What is Citrix ADC?

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According to some estimates, internet traffic passes through Citrix ADC daily, making it one of the essential networking solutions. 

Here’s what you need to know about the Citrix Application Delivery Controller (ADC).

Citrix ADC Explained

The Citrix ADC (application delivery controller) is a “swiss army knife” of networking products, both hardware and software, that perform essential networking functions. 

In short, the purpose and function of the ADC are to provide the following services:

  • Improve the delivery speed, quality, and availability of applications to end-users regardless of their location and device
  • Optimize web traffic and load balancing, increase visibility and control for all applications, and manage applications’ bandwidth requirements 
  • Enhance application security and resiliency, analyze and spot security risks, and provide protection against known and zero-day attacks, DDoS, etc.
  • Simplify remote access systems through gateway capabilities that consolidate access
  • Improve application delivery troubleshooting and gain actionable insights via in-depth analytics
  • Reduce application delivery costs and IT complexity by simplifying configurations and minimizing the servers needed to provide end-users with service

Currently, the ADC, previously under the Netscaler brand, is supported by the following products:

  • Citrix Application Delivery Management (ADM)
  • Citrix Web App Firewall
  • Citrix Gateway
  • Citrix Web App and API Protection

These are dedicated to enhancing the ADC’s center’s app delivery and security functions.

In addition to the above, the Citrix SD-WAN (software-defined vast area network) is another vital element of the Citrix product ecosystem. It is a virtual wide-area and branch networking architecture that can virtualize and bond any network transport type. 

This allows companies to manage a variety of different connections at the same time and secure them so that users can connect to applications and desktops.

What is Citrix Gateway?

The Citrix Gateway service is one of the main products provided under the ADC line. It is a Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution that functions as a virtual server and allows end-users to gain remote access to the web, mobile, enterprise, and cloud apps from any device through one access point (URL). 

Access is provided based on user roles, location, and the device’s state, to guarantee that apps and data will be protected properly. The gateway also provides users with server load balancing to improve app access.

Types of Citrix ADC

The Citrix ADC is available in four different versions – two hardware-based and two software-based appliances. 

The hardware-based ADCs are Citrix MPX and Citrix SDX. 

The MPX can perform in the range of 500 Mbps–200 Gbps and is suitable for single security-zone deployments such as data centers and managing web applications with larger traffic volumes. The SDX has a range of up to 200 Gbps, is suitable for service providers and data centers, and consolidates several load balancers in one place. It provides both flexible multi-tenancy as well as multi-security-zone deployments. 

The MPX and SDX come in several models, from low-end up to FIPS compliant, depending on clients’ performance and security requirements.

The software-based ADCs are the Citrix VPX and Citrix CPX. 

The VPX is usually used on virtual machine monitors (VMMs or hypervisors) and has a throughput range of 10 Mbps to 100 Gbps. It is suitable for on-premises use by smaller businesses and load balancing for public cloud environments. Secure and remote access, web and app acceleration, and security and offload features are also included. 

Finally, the CPX is a minor Citrix ADC line with a throughput of 1-10 Gbps. It is offered as a container and can be used for cloud and microservices-based applications and to provide load balancing early in the app development process.

Citrix ADC vs. NetScaler

Citrix and NetScaler are different brand names that refer to the same line of products, though these have changed over time and have become more consolidated.

Citrix acquired the NetScaler brand in 2005. In 2016, Citrix consolidated all of its networking products under the name NetScaler and what’s currently known as the Citrix ADC line of network appliances was called Citrix NetScaler. Finally, the NetScaler brand was changed in 2018, with Citrix ADC remaining the official name of this line of products.


What is the difference between Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway?

The Citrix ADC is an application delivery and load balancing solution that improves the speed and quality of applications for end-users. It optimizes traffic, accelerates apps, maintains data security, and is suitable for apps in the range monolithic to microservices. The purpose of the Citrix Gateway service is to provide users with secure access to apps through a single access point, regardless of their device or location.

Is Citrix ADC the same as NetScaler?

Citrix NetScaler is the brand name that was used for the Citrix ADC line of networking products before 2018. The products previously included in the NetScaler stack are now part of the ADC line and perform the same functions. Apart from the NetScaler ADC, this consists of the NetScaler Gateway, NetScaler SD-WAN, and others.

Is Citrix Gateway a VPN?

Yes, Citrix Gateway can be used as a complete SSL VPN solution that enables users to access network resources. It also serves as a single sign-on access point to all web, cloud, mobile, and other apps that users require.

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