We IT professionals are primarily responsible for two activities:

  • Ensure employee and customer productivity
  • Manage the IT tooling used to enable employees

The advent of the internet has introduced significant uncertainty into our ability to meet these objectives. Infrastructure is migrating to internet-hosted public cloud services, while our audiences are connecting from unknown locations and devices. The result is highly unpredictable traffic patterns that can spike based on a tweet or blog post, and infrastructure that is less reliable due to the multi-tenant nature of shared platforms. The business demand for agility and flexibility are unlikely to reverse the trend towards cloud-native application hosting and delivery, so we all need better tools for effectively managing the unmanaged.

Enter Citrix Intelligent Traffic Management (ITM)

Citrix recently acquired Cedexis, the frontrunner in the use of crowd-sourced internet experience monitoring data to optimize the delivery of Internet applications and content to web audiences.  As discussed in our Synergy session, Cedexis is being released as Citrix Intelligent Traffic Management. Citrix ITM is used by a bevy of webscale and enterprise customers, including LinkedIn, AirBnB, Pinterest, Bloomberg, Gilead Sciences, and Microsoft, to ensure the availability and performance of their large file download, video streaming and web/mobile apps. As part of Citrix, we are bringing this 100% SaaS solution to customers from all markets. If you have internet audiences, you should be looking at Citrix ITM to improve the quality of their interaction with your apps and content.

What is Citrix ITM

To deliver a truly world-class experience to consumers, while managing the operational complexity and economics of running multi-tenant fungible cloud services, Citrix ITM combines crowd-sourced Internet experience and performance telemetry with a sophisticated global traffic manager (GTM). Citrix ITM ensures content, data, and computation are delivered by the best element of your platform to ensure optimal quality of experience at the lowest cost.

Unlike legacy DNS based GTM and GSLB solutions, Citrix ITM builds upon the use of static traffic shaping rules (round robin, geo-location, etc.) and server health check-ups. By combining Internet telemetry with a range of application, network and server monitoring data, Citrix ITM customers get the most holistic view of application deployment and delivery health available, and the automation to act on this data for the benefit of your audiences.  The data input supported by Citrix ITM includes:

The world’s largest real user Internet performance monitoring community

Collecting data from your own consumers is necessary, but insufficient. For applications and online entry points that are used by a distributed audience, holes can form in areas where there are only a few users at any given time; in these circumstances, measurements from other users of other services are crucial in powering decisions that ensure the right service, every time. ITM Radar is the world’s largest internet performance experience measurement network, benchmarking the relative availability and performance of more than 35 CDNs and 100s of public cloud and hosting data centers.

ITM Radar collects real-time experience data from over 40,000 ISP networks worldwide, including over 14 billion daily data points from about 1 billion end user sessions. This data empowers Citrix ITM to ensure predictive application delivery, confirming that the correct path is chosen based on real-time internet user data points.

Use synthetic monitoring data when it makes sense

Real user measurements will always tell you about the quality of experience received by the user, but they won’t give you a heads-up that underlying resources are getting overloaded, have been taken down for maintenance, or are the last remaining healthy node in a broader cluster. In other words: synthetic monitoring does not become obsolete the moment that RUM monitoring comes into play: rather, it watches individual server health, while Radar watches the peering to reach your servers.

ITM Sonar is a simple, yet powerful and real-time, synthetic monitoring tool that tracks and analyzes the health of the underlying resources and feeds the decisioning engine. In this way, you can be sure that you aren’t fooled by good QoE into overloading a single end point, nor into overusing CDN distribution when your origin is at extremely low load.

Ingest and act on any third-party data

Between RUM and synthetic monitoring, it is quite possible to deliver extremely high QoE, while adhering to some core goals (e.g. balancing traffic according to predefined share percentages, always using origin when its load is below 20%, etc.). To truly deliver on the vision of high QoE at an optimized cost, however, other data is needed: contract pricing, usage across providers, ADC health data, and more.

Cedexis Fusion enables the ingestion of substantially any third-party data, and comes with dozens of integrations already in place. Pull in data from your existing NetScaler ADC or MAS monitoring, your cloud or CDN providers, from your server monitoring system; from your colocation provider, or simply from any JSON or HTTP GET source you define.

Data Made Actionable in Real Time

The ITM global traffic manager, Openmix, brings all these data feeds together in real time and serves as the decision-making brain of Citrix ITM. Traffic management algorithms are customized in standard JavaScript and configured through the Citrix ITM portal. Each customer can create and maintain a functionally limitless number of routing rules, so that each decision that gets made for each application, website, or other entry point, is uniquely tuned to the needs of that service. All this happens in real time, reducing localized or regional internet congestion, server and data center outages, and managing costs vs contracted traffic commitments.

Cloud Agnostic and Developer Friendly

A cloud-native GTM solution like Citrix ITM means never being tied to a single cloud service provider. And the easily-configurable Openmix Applications make it a breeze to try out new providers: simply adjust your algorithm to send a small slice of your traffic to a new candidate service provider, then monitor the results seen by your end users. If the new provider outperforms your existing providers, simply re-direct traffic to the new from the old; if they do not, end the experiment and move on. The control to move traffic between providers puts you in the driver’s seat in building and managing your network. The flexibility to add, remove, and manage your providers ensures you never cede that control to someone else’s systems.