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Centene Corporation

Founded in 1984, Centene Corporation is a national leader in healthcare services with 80 locations throughout the United States. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Centene employs more than 8000 people.  

The challenge: resolving application performance issues

Centene’s datacenter houses its mission-critical managed care applications and web applications as well as Microsoft Exchange servers. Previously, Centene had three basic load-balancing solutions that included Cisco ACE, Apache Web Layer and UNIX boxes for DNS that were distributed and managed by both networking and web services groups. When Centene had performance issues, determining the cause and responsibility for addressing the issues was a challenge because no single group had full visibility for the solution. In addition to performance challenges, support costs were high due to multiple vendors. “We really needed a comprehensive application delivery controller (ADC) to resolve our issues,” says Dan Drysdale, director of strategic architecture services for Centene.   

The solution: NetScaler MPX

Citrix NetScaler 7500 MPX with High Availability (HA) is an ADC that optimizes the security, availability, scalability and performance of web-based and custom applications. It is available as a physical or virtual appliance.

NetScaler MPX appliances are high-performance; hardware-based solutions that provide industry-leading web application delivery and load balancing. They also enable a full-service delivery fabric that spans enterprise datacenters and cloud infrastructures to make applications and cloud services run five times faster. All NetScaler MPX appliances support Citrix nCore technology, which enables customers to tap the power of multi-core CPU systems to realize multi-gigabit performance and massive scalability for all application delivery workloads.

Flexible pay-as-you-grow licensing helps customers protect their investments, avoid costly hardware upgrades and reduce the overall cost of ownership. NetScaler MPX appliances support small enterprises, massive global websites and everything in between.

“In early 2011, we migrated from the three legacy load balancers to four NetScaler MPX 7500 appliances and configured them as two HA pairs in our datacenter to eliminate any single point of failure. Currently, we are using NetScaler as an external authoritative DNS. We also load balance all secure and non-secure applications that run through our NetScaler appliances, besides leveraging the global server load balancing, cache server compression and content switching features of NetScaler to optimize and scale our core medical applications,” Drysdale says.

Key benefit: increases application performance by 25 percent, reduces support costs

By standardizing on NetScaler, Centene was able to improve system and application responsiveness by 25 percent in the past two years. Additionally, by replacing its three legacy load balancers and standardizing on the NetScaler MPX application delivery platform, Centene now requires only one employee on the resource side, the support side and in all the areas of configuration changes. Previously, this required six networking employees.

Key benefit: reduces capital and operating expenses by 20 percent

By moving away from a multi-vendor legacy load-balancing environment and consolidating all of its application delivery needs on the NetScaler platform, Centene achieved 20 percent cost reduction in capital and operating expenditures.

Looking ahead

“We are currently in the process of upgrading the four NetScaler MPX servers to four SDX servers, with a total of 14 virtual VPX instances for additional scale and multi-tenancy support. NetScaler Insight Center is necessary as we need application and network visibility for troubleshooting issues and in-depth reporting. NetScaler App Firewall is another feature we are evaluating, as well as Citrix XenMobile for mobile device management,” Drysdale concluded.

About Citrix

Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is the cloud company that enables mobile workstyles—empowering people to work and collaborate from anywhere, easily and securely. With market-leading solutions for mobility, desktop virtualization, cloud networking, cloud platforms, collaboration and data sharing, Citrix helps organizations achieve the speed and agility necessary to succeed in a mobile and dynamic world. Citrix products are in use at more than 330,000 organizations and by over 100 million users globally. Annual revenue in 2012 was $2.59 billion. Learn more at www.citrix.com.

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By standardizing on NetScaler, Centene was able to improve system and application responsiveness by 25% and achieved 20% cost reduction in capital and operating expenditures.
- Dan Drysdale

Director of strategic architecture services

Centene

Industry

Citrix products

Key benefits

  • Increases performance by 25%
  • Reduces capital and operating expenses by 20%