Akamai and Citrix are linking up to offer global application optimisation, combining Akamai's Internet-based web application acceleration (WAA) service with Citrix NetScaler application optimisation gear in customer sites.

The companies claimed that putting the two together means you get routing and connection optimisation in the WAN, working in concert with application optimisation in the datacentre.

Because Akamai has servers and caches in ISP co-location centres all over the world, it can do caching and route optimisation within the Internet. By contrast, the likes of NetScaler, Zeus ZXTM, F5's BigIP and Cisco ACE can optimise at the application level - but they sit at the edge of the WAN, next to your web servers.

Akamai acknowledged last year when it launched its own IP application acceleration service that Internet-based technology can't do certain things, in particular application optimisation. Add a NetScaler box at the web server end and now it can.

"It's a realisation and opportunity for both vendors that some optimisations are better served in the datacentre, while others are better served in the cloud," said Malcolm Rowe, Akamai's regional manager for northern Europe. "Customers are already doing this on their own and we are now making it easier for them to put the required pieces together."

He added, "Each solves different application delivery bottlenecks. It depends on which optimisations can be most beneficial for the specific customer application delivery scenario and use case - and in many cases, but not all, both can be helpful."

The partnership shows that the two companies now understand and recognise that each technology have its boundaries, Rowe said.

He was unable to say if Akamai's agreement with Citrix was an exclusive one, stating only that both were "committed to making this strategic alliance successful."