Citrix launch entry level NetScaler SDX 8400 & SDX 8600 – should you buy one?

Citrix NetScaler SDX 8400 SDX8600

The wraps are off the latest addition to the NetScaler SDX range with two new appliances for the entry level markets.

Based on the MPX 8000 series hardware, the new SDX 8400 offers 4Gb of throughput which can be upgraded to the larger SDX 8600 for 6Gb of traffic management via licence key. Each 8000 series SDX features virtual architecture in a high performance hardware chassis which ships with entitlement to run 2 independent machines known as instances. Up to 3 more instances can be added to provide the maximum total of 5 supported by the hardware. Each instance can be tuned to suit the requirement with both functionality and capacity configured to ensure SLAs don’t slip at peak usage times.

Those familiar with the current SDX offering will note at this point that additional instances have historically been licensed in packs of 5 so there’s a new SDX instance 3 pack also available from today which can be deployed on any of the SDX range. And remember, upgrades for capacity and instance density only require a licence key rather than additional blades in a chassis as preferred by a number of other vendors so SDX offers a very flexible solution to a common problem.

So the obvious question is who’s going to buy one of these new appliances?

As more content needs to be delivered to a seemingly endless range of end points, thousands of organisations have deployed multiple Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs), each one tuned to look after the requirements of a specific application or service. Consolidating multiple ADCs in to a single SDX appliance reduces the rack space required with commercial benefits around power and cooling along with additional reduction in management overheads. It’s back to the obvious statement of doing more with less.

As these next generation NetScaler appliances mature, we’re finding the ability to host more functionality directly on the appliance allows further efficiency and service performance. These functionalities are moving beyond the traditional ADC feature set to not only provide support for enterprise/web apps but also mobile device and app management, cloud orchestration and support for like minded vendor technologies form the likes of Palo Alto, WebSense and one to watch, BlueCat Networks – who knows, we might even see a bit of Cisco technology running on a Citrix chassis one day. It’s where the ‘Next generation networks powered by Citrix NetScaler’ statement starts to become reality as more organisations move towards Software Defined Networks.

Should you buy one?

The typical IT industry response applies – it depends. If you need 2 instances then the new SDX appliances offer a very cost effective solution but if you are considering loading an SDX 8600 with a full 5 instances then take a very long hard look at the SDX 11500 before making a decision… more potential growth for not much more money.

As usual, email if you need guidance or pricing –

© Al Taylor 28th February 2013


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About netscalertaylor

Co-founder at cloudDNA - a team of like minded Citrix NetScaler specilists

2 responses to “Citrix launch entry level NetScaler SDX 8400 & SDX 8600 – should you buy one?”

  1. Peter says :

    Good article, but also makes me wonder. Adding additional functionality and performance is done by a licence key and nothing more. However a key does not add performance, it is only a license key. So in fact this means that the unit you buy has all performance and functionality on board but due to marketing and pricing some has been locked with a key which can be undone if you pay more…You are not adding performance, but you are paying to have limitation removed…. Looks like penny wise pound foolish…

    • netscalertaylor says :

      Hello Peter, thanks for the comment.

      You highlight a point often raised in conversation and it’s a great discussion piece which could go on (and on!)…I tend to look at it from a manufacturing development basis. Each physical appliance has a development cost so if a vendor offers separate physical appliances for 2,4 and 6Gb throughputs, that’s 3x appliance design, test, dev, document, achieve compliancy, launch to market etc costs – this can be in the hundreds of thousands of Dollars per box. If the vendor designs a 6Gb throughput appliance and throttles performance by licence key to 2 or 4Gb then the hardware total development costs to cover the 2, 4 and 6Gb markets are reduced by 66% (1 box instead of 3) which in turn reduces the production cost. It also means that from a global delivery perspective, Citrix (in this case) only have to ship and stock a single physical appliance in their distribution hubs, reducing delivery lead time and further cost which allows them to offer competitive price points against key competitor offerings for the throughput/features licensed.
      Ultimately, the difference in the cost of the ‘electronic’ components is only a small part of the delivery ticket price. The software development covers a significant proportion of the overall product development (it literally NEVER stops) so this is where the bulk of the value lies to many NetScaler users and why virtual appliances throughputs carry a varying SRP. It always comes down to the same question throughout the whole industry and that’s if the features (and in this case the scalability) offer value for your needs – what would the alternative cost?


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