Citrix Buffs Up For Web 2.0

Software maker releases new NetScaler and desktop virtualization products to prepare for mashups and wikis.
Citrix Systems (Quote) upgraded its application delivery software today and entered the market for desktop virtualization software.

NetScaler is Citrix's network management suite, providing high-speed load balancing and content switching along with traffic management, data compression, content caching and security features.

The product, acquired in Citrix's purchase of NetScaler nearly two years ago, is positioned in front of application servers to improve performance, availability and security for application servers.

With a jazzed-up GUI, better management and tighter application security, Citrix NetScaler 8.0 is designed to handle the high volume and sometimes complex demand of Web 2.0, including enterprise mashups and service-oriented architectures (SOA) (define).

This is important because, as Morgan Gerhart, senior product manager for Citrix's application networking group, said, Citrix has significant penetration into Web-based companies, including Google (Quote), eBay (Quote), Amazon (Quote)and AOL.

"Most of these organizations are all over Web 2.0, so we have very detailed insight into how those types of applications behave and the impacts they're going to have on the underlying network infrastructure and what's going to be necessary to deliver those applications going forward," Gerhart said.

Some of those requirements, he continued, include performance monitoring, Web application firewalls and a SSL VPN, which are all new in NetScaler 8.0.

Citrix inherited the monitoring technology, Citrix EdgeSight for NetScaler, when it purchased Reflectent last year. This software helps administrators watch specific Web pages and individual application transactions executed by end users.

Citrix EdgeSight for NetScaler will be available in the Citrix NetScaler Platinum Edition, which will ship in the second quarter.

Available as an appliance or as a software add-on module, Citrix Application Firewall wards off application threats that circumvent traditional security measures. It also eliminates the need to deploy separate devices to secure applications.

The SSL VPN, billed as the Citrix Access Gateway Enterprise Edition, is also available as a device or as an optional NetScaler module. The software includes Citrix's SmartAccess technology for controlling end users' print, save and edit requests.

Gerhart also said NetScaler 8.0 is fitted with a new AppExpert Policy Framework, which lets admins control application and user policies. NetScaler 8.0 is available now starting at $17,500 through NetScaler resellers.

Citrix today also joined the growing desktop virtualization fray with Citrix Desktop Server 1.0, groomed from the company's December 2006 acquisition of Ardence.

Mick Hollison, product line manager for Citrix's virtualization systems group, said Desktop Server pipes Windows sessions from the datacenter to desktops, laptops or handheld PCs.

Desktop Server will allow users to tap into their corporate Windows environments from any machine. For example, workers using Desktop Server may access all of their work sessions from a home PC, an important perk as office workers who occasionally work from home, or even do so full time.

The goal of this product is to create user and economic efficiencies as alternatives to traditional enterprise desktops, which Gartner claims may cost $5,000 per user per year to manage.

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