From the ‘aaah now I get it‘ files:
I’ve spoken to many vendors over the last few years about
application and WAN acceleration. The
gist of the conversation is usually the same, ‘we can accelerate more than our
competitors and we’re better because…blah blah blah…’
So you can imagine my skepticism when I took a briefing
with Sanjay Uppal, Citrix VP of Marketing for the Advanced Networking Group
about their latest NetScaler device. I’ve written about NetScaler and its
counterpart WANscaler before (typically around Interop time, surprisingly
enough) so I’ve heard
their spiel (and I’ve heard their competitors trash talk it too).
This time out they’re announcing a new top end device –
the NetScaler MPX – which Citrix claims does 2.5 times the application delivery
traffic of the previous top-end Citrix device. Though speeds and feeds are a
core part of the network business, that’s not the part of the conversation that
really got me interested.
What really peaked my interest is how the NetScaler MPX
ties into Citrix’s XenSource virtualization technology assets to dynamically scale up or scale down
virtual servers on demand to meet network traffic demand.
“If there is a surge of traffic NetScaler informs
the XenServer which then provisions an additional server,” Uppal explained
to InternetNews.com. “This goes beyond load balancing
with a pool of servers, as this solution will actually power up a server that
So let’s step back here for a minute to understand the
significance of this technology integration.
In order to provide
network capacity, generations of network administrators have had to run
multiple servers and then put in a front end load balancer to distribute
traffic. What Citrix is now promoting is the idea that you can power up and
power down servers dynamically based on demand together with application
acceleration. The implications for power and overall utilization efficiency are
It also really makes a whole lot of sense for Citrix
(since they own XenSource) to fully leverage and integrate assets.
Is this a game
changer for application acceleration?
I think it could be, since a fundamental
part of acceleration is availability. It’s something that stands out amongst
all the similar commoditized messages and pitches that I’ve heard over the
I expect that it’s something that Citrix CEO Mark
Templeton will also highlight in his Interop keynote address this week.
Virtualization isn’t just about consolidation anymore it’s about efficiency