Hot off the presses from last week’s Microsoft North America TechEd 2012 in Orlando Florida…Citrix NetScaler wins the ‘Best Of’ in the Networking Category with our revolutionary new NetScaler Tri-Scale technology. Tri-Scale introduces an entirely new vision in scaling and delivering applications across any public or private cloud infrastructure. This includes the ability to scale application delivery in three dimensions:

  • Scale-Up allowing for elastic expansion thru flexible ‘pay grow’ so that you pay for capacity as you need it
  • Scale-in for simplicity and consolidation thru NetScaler SDX platforms. SDX allows for collapsing upto 40 individual NetScaler instances onto a single 2u hardware platform with complete resource isolation without sacrificing performance
  • Scale-Out thru NetScaler clustering, enabling Megabit to Terabit lateral expansion, increasing port density and really adding linear capacity at all levels without increasing management complexity

As Enterprise applications continue to evolve, both in the way they are architected as well as deployed, NetScaler Tri-Scale provides the most flexible Service Delivery Substrate to a dynamically changing application infrastructure. If you’d like more detailed information on NetScaler 10, check out Abhilash’s blog at /blogs/2012/04/18/netscaler-10-a-landmark-release-with-100s-of-new-features

Now, it’s pretty clear that the messaging around NetScaler 10 is scale and flexibility and we’ve reached some significant milestones in this arena. Keeping with this theme, we also focused our efforts in presenting some key elements on how we scale Microsoft Enterprise Applications…specifically the newly released MS SQL 2012. NetScaler DataStream technology allows us to intelligently parse database traffic at the actual SQL query level giving new levels of optimization, fault tolerance and visibility to native MS SQL traffic. NetScaler 10 adds significant new functionality to DataStream that furthers this functionality, allowing for seamless integration into the SQL 2012 ‘Always On’ deployment strategy.

During the interview with the TechEd judge, I actually demonstrated NetScaler DataStream fronting a SharePoint 2010 environment deployed across a SQL 2012 Availability Group back-end. The demo was focused on three key areas:

  1. Visibility.  Since NetScaler is able to parse out and understand native MS SQL, we actually used Appflow and Stream Analytics to demonstrate top-down actionable reporting for SQL traffic. Not only is this powerful from the visibility perspective in flushing out poorly coded applications and potential open back doors, it also allows for real time feedback, allowing you to create granular policies to remediate this type of behavior on the fly.
  2. Fault Tolerance. Using intelligent SQL level monitors, we were able to demonstrate that NetScaler is able to not only track health of the database, but also able to detect which database instances are primary or replicas. In SQL 2012, NetScaler can actually take the place of the Windows listener to provide greater scalability and faster failover times both locally and globally as needed and also provide read/write-split functionality across primary and replica databases.
  3. Optimization. Thru connection offload, multiplexing as well as caching we demonstrated better overall end user performance as well as significant server offload, all contributing to significant scale up of the database tier. Intelligent SQL content switching allows for database partitioning or sharding, both of which are significant in scale out approaches to database architecture as well.

The demo really brought light to what NetScaler can offer in scaling and adding value in a MS SQL 2012 environment….but keep in mind that all these features hold true for all versions of MS SQL 2005+.

Best of all, this was actually demoed from a native Microsoft test environment that we had built in Redmond over the past few weeks and were accessing remotely.

I will be publishing much more in the way of technical detail around all of this so stay tuned for much more around NetScaler DataStream and MS SQL 2012!