Citrix Systems Inc. last week announced a new version of its NetScaler application delivery product geared specifically for small and midsize enterprises and launched a new release of its Citrix Access Gateway SSL VPN offering, acquired late last year with Net6 Inc.
Both offerings, announced at Citrixs iForum Global user conference, are part of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., companys strategy to appeal to a broader set of customers as well as offer a deeper set of products to its installed base of server-based computing customers, according to Michael Suby, an analyst at Stratecast Partners, in San Antonio.
"[Users] want solutions or systems that provide a combination of connectivity, security and performance. This will unfold over the next couple of years where those technologies will come together under one roof. Citrix recognizes they have to expand their relationships with existing customers and develop relationships with new customers," Suby said.
The Standard Edition of the Citrix NetScaler application accelerator is designed to provide a broader range of application performance boosting technologies for organizations with 25 to 500 application users.
The box provides load balancing, manages traffic with application layer information and does application compression and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) offload as well as several optimizations for TCP to speed delivery, company officials said.
"Companies like F5 [Networks Inc.] only in the last two years became even measurable by the size of what Citrix is doing. With people like F5 and Cisco [Systems Inc.] jumping in with both feet, the battle should be interesting," said Peter Christy, an analyst with Internet Research Group, in Los Altos, Calif.
With a starting price of $17,499, the more full-featured application accelerator brings greater performance into the reach of smaller companies, according to Brad Pollard, director of IT at Sourcefire Inc., in Columbia, Md.
"It doesnt mean the availability of our applications is any less important. We have a lot of extranets that need to be up 100 percent of the time. This gives me the ability to build a small server farm but [still be prepared for] usage to go up exponentially," Pollard said.
The Citrix Access Gateway 4.2 release adds five enhancements to the previous release of the product, which Citrix first launched in January. Already Citrix has managed to replace competing IP Security VPN technology from Cisco in at least one of its Presentation Server accounts, thanks to the ease of configuration, said Dennis Blazek, IT manager at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, in Englewood.
The Cisco VPN worked, "but trying to get someone set up on it is more of a pain than what I think it should be. How easy [the Citrix SSL VPN] was to set up people on it seemed almost too good to be true. It doesnt matter what platform [a user is on]. I can get them in," Blazek said.
Of the five enhancements, Blazek sees support for mobile devices such as Windows, PalmSource Inc.s Palm OS and Research In Motion Ltd.s BlackBerry PDAs as most promising. "That keeps the options open," he said.
Citrix also added centralized administration for multiple Access Gateways, a common user portal to allows users to access applications, support for third-party portals such as Microsoft Corp.s SharePoint or IBMs WebSphere, and multiple-language support.
It is due by years end and is priced starting at $2,495 plus $99 per concurrent user.
Citrix also introduced at its user conference a 64-bit version of the Citrix Presentation Server.