Change in Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Architecture Investigation

citrix xenapp architecture

The virtualization revolution has brought BYOD networks and virtual offices into reality. Today, businesses have multiple options to create a virtual infrastructure and remotely deliver desktops and applications. One of those options is Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp), which was recently released as XenApp 7.5XenApp delivers Windows applications as a service.

However, the recent release, XenApp 7.5 uses a different architecture than that of the previous releases. This means that it is not possible to upgrade from the older versions to this new one.

Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) Architecture

Citrix uses a proprietary architecture called Independent Management Architecture (IMA). Until XenApp 6.5, this architecture was used in all Citrix products. However, the newer versions of Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) use a different architecture called FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA). Citrix uses a proprietary protocol called Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) to remotely transfer data across the network. 

Here is a list of components commonly used in the Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) architecture: 

Citrix XenApp Servers  

Citrix XenApp servers host the resources and applications at a centralized location. The servers can be configured to perform multiple roles and can host sessions or just act as data collectors. 

Data Collectors  

Citrix XenApp server is configured with session mode and controller mode, it is called a data collector. Data collectors help load balance the Citrix XenApp servers in the farm, as they track dynamic data in the zone. Each zone must have at least one data collector. If the farm contains multiple zones, data collectors work as communication gateways between zones. 


A zone is like a subnet in a network. Organizations using Citrix XenApp generally create one zone for each site. When you deploy a large farm with WANs (wide area networks), you can create multiple zones. However, Citrix recommends a single zone. 


A farm in the former Citrix XenApp architecture is a network entity that contains multiple Citrix XenApp servers grouped as a single logical entity. It also combines multiple data storage devices to form a single datastore database.

Datastore Database 

A datastore database is a database that is hosted on the SQL Server Express Installation on a Citrix XenApp server. It stores the XenApp server information such as farm configuration data, administrators, printers, and published applications. 

Citrix Receiver  

Citrix Receiver is a client software that is required to access published resources and desktops on Citrix XenApp servers and farms. However, you need to download and install the corresponding Citrix Receiver edition for that device. 

Citrix Web Interface  

Citrix Web Receiver is similar to Citrix Receiver but allows you to access published resources and desktops via a web browser. The web interface communicates with the XML service running on XML brokers of Citrix XenApp servers to deliver the required content for any device in the Citrix XenApp architecture. 

How Does Parallels Remote Application Server Help?

Parallels RAS (Remote Application Server) is an alternative to Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp). Parallels Remote Application Server is a comprehensive virtualization tool that enables you to seamlessly deliver desktops and applications from a centralized location. The striking feature of Parallels Remote Application Server is that it is easy to deploy and use. All the required components such as load balancing and universal printing redirection come auto-configured. It works with a range of devices, platforms, and OSes, enabling you to access corporate resources from any device, anytime and from anywhere. Parallels Remote Application Server reduces administration tasks, delivers high availability, and improves ROI.

Migrating to a new version of Parallels Remote Application Server is pretty straightforward. Moreover, Parallels Remote Application Server provides the flexibility to migrate to newer versions of Windows at your convenience. Using the desktop replacement feature, you can create a secure layer over the legacy configuration, lock the machine configuration at the user end, and securely use the legacy systems to save costs. Most importantly, Parallels Remote Application Server is significantly cost-effective.

So what are you waiting for, get started with a Parallels RAS free trial today!

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