Update: NetScaler Buy Boosts Citrix's App Delivery Play

NetScaler, San Jose, Calif., builds appliances that combine features such as load balancing, caching, compression, SSL acceleration, SSL VPN and denial-of-service protection to help speed application performance.

Cisco Systems two weeks ago unveiled plans to buy FineGround, while Juniper Networks last month completed its Redline Networks buy and is in the midst of acquiring Peribit Networks.

For Citrix, the move continues a strategy begun three years ago to position itself as a vendor of access infrastructure.

"The acquisition brings us new competencies and expertise in an area that's critical,"said Mark Templeton, president and CEO of Citrix, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., during a conference call. Following the acquisition, slated to close in the third quarter, NetScaler will operate as the Application Networking Group within Citrix. NetScaler President and CEO B.V. Jagadeesh will serve as group vice president and general manager, reporting to Templeton.

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Solution providers said the acquisition will aid in the delivery of Citrix solutions. "If your total thrust as a company is to provide access, then having a product that can speed up the access over the Internet and/or protect incoming data is of great value," said Lesley Taufer, president and CEO of Boulder Corp., a Boulder, Colo.-based Citrix solution provider.

"Citrix Presentation server can certainly speed up both Webified and non-Webified applications by virtue of its technology, but sometimes over the Web, other things will interfere with the delivery. These new tools help eliminate those interfering issues in addition to really speeding them up," Taufer said.

Out of the box, NetScaler's technology can deliver two to three times the performance of Citrix-delivered client/server applications and can boost Web-based application performance by three to five times, said Ross Brown, vice president of worldwide channels and operations at Citrix, in an interview with CRN.

With tuning, NetScaler appliances can bring up to 10 times improvement in performance for Web applications, representing a major professional services opportunity for solution providers, Brown said.

The appliances also enable customers to "do more with what you've got or do the same with less," a server consolidation story partners can tap to tout the cost-savings benefits NetScaler can add to Citrix deployments, Brown said.

"Instead of the typical 80 to 120 users on the Citrix Presentation Server hardware environment, [you're] able to ramp that up to 200," Brown said.

With the acquisition, Citrix will add NetScaler's approximately 100 channel partners to its own cadre of 5,000 worldwide partners. Citrix plans to create a product-specific training and certification program for solution providers that want to sell the NetScaler products.

This story was updated Friday morning with additional detail on NetScaler appliances and the merged company's channel plans.

PAULA ROONEY contributed to this story.