Web Acceleration Titans Akamai, Citrix Link Up
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In one corner of the Internet traffic delivery world is Akamai, with its own network for in-the-cloud traffic acceleration. In the other corner is Citrix, with its NetScaler hardware for accelerating traffic. Until this week, while many enterprises used both network acceleration titans in tandem, there had no formal relationship between the two.
That now changes with the news that Akamai and Citrix have formally become partners in a dramatic move to tap into each other's technologies to further accelerate application traffic.
The move could have widespread competitive implications in the hotly contested acceleration market, where vendors including Cisco, Riverbed and Blue Coat Systems are vying for share.
"This is a recognition both by customers as well as two industry leaders that in order to solve application delivery scenarios truly end-to-end, there are certain optimizations that are best in the cloud and others that are best in the datacenter," Neil Cohen, senior manager for Akamai application acceleration, told InternetNews.com.
"The idea is that customers can now get better performance, availability, scale and security for their application then either service could provide on it own," he said.
It's not immediately how much users may expect to gain in speed from the partnership. Citrix and Akamai plan to issue an upcoming benchmarking report detailing the benefits.
As part of the companies' agreement, they'll establish a partner assistance program designed to make it easier for integrators and resellers to offer bundled solutions. There will also be an online community built around sharing the best practices of enabling Citrix hardware with Akamai's network.
At least initially, however, Akamai will not be reselling Citrix hardware and Citrix will not be directly reselling Akamai's network, Cohen said.
Though both have been selling their respective solutions individually for years, the reason for partnering now has a lot to with market maturity, they said.
"Increasingly, application delivery is looked at as a vital function for the business," said Greg Smith, product marketing director in Citrix's Application Network group.
That wasn't necessarily the case a few years ago, Smith told InternetNews.com, with different teams within an enterprise handling network and application needs.
Handing off traffic
While the two companies' partnership is being formally announced this week, Cohen said Citrix and Akamai have been working together for the past six months to make their technologies work well together.
During the testing period, part of the work involved identifying how to seamlessly hand off packets from NetScaler to the Akamai service.