.  I checked the SA!  I also installed XenDesktop 7.15 CU2.

Looking back at the Upgrade Deployment guide it said “If you are upgrading from an earlier 7.x product version, the date must be at least 2017.0801. (This date applies to the 7.15 LTSR release, not to cumulative updates (CUs) that follow.)”  I knew CU2 came out after February.  My palms started to sweat.  I looked and found more details around the Subscription Advantage and there’s an entire page.

According to the licensing, when you purchase a product it includes a one-year membership to the Subscription Advantage program.  This SA program entitles you to major and minor releases.  Citrix products are not version-specific but are instead tied to a date-based system.  Product burn-in dates are also referred to as Subscription Advantage Eligibility dates. This date is located within Citrix products. The Subscription Advantage Expiration date in a license file (for example, 2006.1030) must fall after the hidden eligibility date in Citrix products for the product to function.  The date for CU2 is 2018.0416.

Damn…

My palms are sweating now.  Thank goodness we made those snapshots.  Got a hold of Citrix licensing and we went into MyCitrix portal and found new licenses that had a SA date of 2019.0206.  Followed the normal license procedure and everything was good.

I was under the impression that you received the CUs once you were eligible for the LTSRs.  Once the environment is using LTSR you get updates and bug fixes, but not new features.  My impressions were corrected and I learned you need a Subscription Advantage date to get those update and bug fixes.

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