Citrix licensing issues and questions

Recently, I have received more Citrix licensing issues and questions than usual. In this article, I will provide some answers and solutions. The increase in questions has to do with changes in our licensing models since March 2024.

Table of Contents

Setting the scene

Before going into specific issues, let’s take a look at the new licensing offerings from Citrix. In March 2024, Citrix massively reduced the number of SKUs and replaced these with only a few. All of the stand-alone offerings (e.g., Citrix Analytics for Performance and Citrix Endpoint Management) have been deprecated. The three most important new SKUs are:

  • Citrix for Private Cloud (CPC)
  • Citrix Universal Hybrid Multi-Cloud (UL HMC)
  • Citrix Platform License (CPL)

For more details on these offerings please see the official website.

In the sections below I go deeper into the various commercial and technical changes (and challenges) since March 2024.

In this article, I use certain terms and abbreviations. Here is the glossary:

  • CPC = Citrix for Private Cloud (one of the new offerings since March 2024).
  • CVAD = Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.
  • License and subscription: I use these definitions interchangeably throughout this article, but from a commercial perspective all new Citrix licenses are subscriptions. Perpetual licenses (something you buy and then own) are no longer sold. All entitlements are now subscription-based. Customers renewing from older, perpetual, licenses will move to a subscription model, invalidating the older perpetual licenses.
  • CPL = Citrix Platform License (one of the new offerings since March 2024)
  • PVS = Citrix Provisioning Server
  • Site and Farm = a single Citrix environment (one Citrix site database). In this article, I use site and farm interchangeably. 
  • SKU: Stock Keeping Unit, a purchasable instance of a product. Customers do not purchase products; they purchase SKUs.
  • UL HMC = Citrix Universal Hybrid Multi-Cloud (one of the new offerings since March 2024).

I am confused about my entitlements after purchasing CPC, UL HMC, or CPL

So what exactly am I entitled to? Which products or features did I gain and which ones am I missing? For a quick overview please see the official listing of our current offerings.
Also, you find both a high-level and detailed overview in the new feature matrix.

Below I listed further insights from discussions I had with customers.

Note: changes in the offerings and features are at the sole discretion of Cloud Software Group. The information in this section is not official, does not replace the official current offerings overview or the feature matrix, and can be outdated at some point (I will do my best to keep this article up-to-date though).

Citrix for Private Cloud (CPC)

In general, this license is meant for (smaller) customers who choose to remain 100% on-prem (both the control plane and the workers/VDAs).

All new subscriptions offer all Premium features within the specific product, but only on-prem features. This means that CPC is the equivalent of CVAD Premium. Besides some basic Citrix Cloud functionality such as connecting your on-prem license server, Citrix Cloud is not available to CPC customers.

Customers previously on Advanced or Standard editions can now leverage Premium features such as:

  • Provision single-session Windows 10/11 virtual machines
  • Director Premium (customer reporting, 365 days of data retention, and more)
  • Provision virtual machines using PVS
  • Increase your security using Session Recording

XenServer Premium is included.

Please note that NetScaler (Gateway) is not included. If remote access is a requirement NetScaler entitlements have to be purchased separately. Contact your partner of Citrix Account Executive for more information.

Important: CPC does not allow you to host workers at public cloud providers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Service, and Google Cloud Platform. CPC does not include hybrid rights. The CPC license file does not contain the SaaS bit required for hybrid scenarios. If you try to register a VDA in for example Azure this will result in an error. For more information see the section VDA fails to register in Azure (CVAD control plane) in this article. This is a change for CVAD customers currently on version 1912 (EOL in December 2024) and for CVAD customers running 2203 LTSR and later.

Citrix Universal Hybrid Multi-Cloud (UL HMC)

UL HMC allows customers flexibility concerning the control plane. You can run the control plane where you see fit. Possible options are:

  • In your on-prem data center (CVAD)
  • In Citrix Cloud (DaaS service)
  • Customer-managed at a public cloud provider (e.g., CVAD in Azure)
  • A combination of the above options

All new subscriptions offer all Premium features within the specific product. This means that UL HMC is the equivalent of CVAD Premium and DaaS Premium. Customers previously on Advanced or Standard editions can now leverage Premium features such as:

  • Provision single-session Windows 10/11 virtual machines
  • Provision multi-session W10/W11 and W365 virtual machines in Azure (a customer-owned Azure tenant is required and consumption of Azure resources is not included in the Citrix licenses). Only possible in Citrix DaaS, not CVAD.
  • Director and Monitor Premium (customer reporting, 365 days of data retention, and more)
  • Provision virtual machines using PVS
  • Increase your security using App Protection
  • Increase your security using Session Recording
  • Create workflows in ServiceNow using the Citrix ITSM adapter (Citrix Cloud)

The UL HMC license includes the SaaS bit, allowing customers to host virtual machines in Citrix Cloud from a customer-managed CVAD control plane.

