Citrix updates NetScaler

Citrix updates NetScaler

The latest version of the Citrix NetScaler MPX line of Web application delivery systems includes massively parallel multi-core system architecture that the vendor promises will “significantly increases data center capacity and deliver 2.5 times more applications with the same infrastructure footprint” — while also reducing power.The most high profile examples of users of web application delivery systems are companies like Yahoo, Google, MSN and Amazon where customers are searching information, requesting it or making purchases, explained Sanjay Uppal, vice president of product management for Citrix’s Application Networking Group.

“It is like having an accelerator in your car. You know if you have one Web application or several and you want to move them out without spending a lot of money and data center power capacity,” he stated.

The new product relieves “key customer pain points” in large data centers that include “the challenge of reducing power consumption while managing traffic loads that are beginning to cross the 10Gbps threshold,” stated Cindy Borovick, research vice president for IDC’s Datacenter Networks service.

Citrix is targeting companies that are handling more and more Web applications in terms of rich media capabilities, SOA and interactive Web 2.0 but which are still maintaining aging load balancers and data centers that cannot handle the strain.

One feature of NetScaler is the sensing of changes in application demand and the automatic invoking of the required application and server resources to meet the workloads.

The new NetScaler MPX focuses as much on energy conservation as it does on performance and scaling, commented Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

“It appears to showcase most of the practical advantages of virtualization for web hosted applications. Given the huge focus to get as many things in the ‘cloud’ as possible this should be well received,” he said.

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, noted that Citrix NetScaler is designed to address “a common datacenter problem.”

“How to increase or enhance application performance without expanding physical servers or systems? What is also interesting is that while many seemed confused at Citrix’s acquisition of XenSource, NetScaler offers firm evidence of one way that Citrix can leverage XenSource virtualization technology to its own commercial benefit.”

Citrix, which purchased about three years both the company NetScaler and product by the same name, is facing the three major players in the high end enterprise level Web application space, commented William Terrill, an associate research analyst at the Info-Tech Research Group.

He listed the major competitors as Cisco, Foundry and F5 and the market as large enterprises that conduct transactions and communication back and forth with their customers on the Web.

“NetScaler has got a lot of features and functions and quite honestly if you take a look at some of the competitors they are virtually identical.”

Citrix competes with the other vendors on the basis of performance and throughput which is the sole distinguishing characteristic among all of them, stated Terrill.

One feature in NetScaler that stands out, Terrill noted is the consolidation of the TCIP connections between the Web application and the individual servers.

“That is very CPU intensive, especially with increased communication. [NetScaler] offloads from the Web server into these front end application appliances. It relieves some of that pressure.”

Citrix with its integrated product portfolio that includes application delivery, thin client infrastructure and XenSource based virtualization is targeting both its install base as well as new customers, observed Terrill.

“What they are trying to do is broaden their base of solutions. This is one that they can tie in with their Citrix environment because a lot of Citrix infrastructure is aimed at virtualizing the desktops, Web applications and Web access to desktops.”

The Citrix NetScale MPX series are available through authorized Citrix NetScaler resellers at a starting price of $180,000.

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