Cisco, Citrix Partner on Application Delivery in the Cloud

Cisco will integrate Citrix’s NetScaler ADC into its cloud services offerings, expanding on a partnership unveiled last year.

Cisco Systems will resell Citrix Systems’ application delivery controller and integrate the technology into Cisco’s virtual networking framework, expanding a partnership around virtual and cloud networks that was first announced last year.

The move comes several months after Cisco began ending development of its own ACE application delivery controller and essentially ceding the ADC market to such vendors as Citrix and Riverbed Technology.

According to officials with Cisco and Citrix, integrating Citrix’s NetScaler ADC technology into Cisco’s Cloud Network Services architecture will enable Cisco to deliver scalable and reliable application services to users, a key capability in data centers that are rapidly evolving in response to such trends as cloud computing, virtualization, IT mobility and big data.

“Both Cisco and Citrix believe that the data center is undergoing a fundamental transformation, driven by cloud, mobility and virtualization,” Sunil Potti, vice president and general manager of Citrix’s NetScaler Product Group, said in a statement. “Successfully managing application workloads in these modern data centers requires a flexible, scalable, application-aware network.”

According to Ram Appalaraju, vice president of products for Cisco’s Data Center Group, there are two elements to the deal with Citrix. The first part is that Cisco starting in the third quarter will begin selling a customized version of Citrix’s NetScale ADC—which will be called Citrix NetScaler 1000V—as part of Cisco’s larger Cloud Network Services offerings.

In addition, the two companies are working to integrate the NetScaler ADC into Cisco’s virtual networking framework, including tightly coupling the NetScaler 1000V with Cisco’s Nexus 1100 Cloud Services Platform and with vPath, which enables for easy insertion of application services—such as the NetScaler ADC—into virtual and cloud networks.

With the NetScaler 1000V, Cisco will be able to integrate virtual applications into its United Fabric, which will enable the reliable delivery of applications services to users, Appalaraju said in a June 20 post on Cisco’s blog.

“Advances in cloud computing, data center consolidation, mobility and big data are imposing new demands on the network, along with a drive for greater network simplification and automation,” he wrote. “As virtual networking and programmable overlay networks evolve to meet these challenges, an equal evolution needs to take place in Layer 4-7 application networking services and security to support widespread virtualization, application mobility, cloud architectures and network orchestration.”

Cisco is addressing those demands with its Cloud Network Services, which includes such capabilities as a virtual gateway, virtual wide area application services (WAAS), a cloud firewall, a virtual adaptive security appliance (ASA) and the Cloud Services Router 1000V. They also will include the NetScaler 1000V.

“NetScaler 1000V fills an important void in Cisco’s virtual product architecture for an application delivery controller solution to give applications critical performance enhancements, offload application servers, and to help guarantee quality of service and improve end user experience,” Appalaraju wrote. “These requirements are growing exponentially with the increases in bring-your-own-device (BYOD), client mobility, and cloud migration.”

The joint offering also includes eventually attaching Citrix’s NetScaler SDX service delivery networking platform and MPX portfolio of hardware-based ADCs to Cisco’s Nexus 7000 Series switches and creating joint go-to-market strategies.

Cisco and Citrix already had been working together for more than two years on desktop virtualization when, in October 2012, the two vendors announced an extension of the partnership to deal with issues surrounding cloud computing, mobility and networking. Officials said they shared the belief that mobile- and cloud-based architectures were changing the dynamics in the data center.