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Citrix sprinkles apps magic on SQL, NoSQL data

Native data performance boost

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Native support for SQL and NoSQL has been added to Citrix Systems' NetScaler, which until now had specialized in high-availability only for applications.

The company is today expected to announce its NetScaler appliance will now work with SQL and NoSQL, bringing secure, face and reliable access to the data layer of an app.

The change means NetScaler works with Microsoft's SQL Server, MySQL and NoSQL data stores and Yahoo!'s number-crunching platform Hadoop and Google's MapReduce, Citrix said.

Citrix said you'll be able to configure your data architecture via the NetScaler console without having to hard code things like failover and clustering into the application itself.

Under the covers, NetScaler will take care of things like telling the servers how to cluster and serve up data, while also applying security policies for the data. You will, for example, be able to use console to set up database staples such as sharding.

Cirtix, meanwhile, has said it is giving you all this for free - as part of NetScaler.

Sunil Potti, vice president product management and marketing for Citrix Networking and Cloud division, reckoned that ultimately Citrix thinks such functionality will become a regular feature in such appliances over time, and that Citrix wants to sell more NetScaler systems.

"We want this to be rapidly deployed as a function and to make sure as an end result people will buy a lot more boxes. We don't want to charge this as an additional function," Potti told The Reg.

NetScaler is both a network device and a virtual appliance that the company claims can make applications run five times better through L4-7 load balancing and traffic management. The idea is that not only can NetScaler speed access to the data, but that you can avoid building in performance bottlenecks like connection limits on a database server that often means adding more servers to circumvent.

Citrix bought NetScaler in 2005 for $325m, around the same time as Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems were making similar deals for Redline Networks, Peribit and Fineground Networks. They wanted to build in the ability for apps run smoothly on their networks, avoiding bottlenecks that could cause them to slow down to a crawl as more users thrashed them or as the applications were rolled out over more servers.

NetScaler's customers included MySpace, Friendster and Zappos.

NetScaler sits in front of the web server to mange and balance the traffic. With the addition of SQL and NoSQL, NetScaler will now sit in front of relational and non relational data stores and clusters such as Hadoop and architectures like MapReduce and serve up photos, Tweets, status updates, e-transactions, or enterprise sales reports.

Citrix said users of structured and unstructured data are both experiencing problems: the former want the scale of the unstructured world while the latter want the guarantees of enterprise computing, such as reliability and security of data with the ability to query data. ®

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