Load balancers (or application delivery controllers, if you prefer) have been a topic that come up from time to time on Packet Pushers. We know you have an interest, as our recent “Show 226 – What Is A Load Balancer, Anyway?” podcast has been one of the most popular of 2015. In today’s sponsored show, members of the Citrix NetScaler team join hosts Ethan Banks and Greg Ferro in an introductory discussion of the NetScaler load balancer family.
What We Discuss
In this conversation, Bino Gopal and Graham Melville of Citrix talk about the interesting bits of NetScaler that set the platform apart from the rest of the market.
- Citrix has a philosophy of “software first.” That might sound odd if you’re a hardware person who loves ASICs and so on, but the point here is that software that can run anywhere you need it is key. As the world heads towards NFV running on commodity hardware, this is an interesting point in favor of NetScaler. If you’re concerned about performance, listen to discover why NetScaler performs very well on x86.
- The NetScaler platform is built to scale linearly. The idea of linear scaling is important, in that it means adding more computing power results while adding an equivalent amount of platform performance. One example given in the show is that if, say, one core supports 5M connections, then 8 cores would support 40M connections. Not all platforms are built like this, and this is not just simple multi-threading. Citrix gets into the nerdy weeds on this topic, which I personally found fascinating.
- Clustering NetScaler boxes works the way you want all clustering to work. All state is mirrored across the cluster, and you can insert and remove cluster members on the fly. Clustering also works with the Citrix scaling philosophy — more cluster members results in linear scaling.
- Citrix NetScaler has a close tie-in to Cisco and the Nexus product line. Many of you know that Cisco announced the demise of the ACE load balancing platform some time ago. Now, Cisco is selling certain Citrix NetScaler products. In addition, Cisco has integrated NetScaler with Nexus 7K using RISE (Remote Integrated Service Engine). RISE makes a NetScaler box look like a service module inside of a Nexus chassis, even though the NetScaler remains a physically separate box. This reduces the amount of management required to integrate switching and load balancing.
We’ve highlighted just a few of the compelling points about NetScaler that we covered in this show, but there’s definitely more about NetScaler architecture, scale, physical vs. virtual form factors, the SDX platform, SSL offload, and multi-tenancy that we cover in the discussion. Enjoy!