NetScaler's 9950 system is aimed at the large enterprise market, giving them a full range of processing power from the entry-level 9050 products to the top 9900 devices.

Following the all-black color scheme used in the 9000 range, the 9950 is a 2U device with four copper gigabit Ethernet ports. The unit can be supplied with fiber connections.

The front panel houses a liquid crystal display showing status and diagnostic information, real-time statistics and alerts. The device can be monitored using a browser-based GUI that provides a wealth of statistical information.

The "NetScaler Dashboard" requires Java and can run on Windows, Linux or Solaris platforms. The Dashboard can display data for CPU and memory use, system throughput and traffic details. Statistics are available for types of traffic, such as SSL and http, and the performance of each network interface card can be measured.

Installations are performed by NetScaler personnel, which is an advantage given the configuration options and services available.

The system is configured and managed using the command line interface (CLI) over a serial link or a Secure Shell but a number of the options can be accessed from a browser-based interface, making use of the CLI less frequent. The browser-based interface is reasonably intuitive, with good online help available. This is a useful adjunct to the system documentation which, although comprehensive, generally refers only to the command line.

Documentation is extensive. The section on SSL acceleration runs to 114 pages and this covers only one aspect of the device's capabilities, which includes content switching, content filtering, server load balancing, SSL VPN support and web server logging. Load balancing can be extended to firewalls if required.

The system offers back-end encryption facilities and has a transparent option that will allow the same address to be used for encrypted and plain text traffic.

The system provides certificate and key management features such as new certificate requests and self-signed certificates for test purposes. Keys and certificates are stored securely in the unit.