XenServer Premium is included.

Citrix Endpoint Management (CEM) is included! Please note that you can only manage mobile devices up to the total number of purchased UL HMC licenses.

NetScaler Premium is included as well. You can run 999 NetScaler software instances (VPX) with a maximum throughput capacity of 1000 Gbps. The fact that you can use all premium features of NetScaler means you can expand your use cases. Many Citrix CVAD customers use NetScaler as a reverse proxy to allow users to connect to their resources (virtual apps and desktops) remotely, but NetScaler can do so much more.
Many of my customers are now looking at features such as load balancing, Web Application Firewall (WAF), API protection, Kubernetes traffic management, and more.
NetScaler Console (previously called ADM) is also included, both on-prem and as a service in Citrix Cloud.

Citrix Platform License (CPL)

CPL includes anything that UL HMC has to offer and more (I recommend reading the previous section first). CPL is meant for larger organizations and includes all products and features Citrix has to offer in an unlimited capacity:

  • CVAD Premium and DaaS Premium
  • Secure Private Access (e.g., Citrix Enterprise Browser)
  • Observability:
    • Analytics for Performance
    • Analytics for Security
    • uberAgent (ESA and UXM)
  • NetScaler Premium unlimited (no limit on instances or bandwidth)
  • Endpoint Management

Did the new Citrix offerings from March 2024 change anything concerning product, edition, and model?

Yes, it sure did.

Let us quickly recap how a Citrix license is constructed. Let me use CVAD (from before March 2024) as an example:

  • Product: this concerns the various offerings, such as Citrix Virtual Apps, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, and Citrix Virtual Desktops.
  • Edition: this concerns the feature-richness of each of the products. The editions available until March 2024 were Standard, Advanced, and Platinum.
  • Model: this concerns the entitlement (how licenses are issued to the users). The two possibilities here are concurrent and user/device.
  • Type: type is the combination of a product and edition.

Starting March 2024, the main change in our new SKUs is a massive simplification whereby product and edition have been reduced to only one option.

The product in CPC, UL HMC, and CPL is CVAD (+ DaaS for UL HMC and CPL). Products (SKUs) such as Citrix Virtual Apps and Citrix Virtual Desktops are no longer available for purchase. The same applies to all stand-alone products such as Citrix Analytics for Performance, Citrix Analytics for Security, Citrix Endpoint Management, and more. These products can no longer be purchased. Please note that this software is not gone. It is included in the new offerings.

The edition for all offerings is now Premium. None of the new offerings can be purchased in the Standard or Advanced edition. 

So what about XenServer?

XenServer entitlement is automatically included in all new subscriptions (CPC, UL HMC, and CPL) if purchased after June 3rd.

XenServer entitlement status

So what exactly does this mean? What do you get?

  • This entitlement concerns XenServer 8.0 (released in May 2024). Why only XenServer 8.0 you wonder? Because Citrix XenServer (“Citrix Hypervisor”) versions before XenServer 8.0 (e.g. Hypervisor 8.2) still require active CVAD or DaaS licenses.
  • Licensing for XenServer 8.0 is per socket (not core).
  • You are entitled to 10,000 XenServer Premium Edition socket licenses for XenServer 8, This version only recognizes per-socket licenses and not CVAD/DaaS licenses.
  • Citrix XenServer 8.0 can be used for both Citrix and non-Citrix workloads, but you must ensure that XenServer meets your needs as no Request for Enhancements (RFEs) for general server virtualization needs will be accepted. All customers will be eligible for XenServer support, regardless of whether the support issue relates to a Citrix or non-Citrix workload. For non-Citrix workloads, best-effort support will be provided.
  • XenServer 8.0 supports Windows 11 virtual machines!

URLs:

Many customers are currently running Citrix Hypervisor 8.2 (CU1). Please note that this product will be End Of Life on the 25th of June 2025. Citrix will continue to recognize Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops or Citrix DaaS licenses until this date.

