Why is Citrix offering a FREE Container-based ADC for developers?

Great question! But before I share the story—just sit right there—all about how Citrix flipped-turned upside-down—the Application Delivery Controller (ADC) market with NetScaler CPX Express, though, I’d like to take a minute share a short history of how ADCs became the gatekeepers to enterprise datacenters and the cloud.

Brief History of the ADC

Over the last 20 years, most software applications were developed following a three-tier application architecture. The three tiers encompassed Web, Business Logic and Database and each respective tier had the ability to support multiple instances—running in parallel—to enable enhanced scalability and response time to client requests.

In front of each of the tiers, the ADC served as a gatekeeper for traffic by load-balancing applications to the multiple available servers on hand, as well as providing additional functionality such as SSL offload, content caching, and so on.


Drivers for container-based ADC

Fast-forward to today. Application development is on steroids. Every enterprise has gotten the digital transformation bug. Conversations are peppered with buzzwords, like microservices apps, DevOps, Puppet, Chef, Docker, Kubernetes, Mesos and the list just keeps growing. What does this all mean – is it all hype?

Actually, the concept is pretty simple. Faster application development and deployment led to microservices applications, like Docker and DevOps. For a more discerning reader, here’s the chain of events that led to a new type of ADC:

Digital Business Transformation → New Line of Business → Faster Software Application Development → Developers → Microservices Application Architectures → Rapid Deployment → DevOps → DevOps Engineers → Containers → Container-based ADC


A container-based ADC is not just a new form factor, it is completely different. It’s not just repackaging an ADC platform and stuffing it into a Container. It’s actually so simple, it’s downright elegant. A significant amount of work is done to make the container-based ADC leaner, lighter and smarter. It spins up quickly, automatically discovers new microservices and auto-configures itself. It’s specialized to handle traffic East-West (between microservices) instead of North-South.

In June 2016, Citrix became the first established ADC vendor to deliver a container-based ADC at its annual Synergy conference in Las Vegas.

The F/OSS container-based ADC movement and its challenges

In the old world of traditional three-tier applications, things moved at a glacial pace. Developers would wait around for IT to provide load-balancing infrastructure which sometimes could take up to several hours. In contrast, in the new world of microservices applications, time is of essence. The ability to move fast and iterate quickly, in this age of application explosion, becomes a competitive advantage.

Developers are not waiting around for IT anymore. They’re starting to consume F/OSS application load balancers, and/or application load balancers available from IaaS providers, and incorporating them earlier in their development lifecycle. So, where’s the problem?

Let me walk you through the transition of the application workload to DevOps/IT, whose sole focus is to get it up and running, monitor its performance and ensure it meets security compliance mandates.

Hopefully, you’ve picked up on the problem. While DevOps/IT are measured on uptime, developers are measured on quality of application code. Most new microservices applications are business-to-consumer, or B2C. Downtime in these applications—even for a few minutes—can cost businesses millions of dollars. F/OSS load balancers are, after all, OSS, and do provide neither depth of load balancing and security features nor comprehensive management tools that empower DevOps/IT to run mission-critical enterprise and customer-facing applications.

Citrix NetScaler CPX Express comes to the rescue

Now let’s get to the news! During LinuxCon North America, we unveiled a free container-based NetScaler ADC: NetScaler CPX Express.

We’re committed to our customers, as we’ve proven by being the first established vendor to deliver a container-based ADC, NetScaler CPX, in June 2016.

We are introducing NetScaler CPX Express to help developers focus on building applications quickly and with quality and enable DevOps/IT get these applications up and running in a matter of minutes. NetScaler CPX Express has the same codebase, REST API and operations interface as the NetScaler ADC, enabling seamless transition of application delivery infrastructure from development into deployment cycles.

NetScaler CPX Express provides microservices application developers with:

  • Application-savvy load balancing capabilities
  • Easy, in-service upgrades with no disruption to microservices
  • Advanced security capabilities such as SSL offload and protection against network, transport, application-layer DDoS threat vectors and API rate limiting for DDOS attack mitigation
  • Service discovery and auto reconfiguration with Google Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Apache Mesos container management systems
  • Real-time visibility, management and analytics through integration with the NetScaler Management and Analytics System
  • The ability to get up and running in less than five minutes

With NetScaler CPX Express, no one has to compromise, developers get to leverage a market-leading load balancer for free and DevOps/IT get to keep their application workloads Always ON.

Check out NetScaler CPX Express today – it’s available for free download at https://www.microloadbalancer.com.