Citrix CloudPlatform supports NetScaler as an external service provider for providing Network services such as Load Balancing. The current model integrates well with all the major NetScaler ADC types such as MPX, VPX and SDX. But this current model of NetScaler service provisioning through CloudPlatform also requires the admin to perform manual configurations and management of NetScalers before adding to CloudPlatform.
Now, with the integration of NetScaler Control Center (NCC) with CloudPlatform, the tasks of provisioning and configuring NetScalers before adding to CloudPlatform is made much more easy, efficient and reliable. Further the life cycle of VPX is fully automated and configurations on the appliances that are required to work with CloudPlatform are now automated as well. It is now possible to auto provision VPX appliances not only in SDX but also in the compute fleet of CloudPlatform. There are many more added benefits in terms of flexibility and features which the Cloud Admin can now offer to end users.
The NCC solution from Citrix is designed to work with cloud orchestration providers to make the configuration and management of NetScaler ADC seamless and simple. NCC now integrates with CloudPlatform to make the provisioning of NetScaler devices automated and effortless.
Here’s a high level view of the integration with NCC before integration and after:
The primary value addition of this integration with NCC is also to enable the cloud admin to provide more flexibility and Quality of Service to end users. Admin can now not only create offerings based on appliance but also based on many new additional criteria such as:
- HA, for high availability of NetScaler appliances during network / hardware failures
- Throughput flexibility based on scale of applications
- Capacity of appliances such as memory/cores
- Capabilities of appliances
All these can be easily configured in the “service package” definition in NCC as seen below
With the integration of NCC and CloudPlatform, we are open to a lot of flexibility in creation of services for end users. Here are few use cases that come to mind that are now possible with this integration:
- Creating an SDX offering that would auto provision VPX which offers 2000 Mbps throughput with 1 core and 2 GB RAM
- An SDX offering that offers 4000 Mbps throughput with 2 cores and 2 GB RAM
- Pre-provisioned Shared high capacity MPX which can be shared by several medium scale applications
- Auto provision VPX in compute fleet of CloudPlatform essentially managing the end-to-end life cycle of VPX with no configuration or management needed from admin
- High availability of NetScalers in case of hardware/network failures. There is always another active appliance ready to take on the services with practically no downtime
All these can be defined as part of the Service Package creation in NCC. Apart from auto provision and HA settings, one can also define the Isolation models, ADC type and the placement method in the service package. The service package can be published at the click of a button and it then becomes available in the CloudPlatform Network Offering page. These offerings can now be consumed by users who can choose the network offering they require based on their needs and provision networks based on these offerings.
Going forward this integration will help in getting new NetScaler ADC capabilities faster and easier into CCP. As a bonus the SSL Offload capability is already integrated as part of this feature. To enable this, just add SSL certificate and key to an account and use this while creating the Load Balancing rule. Choose the protocol as SSL, 440 as the public port and 80 as the private port. Once this is setup, NetScaler encrypts the traffic from back-end servers and communicates with SSL between itself and client. Back end servers are now offloaded of the encryption and decryption tasks which are now handed over to NetScaler.
In conclusion, it is now much more easy and efficient to manage NetScaler appliances for a cloud Admin and as an end user, there are a lot more choices available for using NetScaler for Load Balancing. In future, this integration will help in adding new NetScaler capabilities into CloudPlatform more seamless.
More information about NCC can be found here
There’s also a detailed step by step blog on setting up NCC with CloudPlatform here