Citrix has announced CPX, a NetScaler application delivery controller that runs in a container. The goal is to provide an operations-sanctioned load balancer/ADC that’s easy to consume for developers building container-based applications.
Open-source load balancers—particularly HAProxy, which is bundled with a variety of Linux distributions—are being widely embraced by developers. By containerizing its ADC, Citrix can tout a more extensive range of features that include load balancing as well as an application firewall and SSL offloading.
And if you’re already a NetScaler shop, CPX can be managed from the same interface as its hardware and virtual machine options, and provide application performance details and other data for operations and troubleshooting.
“That’s why people are going to pay for CPX,” said Nand Mulchandani, Citrix’s VP of Market Development for the Networking group.
However, software ADCs are likely to siphon money away from hardware sales over the long term, which Mulchandani acknowledges.
“Software is eating the world, and we believe it,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean hardware will vanish. “CPX and VPX [which runs NetScaler in a VM] are the future, but over the next five to ten years there’ll be big iron being bought.”
Work In Progress
CPX is currently available as a tech preview, and there are still details to be ironed out, particularly around licensing. Citrix hasn’t finalized a licensing scheme yet, but it’s likely to be based around resource consumption and capacity.
Citrix also has a roadmap to break out the individual capabilities of NetScaler, such as application firewalling, to run as standalone modules. This makes good sense, as customers may balk at cost of spinning up lots of full-featured ADC containers when they only need one or two functions for specific workloads.
The CPX tech preview runs through the first quarter of 2016, with a production launch anticipated for the second quarter.
Unfortunately, Citrix hasn’t made a link available to download the software. If you want to get your hands on CPX, you have to contact a Citrix sales rep or partner.