Citrix Summit Up – To infinite clouds and beyond

To be honest, Anaheim is a slightly surreal place. Home to Disney’s parks on the west coast, it’s packed with hyperactive kids, references to Buzz Lightyear, fully grown adults with Micky Mouse ears and folks who cut the grass with scissors. Yes, scissors. (in between the torrential downpours).

This year, Anaheim played host to Citrix Summit, the annual partner kick off event and cloudDNA were there and got the t-shirt. 3 t-shirts in fact. NetScaler ones 😀. There’s some great blogs coming out from attendees about the wider Citrix portfolio, cloudy offerings (maybe that’s where all the rain came from) and the Microsoft love affair but as I Love NetScaler, here’s my pick of the hottest NetScaler news, NDAs permitting.

NetScaler Management and Analytics System (N-MAS)

I’m going to start here because I genuinely believe that deploying N-MAS is the single best decision you can make in your quest for service delivery perfection. Download it today, for free, plumb in your NetScaler ADC and SD-WAN appliances and behold the future. The next release was previewed during the tech keynote but there is soooo much more to come. I was invited to the Partner Technical Expert Council (PTEC) on the weekend before Summit and I’ve seen the roadmap. It’s big, innovative and will solve problems that you haven’t even thought about yet. Download N-MAS. Do it today and you can thank me later.

New ADC hardware

While not technically announced at summit, the new NetScaler  25200 Platform was a talking point. 2 rack units, 200Gbps of HTTP throughput, 115 instances on the SDX and potential to run a 32 node cluster delivering well over 6Tbps t/p for massive scalability. New entry level appliances are on the horizon (weeks away) with more throughput, way more scale steps, more SSL capability and a little addition to the entry level device that will increase reliability. I’m not going to tell you anymore in case I get my wrists slapped by Marissa but this picture might give you a hint as to what they are going to be called.

The challenge with encryption overhead

Encrypting traffic is resource intensive on ADC’s. That’s why the hardware platforms have dedicated chips to perform the function. Those lovely people at Google are now improving SEO rankings for websites that are secure, so more web services are becoming encrypted. HTTP 2.0 adoption (which needs to be encrypted for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, IE & Edge), the Snowden effect, mobility and machine to machine transactions. It’s all driving more encryption, it’s hammering ADC resources and it’s slowing down the user experience. Wouldn’t it be good if an innovative ADC vendor came up with a new way of optimising SSL performance that could give users a better service level and maybe increase appliance SSL performance by, I don’t know, something like 600%. Yeah, that’d be really good wouldn’t it? (NDA) 

Managing ADC licences

Individual appliances with fixed capacity licences can be time consuming, complex and cumbersome to manage. There’s a really simple solution on the horizon which is going to make life a whole lot easier and make it super simple to react to the demands of scale. I like this. A lot.

NetScaler SD-WAN

And so to NetScaler SD-WAN, the Cinderella of the NetScaler family. Finally getting the recognition it deserves from the Citrix community. The breakout sessions were packed, the tech keynote (yes, the one where a new SD-WAN appliance was delivered by drone for a live demo of zero touch deployment) and the conference floor in general was all buzzing about the 9.2 release. 

There’s stacks to talk about so I’m going to scribble down a separate blog post about the new features (within the boundaries of the NDA). For now though, I’m surprised that the product team have decided to add this much functionality without charging for it. Better visibility, more advanced networking capabilities, better security. It’s all there.

I had lunch with the legendary Barney ‘Right on’ Norton on Tuesday and he shared a little insider info that wasn’t even discussed at PTEC. This is the year my friends, that NetScaler SD-WAN is going to the ball, the only thing I’m not sure about is which one of us in the photo taken at 1am on Friday morning is Prince Charming.

L to R: Marco Murgia (NetScaler SD-WAN Chief Architect), NetScaler Taylor (me), Chalan Aras (VP/GM NetScaler SD-WAN), Barney Norton (Principle Technical Marketing Engineer NetScaler SD-WAN)    

Want to know more? I’ll be hosting a cloudDNA Essential Guide webinar covering all of the above and more from the conference floor on Friday Jan 20th at 11am UK

Register here

I’m always a bit sad to take off my lanyard at the end of Summit but looking back at the photos, it’s amazing to see just how much Citrix managed to squeeze in to a few days. It’s also great to catch up with old friends and make lots of new ones. I’ve got to share one last pic with you though, taken from Florin Lazurca’s NetScaler DDoS protection tech session on Tuesday. If you ever want to get your own back on speed cameras, get some licence plates like these…

© NetScaler Taylor 

12th January 2017