Channel Players Citrix and Akamai Forge Strategic Link

The new alliance will enable channel partners to more easily deliver end-to-end application solutions to enterprise customers worldwide. Both companies will work closely with system integrators to combine their web application delivery offerings into integrated solutions.

Application delivery infrastructure vendor Citrix Systems and network acceleration vendor Akamai Technologies have struck a strategic partnership that will enable channel  partners to more easily deliver end-to-end application solutions to enterprise customers worldwide.

As part of the agreement, executives with both companies said they will work closely with system integrators to combine each company’s web application delivery offerings into integrated solutions that enhance the performance, scalability and security of enterprise web applications. The companies intend to leverage Citrix’s premise-based NetScaler product line and Akamai’s cloud-based Web Application Accelerator service to have the channel deliver end-to-end web applications to Internet and enterprise customers.  

The two companies established a partner assistance program to help channel partners offer bundled solutions that better capitalize on Citrix hardware and Akamai's network. In the announcement, the companies said unspecified "leading integrators" will announce solutions in upcoming months.

The strategic move could have widespread competitive implications in the hotly contested acceleration market, where other channel-oriented vendors such as Cisco, Riverbed and Blue Coat Systems are vying for market share.

"This is a recognition both by customers as well as two industry leaders that in order to solve application delivery scenarios truly end-to-end, there are certain optimizations that are best in the cloud and others that are best in the data center," said Neil Cohen, senior manager for Akamai application acceleration.

"The idea is that customers can now get better performance, availability, scale and security for their application then either service could provide on it own," he said.

It's not immediately how much users may expect to gain in speed from the partnership. Citrix and Akamai plan to issue an upcoming benchmarking report detailing the benefits.

As part of the agreement, the companies will also establish an online community built around sharing the best practices of enabling Citrix hardware with Akamai's network. At least initially, however, Akamai will not be reselling Citrix hardware and Citrix will not be directly reselling Akamai's network, Cohen said.

Though both have been selling their respective solutions individually for years, the reason for partnering now has a lot to with market maturity, they said. "Increasingly, application delivery is looked at as a vital function for the business,"  said Greg Smith, product marketing director in Citrix's Application Network group.

That wasn't necessarily the case a few years ago, Smith said, with different teams within an enterprise handling network and application needs.

While the two companies' partnership is being formally announced this week, Cohen said Citrix and Akamai have been working together for the past six months to make their technologies work well together. During the testing period, part of the work involved identifying how to seamlessly hand off packets from NetScaler to the Akamai service.

(This article was adapted from, reported by Sean Michael Kerner and edited by Al Senia.)

TAGS: Citrix,Enterprise,network acceleration,Akamai,system integrators

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