Amazing what you can do with 3½ inches these days. My index fingers are about 3½ inches and to put that into perspective I’ve just measured my iPhone and it’s 4½ inches – almost 30% larger. Why is this relevant? Because in rack terms, 3½ inches is 2U and that’s the size of the new NetScaler MPX 22000 series hardware, the new ultra high-end platform announced at Interop in Las Vegas this week.

As usual, the licence key applied to the chassis determines the capabilities with 5 models available for the NetScaler MPX 22000 chassis starting at the 40Gb throughput MPX 22040 and scaling (by licence key upgrade) right through to a massive 120Gb with the MPX 22120. Based on Dual Intel Xeon E5-2690 8 core processors, the ability to move this much traffic through a 2U appliance has got the expo floor buzzing and there’s another number in the headlines that catches my attention, the 256Gb memory but more on that later…

With up to 4.7 Million HTTP requests/sec and 560,000 2k SSL transactions/sec the capability far exceeds the ADC use cases for many organisations but if the demand is there, up to 32 appliances can be clustered together to provide a massive 3Tb+ of system throughput and don’t forget, there’s no loss of functionality as expected/tolerated with 3rd party vendor chassis/blade offerings. As usual, SSL encryption is provided by dedicated hardware on the tin which allows an impressive 75Gb of SSL throughput per node.

Yes, the SRP is significant but no one will ever buy one of these at list price. The discount structure offered by Citrix is based on the value of the products purchased so even buying one appliance will open up the ELA discount program to increase the appeal to those migrating from alternative vendors and (at the time of writing) Cisco ACE replacements still attract an additional 20% discount to ease the budget conversations.

The previous flagship NetScaler has a 96Gb memory that boasts impressive performance and the ability to run the hardware as an SDX appliance with up to 40 fully isolated ADC instances on a single platform, which is a real sweet spot for those who need to consolidate their delivery infrastructure for all the usual reasons. With almost 3 times the RAM, dual TB hard drives and a 600Gb SSD the new hardware has capability of supporting many more than 40 instances so I wonder if there will be an SDX 22000 series in the near future?  Could be a game changer…. Flip that round to using the RAM to either statically or dynamically cache content and there’s the possibility of significant server workload reduction with the associated cost and management savings…I can see an ROI conversation stacking up nicely!

Clearly, the MPX 22000 series is too big to appeal to the vast majority of organisations but few can argue that it’s an extraordinary feat of engineering. I hear a whisper from the Interop Expo floor that a very large .com has already signed on the line to replace another vendor ADC solution with these new platforms, I couldn’t possibly say who they are – especially in 140 characters or less but if you need to move big/huge volumes of data, Citrix have just made your life a whole lot easier.

Never before has 3½ inches been so impressive – Al

© Al Taylor 8th May 2013