My Thoughts on Citrix Buying Cedexis

Yesterday, Citrix announced publicly that they have bought the company Cedexis. If you didn't catch the news you can read the official blogpost here:

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2018/02/12/citrix-acquires-cedexis/

Being the tech-curious mind that I am, I started to read through the official blogpost, but it didn't give me any clarity as to what value it would actually bring to Citrix. Also, I haven't heard about the company before (other than some on social media from time-to-time, so I started to do some research), so therefore, I decided to take a closer look at how Citrix can benefit from it.

Looking into the company, I noticed that they have a set of products which make up the core, called Cedexis ADP (Application Delivery Platform), which is actually aimed at making more intelligent load balancing using a combination of real-user monitoring & synthetic monitoring to make the correct decision on where to route the data.  

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The platform is split into smaller parts where the core is three applications.

Radar: A product which contains and gathers real-user telemetry from thousands of users worldwide (you can see some of the interesting statistics here https://live.cedexis.com/). So, with this we have detailed mappings on outages and response times and such. This is using a simple JavaScript script embedded within a content page or application provider’s pages to collect information about the performance and availability of a data center or delivery platform. (You can also access some nifty reports here as well: https://www.cedexis.com/get-the-data/country-report/).

Sonar: A live-ness check service that can be used to monitor web-based services for availability. Sonar works by making HTTP or HTTPS requests from multiple points-of-presence around the world to a URL. Sonar checks are performed from multiple test locations from around the world.

Openmix: A SaaS Global Load Balancing which uses information from, for instance Radar, to consider real-time data feeds of end-user telemetry, and server or application monitoring data from Sonar to do Intelligent Global Load Balancing. Using all of these different tools, we can also combine this with other data such as Cost/Performance and define our own rating on a service if we have a service available on multiple locations/platforms. The cool thing about Openmix being a cloud service and all is that it's available via DNS and HTTP, example here à https://github.com/cedexis/openmixapplib/wiki/Openmix-HTTP-API#overview.

Fusion: In addition to Radar and Sonar data, Openmix can use 3rd party data as part of its decision criteria, which can integrate an existing synthetic monitoring service you already use. Or, it can make cost-based decisions using usage data from a CDN provider. Here is a picture of the supported integrations that Fusion has which can be used to determine the best path.

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There are also some new integrations such as Datadog, which allows us to do more efficient routing application logic based upon Datadog alerts.

So, looking at the products, we can see that Cedexis have multiple tools to determine the optimal path, including the use of real-time user information and synthetic testing combined with third party integrations using custom metrics also a global SaaS load balancing service. However, Cedexis is missing the product to handle the direct load balancing in between the end-users and the backend services. While NetScaler on the other hand is missing the products to do more intelligent load balancing based upon real user telemetry, instead of just doing health-checks or doing GSLB based upon user proximity or such.

I can see the value of integrating the Cedexis platform into the NetScaler portfolio, seeing that it can make it a much more powerful smart application delivery system. So, these are just my personal thoughts on how the portfolio could look like from an integrated solution. We could have NetScaler MAS feeding Fusion using Web Analytics for instance, and also seeing the performance usage on the NetScalers, which will then make it easier for Openmix to make the decision if end-users should be load balanced to region X or Y based upon the weight that was defined on the application or service.

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With these initial thoughts on Cedexis, I'm looking forward to trying the platform in real-scenario, and to seeing what plans Citrix has for the platform.

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