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Citrix scales up NetScaler

Web application acceleration accelerated

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Interop 2008 Citrix is brushing the cobwebs off its NetScaler line today and introducing a new top-end to its web acceleration appliances.

That's right, it's the beginning of Interop in sunny Las Vegas. Time for sun, boozing, and plenty of gambling no sorry, we're at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center covering networking gear. Citrix here is one of the first major vendors at the show that's pitching its latest wares.

Citrix's new NetScaler MPX uses multi-core processors to boost throughput to a maximum of 15Gb/s — up 2.5x from the 6Gb/s with NetScaler 12000. Citrix claims its box is the first application delivery appliance to surpass 10Gb/s, and on paper, it clears the mark by a decent stretch.

Realistically though, once features such as application firewall, SSL encryption and content caching are switched on, you'd be seeing metrics closer to 10Gb/s. Networking doesn't happen in a vacuum.

Beyond speed improvements, it has a clever feature that works with Citrix Xenserver to automatically scale server resources depending on the network traffic demand. According to Greg Smith, product marketing director of NetScaler, the appliance monitors an application workload and decides in real time if the server resources can handle the load or not. If there's a surge of traffic and a some extra juice is needed, the MPX can actually power up an idle server and provision it.

MPX comes in two models, the 17000 and 15000, starting at $180,000 for a high availability pair. Both systems are based on the same new architecture, with the major difference between the two being chips and memory.

The MPX 15000 uses two dual-core processors and 16GB memory. MPX 17000 uses two quad-core processors and 32GB memory. Previous versions of NetScaler used one single- or dual-core processor. A more detailed run-down of the entire NetScaler line is available here. The appliance is available now. ®

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