Speeding Web applications from the data center to the end user

* Citrix and Akamai partner to extend their respective Web application acceleration technologies

Trying to speed up applications that run over the Internet, rather than a private WAN, is a challenge for enterprises. Today there are two common approaches: deploying acceleration gear in the data center, or using a managed service.

Premises-based gear can offload tasks from Web servers and accelerate Web applications via techniques such as caching, load balancing and content switching. By contrast, managed application delivery services can perform protocol optimization and traffic management within the Internet, using co-location centers all over the world, to speed application delivery (Compare Application Acceleration and WAN Traffic Optimization products).

To close the gap between these two different approaches, Citrix Systems and Akamai Technologies have inked a new partnership. The agreement is designed to make it easier for customers and partners to integrate Citrix's premises-based NetScaler product line and Akamai's cloud-based Web Application Accelerator service.

“There are certain optimizations that are served very well in the data center, and there are other optimizations that are served very well in the cloud. We’re forming this strategic alliance to be able to provide end-to-end solutions, all the way from the data center to the end user,” says Neil Cohen, senior manager of product marketing for Akamai.

Citrix’s NetScaler devices offload processing from Web server infrastructure with features such as connection management, SSL encryption and content caching. Outside the data center, Akamai’s managed services optimize Internet protocols and route application traffic to the most available resources across Akamai’s global network of distributed servers.

As part of the collaboration, Citrix and Akamai plan to launch a partner assistance program that’s designed to feed systems integrators and resellers advice for implementing the two vendors’ systems together at customer sites.

They also plan to launch an online community for companies that are using the Citrix and Akamai Web application delivery systems together. The two companies say they will publish a series of best practices deployment guides showing recommended configuration guidelines to achieve the best possible application performance for various scenarios.

“The delivery of applications from the data center, all the way to the end user, is becoming more and more challenging. It’s particularly tough with Web 2.0 applications, where you have application services and application content coming from many different directions,” says Greg Smith, director of product marketing at Citrix. “You can’t provide all of your optimizations, all your acceleration, or all your security, in just one spot.”

The two vendors announced their new partnership at last week’s Citrix Synergy event, where Citrix also unveiled three new products

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