It would seem that Cisco could be looking to buy the Netscaler Application Delivery (read: load balancer) platform from Citrix.
In several articles posted online from Barrons, StreetInsider.com, and NetworkWorld, per analysts from Oppenheimer, Cisco is working out a deal to OEM the Citrix Netscaler ACD platform to replace the end of life Cisco ACE.
Now, OEM deals happen all of the time. But anyone who knows Cisco, knows that an OEM deal usually means they are testing the waters of acquisition. It’s just a matter time.
This all makes sense too because right now Cisco doesn’t have a layer 4- 7 product anymore and they desperately need something.
Network engineers who work on big load balanced web properties, like Amazon, Walmart, Match.com, etc., know there are really only two load balancers that are up to the challenge to handle lots of traffic … Thats Citrix Netscaler and F5 Big-IP.
So for Cisco to make a move toward one of those companies would be a smart move for Cisco.
Smart for Cisco but bad for anyone who loves Netscaler.
Remember that the Cisco ACE load balancer was originally the CSS load balancer that was part of the acquisition of Arrowpoint. Around 2002-2003 Cisco bought Arrowpoint and added the CSS load balancer to their arsenal of networking gear. This time they were replacing the Local Director and Global Director (which both really sucked)
At that time the Arrowpoint load balancer was one the best devices of the time. That is until Cisco bought it and stopped putting the resources into it that’s necessary to stay ahead in this ever evolving game.
And so the CSS and the ACE withered on the vine until it was dead.
Now Cisco is on the move to destroy acquire another great load balancer. Only this time it looks like it’s going to be Netscaler.
Per Ittai Kidron from Oppenheimer – Cisco is “close to signing an OEM agreement with Citrix for its Netscaler ADC” which might replace the “ACE” product line being discontinued by Cisco.
The Netscaler product is “a high-quality solution for enteprise/small and medium businesses,” writes Kidron, and he thinks Cisco can put pressure on F5:
F5′s enterprise/SMB sales could come under pressure and so could Radware’s. Longer term, we believe Cisco could move to acquire NetScaler. We see near-term headwinds for F5/Radware (RDWR).
Personally, as an investor it sounds like a great deal. But I don’t see where the “Pressure” on F5 will come from.
Granted as a user of Netscaler devices, Cisco’s TAC support will add a desperately needed breath of fresh air to the less than stellar support of Citrix for the Netscaler. Also Cisco’s sales force is huge and has a lot of muscle.
But the facts stand that F5 make a serious line of amazing load balancers and application firewalls that can easily keep pace with and arguably outperform comparable devices from Citrix Netscaler.
From the Viprion to the newest line of 4200V Big-IP ADC devices, F5 have some great application delivery appliances and doesn’t have too much to worry about.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Cisco buying Netscaler is good thing or do you think Cisco will do the same thing to Netscaler that they did with the CSS/ACE?