An often overlooked resource (free) for small environments or for deployments with low requirements is the use of the Netscaler VPX Express. This is a very powerful device, and the VPX express gives you the features of a Standard Edition VPX express platform but has a few limitations.
- Load Balancing a small XenDesktop or XenApp Farm
- Load Balancing Citrix PVS tftp
- Load Balancing AD request
- Load Balancing DNS
- Load Balancing just about any web site or service…
- Unlimited ICA Proxy connections to XenDesktop/XenApp (still bound by 5 Mpbs throughput)
- Remote access to Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix XenApp (Access Gateway)
- Load Balancing a VMware View deployment (more to come on this one…)
- Full VPN tunnel for up to 5 concurrent users
- Clientless access to Web Sites or File Shares
- External access to Exchange or other web sites and file shares.
- Netscaler Standard Edition Features
- Load Balancing
- Access Gateway
- Content Switching
- Web Logging
- Content Filtering
- URL Rewrite
- Pay as you grow – VPX has all the same features and is only limited by licensing, can pay for a higher edition to expose new features and increase your total throughput
- Netscaler includes 5 free Access Gateway Enterprise Edition concurrent licenses (what does that give me…?)
- Full VPN Tunnel
- EndPoint Analaysis
- Policy Based SmartAccess
- Clientless access to Web Sites and File Shares
I think you get the idea, so what are the major limitations of the Netscaler VPX Express? This sounds too good to be true..
- License only last one year.. (bummer), “but wait there’s more..” but its free and you can just request another license for the next year
- 5 Mbps throughput (this applies to all traffic and can be upgraded with a simple license purchase)
- No SSL offload (this is try of any VPX Netscaler) The Netscaler physical appliances offer SSL offload to dedicated hardware for encryption/decryption. This improved the performance of the box as the CPU doesn’t have to handle the SSL encryption/decryption.
This is only the tip of the iceberg for what the Netscaler can do and the free ones main limitation is the bandwidth which can be upgraded with a license purchase. You can also deploy as many of these appliances as you need to handle the workload, each pair would have the 5 Mpbs limitation. It may not sound like much bandwidth but that is per second.
Test it out, deploy the VPX Express yourself and see what your workload throughput is by putting it through the Netscaler and you may be surprised, maybe the VPX Express will be right for you… The Netscaler VPX Express is easy to deploy and can run on VMware vSphere, Hyper-V and XenServer, there are appliances for each of these hypervisors.