March 14, 2017

An Exploration of Citrix Delivery Networks

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Danny Phillips
Danny Phillips of Citrix discusses NetScaler, an Application Delivery Controller, which is basically a load balancer with some extra features at LinuxCon Europe.

While many of us may be more familiar with the virtualization and remote access products from Citrix, Danny Phillips was talking about their products in the networking space during his keynote presentation at LinuxCon Europe.

In particular, he was focused mostly on NetScaler, which is what they refer as an Application Delivery Controller (ADC), which is basically a load balancer with a few extra features. NetScaler provides availability, increased performance, offloaded processing, and security mainly for web services and web applications. Phillips says, “we believe that networking is done better in software,” which he sees as one of the things that has allowed them to create a flexible platform.

Phillips talks about the “power of any,” which is the idea that you should be able to mix and match or easily switch between form factors, hypervisors, cloud platforms, orchestration systems, and architectures. Citrix helps make this easier by providing a single API, a single code base, a single feature set, and a single management infrastructure to go across all  form factors, hypervisors, cloud platforms, orchestration systems, and architectures.

Like most components of the technology stack, the rapid uptake in the use of containers is impacting how we use load balancing technologies. Phillips says, “Do you really want to come all the way out of your container infrastructure to hit a load balancer to go all the way back in? What we really need is something small that lives inside that architecture, inside those container hosts. … This is NetScaler CPX.” However, you could easily end up with thousands of tiny micro-load balancers scattered throughout your environment, which he refers to as the problem of “lots of little,” and it requires some additional management to keep everything in sync and working together, which Citrix does with NetScaler MAS.

Phillips sums it up by pointing out that “NetScaler is a lot more than a load balancer, we have it in a number of different formats, so it can be consumed pretty much anywhere. Also we think we're well positioned to help you in this new container environment.”

Watch the full video of the keynote below to learn more about Citrix Delivery Networks.

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