One of the most complex projects to work on as a network engineer or system administrator is the implementation of load balanced, redundant connectivity to application servers. There are many different best in class designs to choose from and deciding which technology to use is a hot topic among network architects. Several of the leading hardware vendors like Barracuda, Cisco, Citrix, F5, and Riverbed offer their own flavor of solution to help solve the ever present problem of "how do we improve our application response time?".

Once you've finished the network design, selected the hardware, and implemented the solution it's still sometimes hard to tell exactly how helpful these specialized appliances are being. Load balancers and application accelerators are great technologies but there is a lot of fine tuning that can be done within their configurations and without tools designed specifically for monitoring application performance before, thru, and after these devices, configuration optimization can feel a little bit like shooting in the dark.

Recently, we worked with Citrix to help solve this problem for users leveraging their NetScaler load balancers. Citrix has helped to develop and is standing behind a technology called "AppFlow" which is similar to the NetFlow used to analyze network traffic through routers and switches but designed specifically for monitoring application traffic thru load balancers and WAN accelerators. Here at SolarWinds we've recently announced a new free tool called the Real-time AppFlow Analyzer. This new tool, available for download on, makes analyzing application traffic passing through Citrix NetScaler Load Balancers easy.

Like other SolarWinds free tools, this is a non-expiring, fully functional application. The Real-time AppFlow Analyzer also analyzes NetFlow, Jflow, and sFlow so you can understand network traffic performance on the routers adjacent to your load balancers.

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