Should you consider pursuing an expert-level certification? In this guest blog post, Citrix CTP George Spiers tells you why you ought to go for it and shares his insights and perspectives on the CNS-420 Citrix Networking, Assessment, Design, and Advance Configuration course.

Organizations around the world use Citrix ADC for load-balancing web services, ensuring high availability of web services, offering secure VPN or ICA access to staff, and much more. If your organization uses products such as Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, you probably also use an ADC to provide secure ICA proxy to apps and desktops and load balance Citrix and non-Citrix services. The ADC can do a lot of things and is like the Swiss army knife of networking.

I’ve worked with Citrix ADC for a number of years. Many people might think of it as a remote access appliance and load balancer, but that just touches the surface of what it’s capable of. I’ve also been certified in ADC for a few years now, holding the Citrix Certified Professional in Networking (CCP-N) certification.

This year I decided to pursue the Citrix Certified Expert in Networking (CCE-N) certification. I had previously attended the CNS-320 course, which helped me obtain the CCP-N.

Previously, CCP-N was the limit for Citrix Networking, but the CCE-N certification was released about a year ago. To obtain the CCE-N certification, I decided to attend the CNS-420 course.

The CNS-420 course covers networking assessment, design, and advanced configuration for Citrix ADC deployments. In my experience, I’ve come away from Citrix courses not only knowing more about the product, but also about things I didn’t think were possible with Citrix ADC. And I brought back ideas for my organization.

The course starts with a deep dive into the methodology Citrix Consulting applies to all their new ADC deployment projects and how you can use the same methodology for your customers to ensure success. You learn the different types of ADC platforms available for private and public cloud, the different ways an ADC can be deployed, and the different configurations that can be applied based on business drivers and priorities, with example scenarios included.

Later in the course, you cover topics such as authentication; authorization and auditing; endpoint analysis implementation; application firewall to protect your business applications from zero-day attacks; quarantine groups; and more. This part of the course was beneficial given how important security is today.

Load balancing and global server load balancing are covered in detail, too, giving you the knowledge you need to scale web servers for performance and design a multi-data center global load balancing solution. Citrix Gateway is also covered, and you’ll learn how to deploy it to provide users ICA proxy access to their virtual apps and desktops, provide VPN access, deploy RDP Proxy, or Clientless Access. You will also learn how to secure the environment using Smart Access, pre-authentication policies, authentication policies, and more.

Here’s what I found most interesting about the course and what I think will be beneficial to potential students:

  1. The Citrix methodology and how to ensure a successful ADC deployment. You will learn how to identify and work with an organization’s key stakeholders, discover the key business drivers, analyze the organization’s existing infrastructure and design an ADC solution that will successfully meet the needs of the organization, within the time and budget allocated.
  2. Discovering the different types of ADC, from VPX to MPX, SDX, and CPX. You will discover the benefits of each appliance, and under what conditions one variant will make more sense over another. Understanding the public cloud offerings for ADC is also beneficial as many organizations are considering making a move to cloud for services such as the ADC.
  3. ADC’s security features. How to deploy Secure Web Proxy to protect your users from browsing to malicious websites or non-productive websites, Application Firewall to protect against SYN flood attacks, DDoS attacks, zero-day attacks and more, and AAA virtual servers’ capabilities that can provide multiple factors of authentication before users are allowed to access backend systems. These are just some of the way’s ADC can protect your business applications.
  4. Advanced Gateway configurations. You’ll learn about deploying and configuring RDP Proxy, which allows RDP traffic from internet locations to be securely proxied to corporate servers, as well as Clientless Access, Smart Access policies, VPN access including split tunneling, and more.

If you work with Citrix ADC daily and already hold the CCP-N qualification, I encourage you to pursue the CCE-N certification. You should also check out the exam prep guide.

Good luck!

Working for Novosco, a major managed cloud provider in the UK, George Spiers shares his expert consultancy, architectural, and professional support knowledge of Citrix and Microsoft products mainly in the healthcare sector. George was part of the Citrix Technology Professionals Class of 2018. You can find him at and on Twitter and LinkedIn.