Citrix announced its new CloudBridge CSX solution this week in a bid to improve cloud service delivery options to enterprises.
Karl Brown, senior director of product marketing for the CloudBridge Product Group at Citrix, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that the CloudBridge CSX solution consists of two elements.
One of those elements is the CloudBridge 2000WS platform, a physical appliance. The top-end 2000WS-050 appliance has an optimized WAN capacity of 50 Mbps and can handle a total of 20,000 TCP sessions.
The other element of the CloudBridge CSX system is an ecosystem of Citrix Ready partners that have developed applications to take advantage of the CloudBridge 2000WS footprint.
"With these two elements, Citrix can deliver a branch services platform that goes beyond legacy WAN optimization to be a more strategic networking element," Brown said.
Citrix's CloudBridge product portfolio already includes the 700 series, which Brown said is used today by customers that rely on it for local file storage in the branch.
"At the same time, these customers were asking for a more powerful solution that supported higher scale, more reliability, and could support more Windows-based applications and services," Brown said. "Out of that feedback, the CloudBridge WS series of products was conceptualized."
The new CloudBridge 2000WS is the first product in the WS series and includes up to two virtualized, fully licensed, Citrix-supported Windows Server instances. Brown noted that each of those instances has enough virtual CPU horsepower to run taxing applications such as video stream splitting or Windows services like DNS, DHCP, and Active Directory.
CloudBridge CSX today is all about Microsoft Windows applications, but that doesn't mean that it's limited to Windows either.
"There is nothing inherent in the software of the CloudBridge family to prevent the support of Linux workloads in the future," Brown said.
Citrix also has the Netscaler network acceleration product portfolio, which has a different target than the CloudBridge CSX.
"The NetScaler portfolio includes SDX devices, which offer the Scale In option of running third-party workloads within the NetScaler SDX device," Brown explained. "The CSX initiative is similar to NetScaler's 'Scale In' concept."
Brown added that since CloudBridge and NetScaler share hardware and software elements, Citrix was able to bring the Scale In concept to the CloudBridge platform to support the needs of the branch as an extension of the CloudBridge value proposition, while NetScaler SDX partners typically address data center demands.
The market for WAN and application acceleration is a competitive one, and Brown sees Riverbed as Citrix's primary competitor in the space. Riverbed recently updated its Steelhead platform with the new DX series.
A key differentiator that Brown sees between Citrix and Riverbed's product is the integrated Windows Server solution that CloudBridge provides.
"Our belief is that a bundled Windows Server platform and Citrix-approved application partners will be more appealing to enterprise IT," Brown said.
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Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist