Unifying the management of the ADCs and allowing them to scale to new capacity levels also gives NetScaler insight into the applications it's controlling. With this view into the application operations, NetScaler provides monitoring and analytics functions through an ActionAnalytics feature. Enterprises can monitor and control end user behavior, such as monitoring top URLs on a site, to providing metrics about the top application resources and which IP addresses are accessing them. NetScaler allows enterprises to throttle certain customers, for example, if they are taking up a disproportionate amount of bandwidth.
Citrix sells the software starting at $2,000.
Joe Skorupa, a VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner who covers data center convergence, says the ADC market is a "vibrantly competitive space," which he says is slightly surprising given that the technology has been around for more than a decade. The biggest player in the market is F5, which has about 50 percent market share, he says. Citrix is one of a variety of competing models, along with Radware, A10 Networks and to a smaller extent Riverbed. The NetScaler announcement, Skorupa says, is "innovative in features and aggressive in pricing."
Scalable capacity of ADCs is not necessarily a brand-new feature, though. Radware and previous Citrix releases have allowed for multiple virtual machines to run the ADC at once and scale up on an as-needed basis. But, Skorupa says the combination of all the feature sets by Citrix in one package is innovative. Plus, he says, it creates a contrast with F5, which has not offered scalable capacity, and instead allows customers to scale up their modular chassis by buying additional hardware and cluster that into the ADC. He expects service providers and large enterprises to be most interested in the advancements offered by NetScaler.
"This announcement should get a lot of folks interested in looking at the different methods by providers," he says. Some customers like hardware-based chassis, which give them control over the ADC. Others prefer a software-licensed model, like what NetScaler is, which provides additional capacity on demand. Overall, Skorupa expects innovations to continue in the space. When one provider offers a new set of features, it leapfrogs ahead and many times those are then incorporated by other providers.
Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social media. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.