Citrix Extends NetScaler Application Switch Line


The NetScaler 12000, priced at $71,000 and officially introduced Monday, accelerates application delivery and will be available at the end of May though Citrix's authorized channel, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. company said.

The NetScaler 12000 application switch includes a dual processor, dual SSL encryption chips and four gigabytes of memory.

The 12000 offers as much as 275,000 HTTP transactions per second. Faster performance is required because of increasing user volumes, increasing use of dynamic content such as AJAX and XML, increasing security threats and more secure transactions requiring encryption, Citrix said.

The high-end offering augments Citrix's existing line of NetScaler appliances including the NetScaler 7000, NetScaler 9000 and NetScaler 10000.

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The 7000 device -- also called NetScaler Application Switch Standard edition -- is aimed at small to medium sized enterprises and was introduced to 5,000 Citrix channel partners at Citrix iForum last October.

The 9000 appliance is aimed at large enterprises with low volume applications, while the NetScaler 10000 and 12000 appliances are aimed at Web-centric sites such as Google and eBay and large enterprises with high volume of applications.

Citrix completed its $300 million acquisition of NetScaler last August but only launched its NetScaler product line to the broader channel at its partner summit in January, said Greg Smith, director of product marketing at Citrix's Application Networking Group.

Smith said that the number of Citrix partners in the NetScaler organization has doubled since the acquisiton and that there are now some 200 channel partners and distributors authorized to sell NetScaler products.

Citrix's NetScaler competes with F5, Cisco, Juniper, Radware, Nortel and Foundry and counts Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JC Penney and United Airlines among its NetScaler customers.

One Citrix partner that serves the midmarket said the NetScaler application delivery controller (ADC) appeals to both enterprises and midsized businesses.

"We see a few places where we could slot it in with our largest customers that have a need for the traffic it can handle -- they all have significant externally facing web presences," said Marc Mangus, vice president of practice development for MTM Technologies, Houston. "We see much more demand for the small boxes and have seen uptake even in those in accounts with only internal web applications they need optimized."

According to Gartner Group, F5 now leads the application delivery controller (ADC) market with more than 30 percent market share, slightly overtaking Cisco last year. Cisco now holds 29 percent share. ADC vendors generated more than $1 billion in revenues in 2005, Gartner said.

In the advanced platform ADC space, F5 leads with 58 percent share, followed by Radware at 15 percent share and Citrix at third with 12 percent share, Gartner said.

Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa said there are opportunities for partners to target the Citrix appliance at large web site operators and customers that want to consolidate ADCs such as Cisco's older CSM product.

"The high-end platform is an opportunity for higher end channels that serve clients with larger, more demanding web sites," said Skorupa. " It's also an opportunity for channels that push infrastructure simplification. It may allow midtier customers to condense four or five older ADCs into a pair on a new platform."

Another analyst claimed Cisco remains the market leader but acknowledges that Citrix is a player.

"With this platform Citrix is able to offer a high-end solution that scales up to the largest enterprise accounts," said IDC's Cindy Borovick.

Cisco introduced a new Application Control Engine on April 10 but it will take some time before that device catches up to F5 and Citrix, Gartner maintains.