In Software Defined Networking (SDN), a software application controller manages a network and its activities instead of hardware that supports the network. That is, SDN allows the network administrators to virtualize a physical network connectivity into a logical network connectivity and manage network services using a software based centralized management tool. SDN allows network engineers and administrators to respond to rapidly changing business requirements.
While the better known advantages of SDN are traffic programmability, greater agility, the ability to create policy driven network supervision, and implementing network automation, some of the specific advantages of SDN are listed below:
- Centralized network provisioning
- Increased network security at granular level
- Reduced operating costs
- Increased levels of cloud abstraction
- Guaranteed content delivery
- Reduced network downtime
NetScaler Management and Analytics System (MAS) supports SDN in enterprises network by integrating with SDN controllers of different vendors. NetScaler MAS supports both VMware NSX Manager and Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC).
NetScaler MAS integrates with VMware network virtualization platform to automate the deployment, configuration, and management of NetScaler services. This integration abstracts away the traditional complexities associated with physical network topology, enabling vSphere/vCenter administrators to programmatically deploy NetScaler services faster.
VMware NSX Manager exposes logical firewalls, switches, routers, ports, and other networking elements to allow virtual networking among diverse hypervisors, cloud management systems, and associated network hardware. It also supports external networking, and security services.
The Cloud Orchestration feature of NetScaler MAS enables the integration of Citrix NetScaler products with VMware NSX, and provides the following capabilities:
- Ability to allocate a pre-provisioned VPX on-demand to a certain Edge gateway as part of service insertion.
- Ability to configure advanced features of NetScaler such as SSL and CS along with basic load balancing through application templates on the instances that are running inside NSX environment.
- Ability to de-allocate a VPX from a certain Edge gateway as part of service deletion and re-allocate the same VPX for another Edge gateway.
- Ability to rapidly deploy NetScaler ADC functions from the vCenter console as part of the deployment workflow of all the infrastructure required for an application.
- Automated, on-demand allocation of new ADC services as part of an application deployment workflow
- Simplified configuration of application specific, advanced ADC functionality through application templates
- Multi-tenant separation-of-duties and a self-service consumption model while providing cloud administrators a single point of control
- Easier integration with NetScaler MAS API's, which help to support unanticipated future uses.
For more information on how to configure VMware NSX Manager on NetScaler MAS, see Integrating NetScaler Appliances with VMware NSX Manager.
Cisco ACI introduced support for Hybrid Mode in version 1.3 (2f). In Hybrid Mode, you can perform network automation through the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), while delegating the L4-L7 configuration to NetScaler MAS, which acts as a Device Manager in the APIC.
The NetScaler Hybrid Mode solution is supported by a hybrid mode device package and NetScaler MAS. You need to upload the hybrid mode device package in the APIC. For more information, see NetScaler Automation Using NetScaler MAS in Cisco ACI's Hybrid Mode.