NetScaler aims to help hosting nets

By Phil Hochmuth, Network World |  Networking

NetScaler this week will announce two new Web switches designed to speed up Web traffic for large content delivery networks.

The NetScaler 3100 and 3200 content switches are targeted at hosted application and content service providers. The switches inspect packets from incoming traffic flows at the transport layer -- Layer 4 -- for redirecting traffic to the most available server.

The switches are also designed to look at the application layer, or Layer 7, of a packet, which routes traffic to the appropriate application or Web server more quickly.

The NetScaler 3100 provides redundant 10/100M bit/sec ports while the 3200 model moves traffic at 1G bit/sec. Both boxes can support up to one million simultaneous client/server connections, NetScaler officials say.

Through load balancing and cache redirection, NetScaler switches also can avoid traffic slowdowns that may occur when only Web caching devices are used, says Rakesh Singh, director of product marketing for NetScaler.

"Once a cache runs into dynamic content or interactive content . . . it becomes inefficient in terms of making a decision as to what to serve vs. what to redirect," Singh says.

The NetScaler switches can sit between a cache and an ingress router to determine if it should direct the request to a cache or original server.

NetScaler's products compete with Cisco, Nortel Networks, Foundry Networks and Top Layer Networks in the Layer 4 to Layer 7 switch market for service providers. Research firm IDC predicts the worldwide Web switching market will jump from $203 million in 1999 to more than $4 billion by 2004.

The NetScaler 3100 and 3200 are available and cost $20,000 and $25,000 respectively.

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