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NetScalar Intros New Appliances

Citrix Systems has announced the release of two new additions to the NetScalar MPX family. The new devices, the NetScaler MPX 10500 and NetScaler MPX 12500, have been designed to bring many of the capabilities and performance features of NetScalar's largest systems into the mid-range enterprise space. Citrix NetScaler MPX 10500 and MPX 12500 appliances are available now through Citrix Solution Advisors. Pricing begins at $42,000.

The new NetScaler MPX products feature performance between 5 and 8 Gbps HTTP with support for all normal NetScaler features. Features supported include Layers 4-7 load balancing, application acceleration, server offload, application firewall security and more. The NetScaler MPX architecture is a "green" entry in the network infrastructure market: Citrix claims that the MPX drives the lowest power consumption in its class: nearly 50 percent more efficient than competitive offerings.

The new NetScaler MPX appliances can also be deployed alongside NetScaler VPX virtual appliances, enabling next-generation datacenter architectures that marry the performance of hardware appliances with the agility and flexibility of software-based virtual appliances. The NetScaler MPX architecture is based on a chassis containing multi-core Intel processors. The platform runs NetScaler nCore technology to process multiple operations on each application workload in parallel at multi-gigabit speeds. In the new appliances, Citrix has brought together functions that have traditionally been available through discrete solutions or in security-oriented appliances such as UTMs, including SSL VPNs and application firewalls. NetScaler MPX is intended to allow enterprises to reduce the number of disparate devices in their infrastructure.

With the new product introductions, several themes seen in infrastructure development are coming together. In particular, the MPXs are intended to allow a variety of different operations to take place on a given data stream at once, with little or no drop-off in performance until the box is at or near its bandwidth limits. Those multiple functions are coming together in greater aggregation, reversing a long trend toward "best in breed" performance in separate boxes being the generally-accepted route to networking excellence.

The single point of failure represented by a multi-function appliance like the new NetScalars is often perceived as a drawback, though that drawback is increasingly outweighed by the single point-of-contact for product support that the aggregated functions represent. In the case of the new NetScalar appliances, bundling traditional security functions (such as VPN and firewall) in with traditional infrastructure functions (such as load balancing and link failover) marks a distinct broadening of definitions, as well as a new set of considerations which face the customer.