I cannot find my XenServer licenses in the MyCitrix portal

You probably purchased your new subscription before the 3rd of June 2024. In this case, XenServer entitlement was not automatically included. Talk to your partner or Citrix Account Executive to apply for the free XenServer promo.

Check the previous section for more information on the new XenServer entitlement.

I purchased one of the new subscriptions: which
license file should I use? Why is there a compatibility license file?

After purchasing CPC or UL HMC you will find multiple licenses in the MyCitrix license portal. The screenshot below shows the two license files for UL HMC:

  • Virtual Apps & Desktops SaaS OPT License-Premium-Concurrent
  • CVAD Compatibility license for HMC-None-None

Citrix licensing issues and questions - UL HMC licenses in MyCitrix portal

Let’s take a closer look at both of these.

The Virtual Apps & Desktops SaaS OPT License-Premium-Concurrent contains licenses for the following product types and models:

  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Premium Concurrent
  • Citrix Provisioning Concurrent
  • Citrix Provisioning for Desktops Concurrent*

*This is for image streaming to physical endpoints

The CVAD Compatibility license for HMC-None-None contains licenses for the following product types and models:

  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Premium User/Device
  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Advanced Concurrent
  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Advanced User/Device
  • Citrix Virtual Apps Standard Concurrent
  • Citrix Virtual Apps Advanced Concurrent
  • Citrix Virtual Apps Premium Concurrent
  • Citrix Virtual Desktops Standard Concurrent
  • Citrix Virtual Desktops Standard User/Device

The license file has to match the licensing configuration in your Citrix farm!

You can check the current licensing configuration (the product, edition, and model) in the Licensing node in Citrix Studio. 

Citrix licensing issues and questions - Site-level license

Configuring the Citrix site for CVAD Premium Concurrent is considered best practice. You must download and install the Virtual Apps & Desktops SaaS OPT License-Premium-Concurrent and ensure that your Citrix site is configured to use CVAD Premium Concurrent licenses. 

Note: when changing the site-wide licensing configuration please review any changes you may have made on the Delivery Group level. You may need to change or remove these. You can use either PowerShell or, in newer versions of CVAD and DaaS, the GUI in Citrix Web Studio.

License assignment per Delivery Group

If the Citrix site has not been configured for CVAD Premium Concurrent and cannot be changed at this time, the CVAD Compatibility license for HMC-None-None must be downloaded and installed.

There may be different reasons why the licensing configuration cannot be changed, for example, because you have to wait for an upcoming maintenance window or because other, older, licenses are still in use. Please keep in mind that different editions (Standard, Advanced, and Premium) cannot be mixed in a single Citrix site. See the official Citrix article Multi-type licensing for more information. 

Please also take a minute and read the official Citrix documentation Compatibility license – avoid mixed editions when renewing Universal HMC or Citrix for Private Cloud.

I have new licenses (since March 2024). Do I need to change something on my on-prem CVA(D) site or in DaaS?

The short answer is perhaps, depending on the entitlement you renewed from. 

Let’s start with on-prem CVAD. As explained in the previous section, the license file has to match the licensing configuration in your Citrix site. If there is a mismatch, you will see the message “Required product licenses are not installed”.

As you can see in the screenshot below, the site is set to CVAD Premium Concurrent, but only CVAD Premium User/Device licenses (+ some other product licenses) are available. But there are no CVAD Premium Concurrent licenses available.

Required product licenses are not installed

In the example above the license Virtual Apps & Desktops SaaS OPT License-Premium-Concurrent has not been installed (this is the one containing the CVAD Premium Concurrent licenses). Only the CVAD Compatibility license for HMC-None-None is installed, but none of the editions and models in this license included match the site-wide licensing settings.

Best practice dictates installing the Virtual Apps & Desktops SaaS OPT License-Premium-Concurrent which contains the currently missing CVAD Premium Concurrent license file. Optionally you could change the licensing settings to CVAD Premium User/Device. Please see the previous section for more details.

In a DaaS environment, you may need to make some changes as well. If the site-wide licensing settings do not match the assigned DaaS licenses no licenses will be checked out. See the section No licenses are being checked out in Citrix DaaS in this article for more information.

I have new licenses (since March 2024). Do I need to change something on my PVS site?

