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Jul 06 2015

Load Balancing Special, Pt. 3: Practical Implementations

Like many other network management and security functions, load balancing and application delivery control can be implemented on a hard- or a software basis. With our comprehensive portfolio of LoadMaster™ products, we at KEMP cover both types of solutions.

In chapters 1 and 2 of this blog, we briefly recapitulated what server load balancers (SLBs) and application delivery controllers (SDCs) are supposed to achieve and introduced a shortlist of indispensable core functionalities as well as desirable additional features. In the third and final part, we will add a first overview of our catalog and the common capabilities of all product types.

Virtual, Hardware, Cloud or Bare Metal?
As a leading provider of SLB and ADC technology, KEMP Technologies offers a host of solutions that can be implemented at various positions in a given infrastructure. Such flexibility notwithstanding, customers will have to answer these crucial preliminary questions before they invest their money: "How many servers, concurrent connections and users do we have to accommodate? Which applications do we have to support? Do we want a hardware-based or a virtual solution? And if we opt for the latter, should we deploy it on-premises or in the cloud?"

Once these decisions have been made, they may choose from these implementation options:

  • Hardware appliances: KEMP hardware SLBs and ADCs are whose only focus is on the specific load balancing/application delivery task at hand. As a result, IT departments can specify performance and capacity in absolute metrics and thus offer 'guaranteed' levels of bandwidth and throughput. This is particularly useful in large enterprise scenarios or if they have to manage specifically demanding applications such as Microsoft Exchange or Lync. KEMP appliances are available in 10 editions that can handle between 1.2 and 30 Gb/s application throughput and between 4.3 and 75.8 million concurrent connections.
  • Virtual load balancers: The Virtual LoadMaster™ (VLM) product family is basically a 'software edition' of the aforesaid solution that runs as a hardened virtual appliance on a dedicated VM. While being specifically easy to manage thanks to its intuitive Web GUI, it delivers the same advanced functionality as its hardware counterpart and is therefore the ADC platform of choice for highly virtualized environments that use hypervisors from VMware, Microsoft, and Oracle or open source implementations like KVM and Xen.
  • Bare metal solutions: Like VLM, this product line rolls up all ADC capabilities into a single software package that can then be deployed to any x86 server. Quite unlike VLM, however, this package does not require a pre-installed operating or hypervisor, but effectively replaces them, which is why we call it the LoadMaster™ Operating System for Bare Metal or LMOS for short. LMOS enables IT departments to pair KEMP's software with the most popular platforms from leading server vendors, such as Fujitsu's PRIMERGY RX Series, in order to create high-end, dedicated ADCs that offer superior performance.
  • Cloud load balancers and ADCs: These devices are essentially identical with the VLM product family, but have been optimized for hybrid cloud and public cloud deployments on Amazon's AWS and Microsoft's Azure platforms.

Common Capabilities
All KEMP Technologies solutions, regardless of whether they're physical or virtual, share the following core capabilities:

  • Layer4/7 Load Balancing
  • Content switching
  • Caching, compression engine
  • Pre-configured virtual service templates
  • IPS Engine
  • High availability
  • TMG (Threat Management Gateway) replacement included
  • GSLB Multi-Site Load Balancing
  • RESTful APIs

In addition, they uniformly support these applications:

  • VMware Horizon Suite
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructures
  • CRM Systems
  • Apache Server
  • Oracle E-Business Suite
  • Oracle WebLogic
  • IBM WebSphere
  • Mobile Device Management
  • Unified Communications
  • Intranet applications

Plus, they were optimized for a vast array of Microsoft workloads, specifically

  • MS Exchange 2010/2013
  • MS Lync 2010/2013
  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
  • MS SharePoint
  • Dynamics
  • Office Web Apps
  • Azure-hosted workloads
  • ADFS
  • IIS
  • Custom .NET applications

Knowing how many organizations today rely on Microsoft Office applications as a quasi-standard, we also offer two dedicated hardware solutions, LoadMaster™ for Microsoft Exchange and LoadMaster™ for Microsoft Lync, to enable easy implementation, more efficient request distributions and faster response times.

Conclusion
With its comprehensive set of hardware appliances and software packages, KEMP Technologies provides SLB and ADC solutions that fit into any environment, regardless of server platform, operating system, hypervisor or application – but also company size and IT skills. To learn more about our products, please visit our home page.

For an introduction to the concept of Load Balancing and core capabilities of modern SLBs and ADCs, please refer to Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog.

Thomas Kurz

 

About the Author:

Thomas Kurz

Guest author, Director Channel & Alliances DACH, EE & MENA KEMP Technologies Europe.

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