NetScaler 11 „ION“ Admin Partitions

We know it since well over a year that they are coming and they have already been made available in the current Enhancement Build releases („.e“ builds): Admin Partitions.

Thanks to Citrix Synergy currently spitting out official news, we can now talk about many things more openly. Among these is the upcoming release of NetScaler 11.0, codename ION. Expected sometime during summer 2015, ION will bring loads and loads of fascinating features, I would like to rave about, but for now let’s have a look at Admin Partitions.

Admin Partitions are mainly driven by many Cisco ACE migrations, where admins used the so called Contexts to separate applications, traffic, resources and administrative access. NetScaler provides similar possibilities through SDX instances and Traffic Domains, where SDX means total separation including firmware versions and Traffic Domains allow separation of traffic flows within a single instance (or MPX), but without administative separation. Admin Partitions now close that last gap and deliver a full match for ACE Contexts, allowing 500 partitions on a single NetScaler instance to seperate all layers including administration and resources.

While not overly interesting for many original ADC deployments, this massively supports migration of larger ACE installations. Imagine a deployment with 25 ACE Contexts; until today the answer was to get SDX appliances, put multiple instances on there and think about which workloads and tasks from the 25 Contexts could be combined in the same instances, if you did not opt for the larger SDXes to provide 40 or 80 instances. And to be honest, not many deployments need the bare throughput of those big boxes and if so, their CPU core count might soon limit the number of instances well below the theoretically possible number. With ION you will be able to privision fewer instances with solid resource assignments and split them up internally again in the known manner of Contexts to provide separate administration, traffic flow and resource allocation.