I am going to step away from a moment from my normal blogging topics of XenServer, XenDesktop, and Provisioning Server, and blog about a project I did as a part of my last job within Citrix. This performance testing project hasn’t received a lot of airtime with so many other things happening since the project was completed, so I would like to use this forum to highlight these great results.

In the summer of 2007, Citrix and IBM collaborated on joint testing of Citrix NetScaler and WanScaler at the IBM Innovation Center in San Mateo, CA. The goal of this testing was to validate the impact of NetScaler and WanScaler on end user response time for IBM WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Application Server, Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino Web Access. Load simulation was provided by Mercury LoadRunner to simulate multiple users access both WebSphere Portal and WAS over the simulated WAN link.

In this graphic, you see an overview of the test configuration –

Though not shown on this graphic, a Lotus Domino Server was also built for the testing by the staff of the IBM IIC for the testing. 

IBM WebSphere 

In this testing, we found the following results with WebSphere –

IBM WebSphere Portal

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  • Citrix NetScaler reduced login for WebSphere Portal by up to 50%
  • Citrix NetScaler reduced standard portlet loading times by up to 44%
  • Citrix NetScaler reduced Document Preview and Save time by up to 50%
  • Citrix NetScaler and WanScaler combined reduced document preview and save time by up to 90%

IBM WebSphere Application Server -

  • Citrix NetScaler reduced end user response time for a shopping cart application running on WAS by up to 70%

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NetScaler compression and caching capabilities were utilized in this testing. The SSL and TCP off loading functions, EdgeSight for NetScaler and App Firewall functions can also add significant value to any WebSphere Portal or WAS deployment.

For more background on this portion of the test, see this presentation from the IBM WebSphere Portal Technical users Conference.

WebSphere Portal Technical Users Conference 2007 Presentation

Lotus Notes and Domino Web Access

Lotus Notes and Domino were also tested. Using a simulated T1, the testing measure the time it took for a standard Notes 7 client (with default install) to download and open a 5 MB attachment. This took about 44 seconds. See a video of this test at this link –

The next test was done after the cache on the client was completely cleared and the Notes client restarted. The wan simulator was monitored to ensure the file transfered again while a WanScaler appliance was running on each side on the T1 simulated link. In this test, the download and open time was slashed down to 6 seconds!

The amazing part about this test is that the compression and flow control of the WanScaler provided all the acceleration. Since this was the first time the document was downloaded through the WanScaler appliances, the WanScaler caching was not used at all.

The final test for Notes 7 was done with the WanScaler client. This client is used for individual users, not for an entire site like a WanScaler appliance. The WanScaler client download and open time was 14 seconds (compared to 44 seconds for the Notes 7 client with no wan optimization). Unfortunately there is a problem with this video.

Domino Web Access 

Our final test was with Domino Web Access and the Citrix NetScaler. In this test, we downloaded and opened a 7 MB Word document in the DWA client over the simulated T1.

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The first test was done with the DWA client with the Domino compression disabled (compression is on by default). In this test, it took about 75 seconds to open the document. See the video here –

In the next test, the same 7 mb document was opened (with local cached completely cleared) again, but this time the DWA compression was enabled. This iteration took about 22 seconds to open the document. Obviously compression helps a great deal, but executing compression on the DWA server takes away CPU cycles needed for processing user requests. See the video here –

For our final test, the DWA client cache was again cleared and DWA compression disabled. The NetScaler was placed in front of the DWA server on the Datacenter side of the simulated T1 link. In this test, the document download and open time was a mere 13 seconds. See the video here –

Some certifications were awarded by IBM as a result of this testing –

Citrix NetScaler in IBM Global Solutions Directory – Ready for IBM Lotus and Ready for IBM WebSphere

Citrix WanScaler in IBM Global Solutions Directory- Ready for IBM Lotus and Ready for IBM WebSphere

As you can see, Citrix NetScaler and WanScaler can dramatically ramp up the performance of IBM WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Application Server, and Lotus Notes and Domino Web Access.

Click here for more info on Citrix NetScaler.

Click here for more info on Citrix WanScaler.