NetScaler vs F5

Because NetScaler is already built into the Citrix platform, you can take advantage of its capabilities to deliver highly performant and secure applications to your customers as well as your workforce. This eliminates the need for a separate application delivery solution like F5 — especially when NetScaler is straightforward to use and it’s included with your Citrix subscription.

31% of companies that migrated from F5 to NetScaler cited technical challenges with F5 as their reason for switching to NetScaler.

Source: TechValidate Research on Citrix NetScaler

Key considerations for choosing NetScaler over F5

Operational consistency

NetScaler Console is the management plane and single place for orchestrating and managing NetScaler application delivery controllers (ADCs), implementing security policies, and accessing analytics and observability capabilities for consistent management of monolithic and microservices application delivery across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Unlike NetScaler, F5 requires you to use multiple different management systems because it has not fully integrated its acquisitions. And F5 lacks feature parity — including configuration management — across its ADC form factors, which significantly reduces portability and prevents you from easily moving services when migrating deployments between environments.


Designed from inception to be software focused and hardware agnostic, NetScaler uses x86 commodity hardware while F5 uses custom ASIC and FPGA hardware — which limits scale and is not optimal for virtualized and cloud deployments. NetScaler enables dynamic scaling of internet traffic for hybrid and multi-cloud workloads to achieve clustering of up to 8 Tbps of L7 throughput for traffic destined for a single IP and port on up to 32 nodes.


NetScaler offers superior proxy performance over F5 for TLS processing, resulting in an average latency advantage of ~100ms. NetScaler VPX, a virtualized ADC, offers ⅕ the latency under stress and 10% more transactions than F5 BIG-IP.

Source: Tolly Group performance benchmarking test report

NetScaler vs F5 for hybrid cloud application delivery

Unlike F5, NetScaler is a software-defined platform for application delivery that works the same in any environment. You are not required to purchase NetScaler hardware and software together for your on-premises deployments, which gives you maximum flexibility in architecting your environment.

Your Citrix subscription allows you to easily move NetScaler ADC capacity between on-premises and public cloud environments on the fly thanks to NetScaler’s single management plane — F5 requires you to use multiple dashboards. Additionally, NetScaler performs better in public cloud environments than F5.

NetScaler vs F5 for on-premises application delivery

NetScaler offers the same enterprise-grade capabilities at a superior performance and price point than F5, while also offering better scalability through higher tenant and cluster density, without the added cost and complexity of blade chassis hardware.

NetScaler vs F5 comparison

  NetScaler F5
Secure access
to Citrix virtual desktop infrastructure and enterprise applications for your workforce
HDX traffic support for optimal application end-user experience for Citrix DaaS and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Limited
HDX Insight report for Citrix DaaS and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops  
Single sign-on with built-in MFA/push authentication
Built-in ZTNA context engine and policy control Limited
High-performance proxy
for both your workforce- and customer-facing applications
One code base for all form factors so it works the same and provides feature parity across on-premises and public cloud  
Load balancing and traffic shaping
SSL/TLS acceleration
DNS management and load balancing for DR
Rapid application configuration and deployment
Layer 7 application firewall Limited
(high latency)
Bot mitigation
Consistent security policies across on-premises and public cloud Limited
Ingress controller for Kubernetes deployments
Single pane of glass
for consistent application delivery management across environments
One console for simplified management  
License portability across on-premises and public cloud Limited
Native API-based configuration orchestration and management
Out-of-the box integration with Kubernetes and open source tools
Holistic visibility and analytics across on-premises and public cloud Limited
End-to-end observability with rich telemetry data accessed via NetScaler Console or such visualization tools as Splunk, Prometheus, and Grafana Limited
(less-granular data)

NetScaler vs F5 performance comparison

Only NetScaler uses a highly compute-efficient load-balancing algorithm for high-performance and cost-effective application delivery.