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Running a DOS archaic program on a Citrix XenApp 6.5 Server

Posted on 2013-01-16
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Hello.  I currently have a XenApp 6.5 server farm (which replaced Citrix Metaframe XP)  consisting of 4 VM's (1 license server, 1 web server and 2 XenApp 6.5 Servers) that sit on XenServer 6.1.  In moving my users over, I have run across a legacy application that is used to modify a file so that it will function on a piece of equipment that is running Windows 3.1 (Yes - it pains me to say that, but there is not way to upgrade this) and the program therefore is DOS based.

What is the recommended way to put this in my environment?  I've been seeing suggestion of VMWare or DosBox, but since this is already a Citrix and virtualized environment, I am hesitant to add another layer.

Does it make sense to kick up another VM running XenApp, but an older version to be able to use this legacy app?  Or is there a way to segregate it to run as a silo within XenApp?

Any suggestions are greatly welcomed as I really need to get the users off the Citrix Metaframe XP envrionment sometime in the near future.
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Question by:jnordeng
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by:Paul Solovyovsky
ID: 38785115
You may need to standup an windows 2003 citrix server, there's a better chance of it working versus 64 bit 2008 r2
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by:Steve Knight
ID: 38786235
While you say it isn't possible to update this application, what does it actually do, you say modify a file?  I don't suppose you have the source code for it, but may well be possible / better to identify what it does through examining before and after files, for instance, and write a new app or script to do the same?
Interested in other people's answers on what works with XenApp for myself as haven't needed to yet.... but who knows when we will.  I would have thought Dosbox would work though, or as you say just run up a VM for an OS that does work and have them use that, e.g. RDP'd into an XP VM
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by:jnordeng
ID: 38787574
The application that I need to reside on the Citrix server is Design84.exe which is associated with the Dos Program LP8400 that sits on the 3.1 machine and is attached to a Promac piece of equipment.  So, my mac user logs into the Citrix Server (Metaframe XP sitting on Windows 2000), executes this Design84.exe program to modify the file/setting up layouts so that the 3.1 computer can translate and print on the Promac.

As far as the solution, be interested if there are other ideas, though, sounds like based on what you both are saying most likely setup another VM.  I believe that XenApp 6.5 only runs on Windows 2008 R2 64-bit, so if I need an archaic app, I'd have to RDP in to execute.  Correct?

Thanks
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joharder earned 2000 total points
ID: 38794347
That application won't run on the x64 OS.

However, if it can run on Windows XP, you can run it as a VM Hosted App, which is licensed as part of XenApp.  Essentially, it's a XenDesktop setup for a single application.  From a user's perspective, it appears as a regular published application.

Another option is to configure the app as a batch file that actually redirects to the 3.1 machine.  We use this sometimes for one-off apps.  If it is heavily accessed, this option may not work well for you.
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Author Comment

by:jnordeng
ID: 38794399
Great, thanks.  I'll have to try running it on XP.  I'll dig more into the VM Hosted App as I haven't really done that before.  Very nice it's included in the licensing.  I'd hate to have to spend money on this little app, though it is required.
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Author Closing Comment

by:jnordeng
ID: 38803146
I was able to install on XP, so will look into doing the VM Hosted App which you referenced.  Thanks for the help.  Onward to that next step :)
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