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Citrix outlines its SDN play; Teams up with Palo Alto Networks

The company announces its next-gen NetScaler SDX networking platform, which will be app aware and a bet on software defined networking. Citrix also partners with Palo Alto Networks.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Citrix on Wednesday delivered its answer to software defined networks with the launch of its next-gen NetScaler platform as well as a broad partnership with Palo Alto Networks.

NetScaler SDX, Citrix's networking service delivery product, will be opened up to be "app aware." In a nutshell, NetScalser SDX will open up its platform to allow for integration with companies such as Aruba Networks, BlueCat Networks, CSE SecureMatrix, Palo Alto Networks, RSA, Splunk, Trend Micro, Venafi and WebSense.

The promise is that NetScaler SDX will allow for the network to use software and application-driven policies to control service. Pricing and availability for Citrix's next-gen Netscaler line weren't announced.

Software defined networking (SDN) has been around for a while, but the term took off when VMware bought Nicira. Since then, Oracle acquired Xsigo. Meanwhile, Cisco has also reiterated that it's a software-defined networking player and that it was there first. The upshot to all of this is that networking gear will be virtualized just like servers were.

More: Citrix eyes tighter Cisco ties after VMware's Nicira purchase | Citrix: Losing Windows 7 corporate upgrade tailwind?

That reality has caused a stampede to carry the SDN banner.

Citrix is aiming to distance its approach by touting an open platform. Sunil Potti, general manager of the Cloud Networking Group at Citrix, said in an interview that there's a new chapter forming in SDNs and application intelligence will be needed. "Most networks historically have worked from the bottom up," he said.


Citrix makes the following argument:

  • SDN technologies focus on L2-3 network layers and aren't app aware.
  • NetScaler sits higher up the food chain and can deliver app awareness.
  • Automated deployments of network services will be the norm.

However, without a firm availability date, Citrix's move looks a bit reactionary to all of the SDN hubbub.

Meanwhile, Citrix is also partnering as it aims to be embedded in more cloud networks. Citrix said it is partnering with Palo Alto Networks to unify sales, technologies and product roadmaps.

Potti said that the Citrix-Palo Alto strategic alliance will run through multiple phases. The first phase of the integration will revolve around policy and interoperability. Future phases will tighten the technology integration as well as the go-to-market strategy.

Palo Alto Networks is best known for its network security platform and a firewall that spans from the data center to the network edge. Palo Alto Networks recently went public. The company reported revenue of $255.1 million for fiscal 2012. Analysts estimate that Palo Alto Networks will deliver $384 million in fiscal 2013 revenue and be profitable on a non-GAAP basis.

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