New NetScaler appliances announced – Lets get ready to rumble!
The battle for ADC supremacy hot’s up this week with new NetScaler MPX & SDX platforms offering higher performance and greater value for the low to mid level markets. Time for the weigh in..
In the red corner, f5 sent out a challenge in Q3 to all vendors looking to muscle in on the Cisco ACE migration market with a shake up to their product line based on price and performance. In the blue corner, Citrix have come out fighting with a massive hike in value for the low to mid level hardware appliances offering more bang for you buck… seconds out, round one..
The entry level NetScaler 5550 appliance has been around since November 2012 and it retains a 500Mbps throughput, which is still a popular choice for those looking to replace an aging CAG for their XenApp or XenDesktop environment. The big news is the MPX 5650, which gets a whopping 5x increase in HTTP throughput from 1Gb to 5Gb to match the new entry level f5 Big IP. Compression and SSL processing performance also get boost to keep ahead of the increasing demands around performance and security. Feeling a budget pinch? All editions have had $2000 shaved of the SRP, ‘fighting talk’, where I come from!
Already got an MPX 5650 with a valid support agreement? Start thinking of what other services you can push through your appliance because your support agreement has just paid off! Upgrades are available now…
Round 2 sees the mid level 8000 series go through a similar transformation. The new MPX 8005 platform offers the same 5gb of HTTP throughput as the 5650 mentioned above but with over a 3.5x increase in the SSL transactions per second performance and (as there is plenty of number crunching power left in the tin) it’s a licence key upgrade to a 15Gb throughput 8015 – notice the new naming convention with the last two digits representing the throughput.
The 8015 supports MPX and SDX firmware, the latter of which welcomes a growing list of 3rd party workloads to consolidate the delivery mechanism and reduce the dependency on server teams for critical network infrastructure. The SDX 8015 price takes a dip from the previous high end 8000 series, a $10,000 dip to be accurate. In the North of England, this is right up there with ‘did you spill my pint?’ (forgive the colloquialism- more fighting talk!)
Ding ding – Round 3 and the new 11500 series upper mid level appliances get ready for a showdown… 5 MPX appliances and 5 SDX appliances all sharing the same hardware with the licence key determining the performance levels. The new range gets the new nomenclature starting with the 15Gb MPX 11515, through the MPX 11520 at 20Gb, MPX 11530 at 30Gb, MPX 11540 at 40Gb and the MPX 11542, which is on a par with the existing MPX 20500. A new port configuration to support 4x1Gb SFP + 8x10Gb SFP+ interfaces and a 2x increase in SSL performance without any obvious hardware difference suggests the encryption algorithm has had a makeover.
The new SDX 11515, SDX 11520, SDX 11530, SDX 11540 and SDX 11542 make it much easier to identify the performance over the previous offerings (I never can remember the throughput of an SDX 14500!). As before, up to 20 independent NetScaler instances can co-exist on the upper mid SDX platforms and the new VM series from Palo Alto adds to the list of those network essential 3rd party workloads that can run natively on the hardware. Open architecture is serious business for the networking vendors looking to bring Software Defined Networks to the mainstream.
The battle for ADC supremacy looks set to go the distance, no prizes for guessing who my money is on.
© Al Taylor
20th February 2014