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Citrix looks to improve Web application delivery with NetScaler 9

Citrix says its latest Web application delivery release will shorten sales cycles and bring new opportunities to solution providers.

Citrix Systems has announced its latest Web application delivery release, NetScaler 9, which the company said will shorten sales cycles and create new channel opportunities.

The highlight is a system of templates that help users configure increasingly complex Web applications like Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, Oracle E-Business Suite and SAP. Without the templates, it would take some customers months to figure out how to optimize their Web applications -- a process that partners often got dragged into, said Greg Smith, director of product marketing at Citrix.

"Now they don't have to," he said. "We've done the work for them."

NetScaler 9 can reduce Web application delivery costs by up to 50% and cut deployment times from days to minutes, according to Citrix. That makes it easy for partners to show customers their return on investment (ROI), said Jason Gress, president and founder of InterVision Systems Technologies, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based Citrix partner.

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"It really cuts down on the man-hours it takes to optimize," Gress said.

The focus on ROI is a good strategy in this tough economy, because customers are being especially deliberate about their IT spending decisions, Gress added.

"This is the kind of message you need to be taking to market," he said.

With its focus on Web application optimization -- not just delivery -- NetScaler 9 will have wider appeal at customer sites, which will also make it easier for partners to sell it, Smith said.

"[Earlier versions] looked like and smelled like a pure network device," he said. "That sort of thwarted the whole sales cycle."

NetScaler 9 also gives Citrix partners opportunities to customize the Web application delivery software for customers and differentiate themselves in the market. For example, the templates will be available on the Citrix Community website, where partners can customize them for clients in specific vertical industries, Smith said. Partners can also build their own policies or integrate policies from other servers or applications using new "callout service" technology.

"It's probably a little premature to say what services we can build around that, but the potential is there, definitely," Gress said.

Citrix NetScaler 9 will be available Nov. 27.

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