Kemp Bolsters Performance in Load Balancer Update

Kemp Technologies updated its LoadMaster family of load balancers with two new mid-range devices that have the same features as other models but improved performance and SSL encryption processing.

Kemp Technologies added new mid-range appliances to its LoadMaster family of load balancers, the company said Jan. 18.

Kemp targets budget-conscious small and midsized businesses with its LoadMaster family. Designed to be easy to use and deploy, the LoadMaster appliances provide enterprise-scale features and performance to the smaller businesses. Kemp stratifies its hardware appliances on performance, namely bandwidth capabilities, and not on features, according to Peter Melerud, co-founder and vice president of product management at Kemp Technologies.

This family of load balancers and application controllers includes virtual appliances and four hardware appliances: the LoadMaster 2200, 2600, 3600 and 5500. The LoadMaster 2600 replaced the LoadMaster 2500, and the LoadMaster 3600 replaced the LoadMaster 3500, according to Melerud.

The same features and functions are available across all four models, but "the difference is speed," he said. According to Melerud, the needs of the smallest businesses are "essentially the same" as the largest enterprises.

"We can't say, -You are too small; you don't need to optimize your network.' If nothing else, they need it more than the large enterprises," Melerud told eWEEK.

The two new appliances are not just a refresh of the two mid-range boxes as the new models have significantly faster performance and throughput speeds, Melerud said.

Both models are server-load-balancing, content-switching appliances that improve performance for Web-enabled applications, Kemp said. With integrated ASIC-based (application-specific IC-based) SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) acceleration, the new LoadMasters speed up processing time for encrypted applications. They offer a performance boost for 2,048-bit length keys.

Like the rest of the family, these new LoadMasters provide customers with application delivery optimization, high availability, and fault tolerance, Kemp said.

The LoadMaster 2600 and LoadMaster 3600 both handle caching, compression and SSL offloading. The 2600 features 4 GbE ports and has better performance, compared with the retired 2500. It handles increased traffic loads with Layer-7 throughput at 1.5G bps and can process 2,000 SSL transactions per second.

The 3600 appliance has 8 GbE ports and can support as many as 1,000 virtual and real servers. It can also maintain 100,000 Layer-7 concurrent connections or 2 million Layer-4 concurrent transactions. Its performance has also been boosted to have a Layer-4 throughput of 3.4G bps and Layer-7 throughput of 2.9G bps. Its SSL processing performance has also been increased to 5,000 SSL transactions per second.

Like the other products in the LoadMaster family, the new LoadMaster models are optimized for Microsoft Exchange 2010, Lync, SharePoint and Terminal Services. The new appliances can also be redundantly paired together so that network managers can view and manage them as a single entity from the administration console.

According to Melerud, each appliance is assigned its own IP address, and after it is paired, another IP address is assigned to the new entity as the management address. The administrator points the Web browser to the third IP address to make any changes. Those changes immediately propagate to each individual appliance, Melerud said.

The new appliances are also interoperable with the earlier models, so customers don't have to wait before installing the newer LoadMasters. Customers can also buy an appliance, install it and buy a second one later. Once the license information is updated in the management interface, the console automatically pairs the load balancers and displays them as a single unit, Melerud said.

The models are available for shipping. The 2600 is priced at $6,990, and the 3600 at $9,890. The prices include first-year support. Customers with the older 2500 and 3500 appliances will continue to be supported until end-of-life, Melerud said.