Citrix Banks On NetScaler Buy

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.

The Nitty-Gritty On NetScaler>> Price tag: $300M
>> 2004 revenue: $25M
>> Founded: 1998
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>> Employees: 200
>> Enterprise customers: 500
>> Channel partners: 100

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.

Following the acquisition, slated to close next 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 products. "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 Citrix partner in Boulder, Colo.

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

With tuning, NetScaler appliances can bring up to 10 times improvement in performance for Web applications, representing a major professional services opportunity for VARs, Brown said. The appliances also enable customers to "do more with what you've got or do the same with less," he said.

Citrix plans to create a product-specific training and certification program for solution providers that want to sell NetScaler products.

PAULA ROONEY contributed to this story.