Please check the licensing section in the official PVS documentation:

https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/provisioning/current-release/system-requirements/license#required-license-types

PVS licensing instructions

The screenshot below is from a UL HMC license file, or, to be more precise, a Virtual Apps & Desktops SaaS OPT License-Premium-Concurrent. It shows the new PVS abbreviations, which are PVS_STD_CSS and PVSD_STD_CSS (for Provisioning for Desktops = image streaming to physical endpoints).

PVS licensing abbreviations

Use the PVS licensing wizard to set the licensing to on-premises.

Citrix PVS config wizard licensing

Note: for full disclosure, select the option Cloud only in case your current license file contains the abbreviation PVS_CCLD.

One more thing: make sure to update your Citrix on-prem license server before using the new PVS license file. Newer versions of PVS check for new license abbreviations in the license file.

See the section below if you downloaded a compatibility license file and cannot find your PVS license.

The PVS license file is missing

Please be aware that the PVS licenses are only available in the main license file, not the compatibility license file. For example UL HMC:

  • Virtual Apps & Desktops SaaS OPT License-Premium-Concurrent
    Contains PVS licenses yes
  • CVAD Compatibility license for HMC-None-None
    Contains PVS licenses no

Here is an extract from the Virtual Apps & Desktops SaaS OPT License-Premium-Concurrent license file. The file contains both the PVS licenses for virtual devices and the PVS for Desktops licenses (for image streaming to physical endpoints).

UL HMC license file with PVS licenses

If you need compatibility licenses in your environment and your Citrix workers are provisioned using PVS you must install both license files.

For more information see the section I purchased one of the new subscriptions […].

No licenses are being checked out in Citrix DaaS

You recently transferred to one of our new subscriptions, UL HMC or CPL, users are working without incident, and active sessions are visible in Citrix Monitor, but no licenses are checked out! 

Citrix licensing issues and questions - No licenses checked out in DaaS

This issue only happens when the site-wide licensing settings do not match the assigned DaaS licenses. Starting from March 2024, after a license renewal, you will either have UL HMC or CPL licenses. Both of these include the entitlement DaaS Premium. Customers previously on DaaS/UL Advanced or DaaS/UL Advanced Plus may need to change their site-wide licensing settings (in the future this may be changed automatically, this is why I am writing “may need to change”).

The screenshots below show how you can change your site-wide licensing settings.

DaaS settings

Make sure that the correct license, DaaS Premium Concurrent is assigned. In the screenshot below the wrong edition and model are configured.

DaaS assign license

Please note that although the license assignment may be set to an incorrect edition or model, users will still be able to launch sessions. 

VDA fails to register in Azure (CVAD control plane) -> VMNotCompatibleWithDdc

If your VDA running in Azure cannot register to your on-prem (CVAD) Delivery Controller with the error 1023 and the text “The Citrix Desktop Service was refused a connection to […]” and the keyword “VMNotCompatibleWithDdc” then this points to a licensing issue. 

Citrix licensing issues and questions - VDA registration refused VMNotCompatibleWithDdc

I explicitly wrote “Azure” instead of “public cloud” because this issue seems to affect Azure, but not AWS.

This particular registration error can have two causes. The main cause is the missing SaaS bit in the license file. This SaaS bit, as shown in the screenshot below, allows VDAs running in public cloud to register with on-prem CVAD Delivery Controllers. If the SaaS bit is missing then the VDA registration will fail with the error “VMNotCompatibleWithDdc”

SaaS-bit

The second cause is a bit more tricky. I had some customers experiencing this issue although they had a valid license file including the SaaS bit. However, they did not assign this license file to the CVAD site. Instead, they assigned the license to a Delivery Group.

The VDA registration process runs on a machine level, not a user level. Assigning a license to a Delivery Group only affects users launching resources from that particular Delivery Group. The VDA registration always checks the site-level license file. Therefore, if the SaaS bit is not present in the site-level license file, the registration fails.

Citrix licensing issues and questions - Incorrect site-level license

Therefore, make sure to assign the correct site-wide license file as described here:

https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/2212/manage-deployment/licensing.html#change-the-product-edition-and-licensing-model

For the official communication from Citrix on the SaaS bit see the article below:

https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX270373/public-cloud-provisioning-for-onpremises-citrix-virtual-apps-and-desktops

I hope this article was able to answer some of your questions. Please leave a comment below if your issue was not solved or your question was not answered. I can then add it to this article.

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