Software is eating the world. Businesses seek to take advantage of every cutting-edge software innovation over the past two decades – from mobile through machine learning and the Internet of Things, for fear of getting left behind. But IT struggles to keep up with this rate of change.
Two key movements have risen to address this gap: the DevOps operating model and the Microservices architecture.
The DevOps model emphasizes collaboration between developers and Ops, using deep automation to speed up the software development lifecycle. The Microservices architecture pattern splits up applications into narrowly focused, independently deployable services.
Together, this has led to a revolution in the way software is deployed and managed. Automation increases velocity and reduces rates of error. While the monolith style of architecture is simpler in a lot of ways, it slows down the velocity of change, Microservices architecture breaks up the unit of change and makes it easier to deploy software.
Containers (like Docker) are used to package microservices. Automation, speed and portability have made containers a very good fit for the DevOps/Microservices combo. Cluster managers such as Kubernetes, Apache Mesos and Docker Swarm improve upon the DevOps/Microservices/Docker trifecta.
“Cloud Native” refers to patterns of architecture and organization that deliver software with speed and reliability. Container cluster managers, Docker, DevOps and microservices are usually part of a Cloud Native organization’s toolbox
Citrix NetScaler is adapting to the new paradigms quickly to deliver resiliency, performance, security and other traditional ADC functions. The difference from before is:
- Reactive, software-driven configuration
- Smaller but 10-100x more instances of load balancer instances
- A mix of Ingress traffic and inter-service traffic.
The Netscaler CPX is a containerized (Docker format) form of the familiar Netscaler ADC. The CPX can be run just like any other Docker container: either on a developer’s laptop, in the datacenter, or in the cloud. The automation available with the Netscaler NITRO API enables rapid configuration, while the Docker format enables rapid provisioning. Integration with Cluster Managers such as Kubernetes, Apache Mesos and Docker Swarm is easy, with pre-built integrations available both as open source and as part of Netscaler Management and Analytics System (MAS).
For Ingress traffic (from the Internet), the heftier form factors of Netscaler are still useful. For example, for the Kubernetes Cluster Manager, the Netscaler VPX can be used to perform the Ingress function. An open source Ingress controller will be available to configure the Netscaler VPX for a Kubernetes cluster.
For intra-cluster traffic, the NetScaler CPX provides L4-L7 load balancing functions. For example in a Kubernetes Cluster, the NetScaler CPX can replace the built-in kube-proxy load balancer with better visibility, configurability and performance. For a Marathon Cluster, the CPX can provide similar intra-cluster ADC functions. When a software-defined infrastructure underlies the Marathon cluster, the CPX (in conjunction with MAS) can integrate with functions such as IP Address Management (IPAM) to derive configuration such as the VIP address.
The Netscaler CPX in conjunction with MAS gives IT Ops the same visibility they had with the traditional Netscaler set up. Uniform policies (e.g., allowed Ciphers) can be applied across all Netscalers, big or small.
Containers and microservices are accelerating an already fast pace of change and the NetScaler CPX will help organizations keep pace. New features will target integration with Continuous Delivery pipelines, advanced resilience patterns, end-to-end security and visibility.
Although the Netscaler was born in a different era and location, the CPX makes it a Cloud native citizen. We will be showcasing some of these integrations and technologies at DockerCon 2016 in June. I will also be talking at DockerCon 2016 about Netscaler and Docker, especially about the CPX. We hope to see you all there.