In 2021, we published a blog titled 6 Reasons You Need to Replace Your F5 Load Balancer. It outlined why we thought LoadMaster was better for most organizations than F5 for load balancing. Since that blog was published, the value and functional proposition to migrate from F5 to Progress Kemp LoadMaster has become even more compelling.
We recently held an updated webinar titled 7 Reasons to Migrate from F5 to Progress Kemp LoadMaster – Expert Insights, with the goal of providing information to any organization looking to modernize their load balancing infrastructure. We focused on how they could move from F5 BIG-IP to a solution that is more performant, with lower costs, more straightforward to deploy and manage and backed by industry-leading expert human support teams. That is LoadMaster, and we’ll summarize our major reasons below.
Understanding F5 Migration Reasons
Our recent webinar outlines the services that F5 solutions provide. The way they are delivered and licensed means that they may be more than most organizations need to load balance web applications. It then covers why F5 may not be the best choice. And why LoadMaster is an ideal choice that organizations should consider with reasons for migrating from F5.
For one thing, F5 solutions are complex. This makes it challenging to deliver scalability and performance enhancements for web applications, especially when you consider the costs required to deploy the solutions.
There are many interacting layers in the F5 product range, each with a specific function. In many cases, only some of the available functions get used, and the F5 license you buy will enable those and leave the others disabled. However, this unused code is still deployed and needs to be updated when system updates are available, even when you are not using the functionality. This adds attack surface overhead that increases cybersecurity risk.
Reasons Why LoadMaster is a Better Solution
There are many advantages to Kemp LoadMaster that make it a better choice than load-balancing solutions from F5. I’ll summarize seven reasons from the webinar that Andy Redman, Director - Americas Solution Engineering for Progress, explained in detail. If you’d prefer to hear Andy speak, then grab your beverage of choice and watch the webinar recording (<36 minutes). It’s time spent that will repay your investment in saved costs and reduced management overheads for your application delivery team.
Reason 1: Scalability and Performance Enhancement
As noted above, the F5 solution stack is complex. It may include components and functionality you don’t need to deliver an optimal application experience. Even if you have not licensed some parts of the F5 stack, a deployment includes them. Therefore, they are taking up space, must be patched against new security vulnerabilities and add to your management overhead without providing any business benefits.
This complexity makes it more challenging to scale and get the optimal performance benefits from F5-based solutions. LoadMaster removes this complexity through a range of editions without removing the ability to scale and enhance the performance of your web applications.
Reason 2: Cost Savings and ROI
F5 is significantly more expensive when compared to LoadMaster — F5 delivers lower throughput and connections at a higher cost! A comparison between two typical configurations highlights the significant difference in value. A LoadMaster deployment that is only 40% of the cost of an F5 deployment provides:
A 50% increase in data throughput.
Three times as many TLS/SSL transactions per second.
2.5 times as many concurrent connections.
The image below shows the data and the products compared. Other products have similar comparisons. Visit our comparison page to see more details and comparison data.
Reason 3: Advanced Security Features
LoadMaster makes using advanced security features such as a Web Application Firewall (WAF), Security Certificate Management, authentication, web application activity logging and SSL/TLS Security Certificate compliance easy. As a result, they are more likely to be used and maintained over time by your IT and security teams. These security features are available across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.
Configuring and using the security tools built into F5 requires the use of their iRules scripting interface. This provides a lot of functionality but requires deep expertise to configure even the basic protections you’ll want to accomplish with your web apps.
LoadMaster makes security configuration for even the most complex web applications and third-party cloud-based solutions simple via an intuitive web user interface (WUI). We also provide a comprehensive set of templates that system admins can import to configure LoadMaster in an optimal way for many common web applications (e.g., Microsoft, VMware, Oracle, IBM, etc.).
Reason 4: Simplified Management
As mentioned, F5 solutions are complex. Many F5 customers tell us that managing an F5-based infrastructure is a full-time role for someone in their IT team. In addition to making the use of advanced security features easier, templates and the intuitive WUI that LoadMaster provides also make general management easier.
If you are migrating from F5, your team will probably have a set of iRules built up over time. You don’t need to throw this work and configuration history away when migrating to LoadMaster. The LoadMaster Professional Services Team has extensive experience migrating organizations from F5 to LoadMaster. They can help with the iRules migration process or any other required migration steps.
Many web development and deployment workflows use automation. LoadMaster can participate in DevSecOps workflows via our comprehensive PowerShell module or RESTful API.
Reason 5: High Availability and Reliability
LoadMaster is a solution that focuses on delivering the best application experience for users of web applications. A core part of this experience is the availability and reliability of the applications.
LoadMaster makes it possible to deliver continuous uptime for applications using load balancer combinations across local, cloud and global server load balancing instances working in combination. This is the core purpose of any load balancing solution, and LoadMaster makes it much easier to achieve than the complex F5 options.
Reason 6: Flexibility and Customization
The design and deployment of a LoadMaster solution using local, cloud or global load balancing will vary slightly depending on each organization’s network and application infrastructure.
LoadMaster’s WUI and the comprehensive templates that simplify configuration and management will suffice for many deployments. However, flexibility is required for complex network topologies. Organizations can deploy LoadMaster instances to support the logical and physical application server layout that is in use. There are no constraints on how you deploy LoadMaster. An instance can support multiple web applications, or an instance can work with a single server. Our range of licensing models supports the flexibility in how you deploy LoadMaster instances.
Reason 7: Expert Support and Training
The LoadMaster support team is highly skilled and highly rated by our customers. Our customer feedback shows that they provide considerable input into why LoadMaster was initially chosen and then retained as the load-balancing solution of choice.
When you contact LoadMaster support, you connect with a human expert responsible for working with you from the initial ticket through to resolution. Our support teams do not operate a triage system and then hand issues off to second-level and third-level engineers to resolve. No, all of our support team members have the expertise to resolve your issue directly without having to escalate it to other technical experts. Obviously, they have access to our development teams and others to discuss and resolve issues, but this activity is hidden from customers who interact with the support technician first assigned to their case. This blog post from a few years ago covers this topic more deeply.
Industry data backs up our assertion that Progress Kemp LoadMaster has the industry-leading support team. The Gartner Peer Insights page for Application Delivery Controllers (as of October 2023) has LoadMaster with the highest rating of 4.9 out of 5 for customer satisfaction. Our support plays a large part in this top rating. The image below shows the top 2 on the Gartner page in mid-October 2023.
Doug Barney was the founding editor of Redmond Magazine, Redmond Channel Partner, Redmond Developer News and Virtualization Review. Doug has also served as Executive Editor of Network World, Editor in Chief of AmigaWorld and Editor in Chief of Network Computing.
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