Citrix has launched a virtualised version of its NetScaler MPX product, an offering that a company executive has described as a "game changer".

The NetScaler VPX, is a software-based virtual appliance product that offers a fundamentally different approach to the growing convergence of virtualisation and networking in the data centre.

"So many of customers have looked at application delivery and virtualisation," said Damian Saunders, manager of application delivery services at Citrix UK. "One way that this could be used is that customers could have a software approach to application delivery and redeploy the ADC [application delivery controller] hardware elsewhere in the enterprise."

Saunders said that the company has now moved into a space that didn't previously exist. "No-one else has got products in the virtualisation and the ADC market. "We don't really have any competition for this product at the moment. And it's a product that customers have been really asking for - we expect about 30 percent of our unit sales will be soft."

Because the software product would be so much cheaper than the hardware offering, the product would become much more attractive to smaller businesses, companies that previously might have been shut out of the ADC market.

He added, however, that the company had not released any pricing for the product."We aiming to release next quarter but we're going to wait until the end of the beta trials before we set our prices."

"SoftADCs will be an important component of the ADC market, serving customers from small to mid-size enterprises where price is critical to large enterprise and cloud data centres where flexibility and agility are paramount," said Joe Skorupa, Research VP at Gartner. "By 2013, SoftADCs will account for nearly one third of all ADC units shipped."*