Welcome to ChipChat Network insights, conversations exploring network transformation through interviews with industry experts.
Welcome to ChipChat network insights. My name is Alison Cline. Today I’m joined by Iain, VP of Product Engineering for KEMP Technologies. Welcome Iain!
Hi Alison, how are you doing?
I’m doing great! We have long wanted to have KEMP back on the program, so I’m glad you’re joining us today. We don’t you just give us a brief background on KEMP and your role in product engineering.
Iain: Okay, no problem at all. KEMP has been around since the early 2000s. We make application delivery controllers of all shapes and flavors. That includes hardware appliances, virtual, cloud, all of the usual things that you’d expect. We’ve long been focused on x86 and Intel architectures and my role at KEMP is basically oversee the whole R&D group. We have bases in the US and Ireland, Germany etc so we’ve got quite a diverse team. It keeps me occupied!
Alison: No, obviously KEMP has seen this transition to moving network infrastructure onto industry standard hardware and you’ve been working with Intel for quite a few years on that transition. Can you tell me a little bit about what that means in terms of delivery of network appliances and the flexibility, new capabilities that we’re bringing into the network?
Iain: Obviously Intel continues to move forward their technology base, their number of cores or speed of cores from the basic KEMP processors to some of the more differentiated services in the market, and coming to the market through an integration of different networking technologies, security technologies, virtualization, acceleration technologies. All of these things are things that KEMP put the light on. What we’ve really seen over the last few years is as we’ve transitioned to multi socket boxes and high numbers of core KEMP boxes, we’ve seen a really good scaling of our performance of our appliances, because of the flexibility of working with x86 systems rather than relying on ASIC type hardware based systems that are still popular in some segments.
Alison: Tell me a little bit about KEMP solutions and how you guys see yourselves providing your unique value proposition to the market?
Iain: The key thing from our perspective I suppose is that software is definitely winning, in terms of how people are delivering infrastructure, applications, whether it’s applications on your phone, email client or CRM tool or some other king of business process. These are ultimately all applications. People are seeking to deploy those faster, with greater scale, at different locations. The day of the company or a set of companies being only in one location is pretty small, and people are definitely scaling up more. Or even taking up things like the cloud. So the spirit of the application delivery controller in the, shall we say an L7 intelligent app controller, only becomes more and more relevant as people want to publish more workloads to protect those workloads, through authentication or pre- authentication into those workloads, etc. And KEMP is really at the forefront of seeking of working at those spaces, because of our historic focus on software and being at that kind of software application delivery controller.
Alison: We’ve gone from talking about virtualized networks and SDN, to the point solutions based on this. What has the transition been like? What uptick are you seeing in the market now that we’ve hit 2016?
Iain: KEMP has seen this goal from being very early explorers, people wandering about the technology. I mean we’ve been delivering our SDN adaptive technology for definitely a year to 18 months at this point in production type environments. Once again, definitely a bit early in this sense of, that it’s not rolled out into every networking size, network typology. However, people are much more familiar with the terms and the conversation. This has been a really important step and we see that in some of the shows and events and a number of things as well. It’s definitely a practical, deployable solution.
Alison: Now obviously network performance is incredibly important what in customers are looking at virtualized solutions want to ensure they’re not leaving any performance on the table. Can you tell me a little bit about recent reports on the KEMP products performance characteristics? I know that they were good.
Iain: We did some work recently with ESG and we produced a report .You can get it on our website. It’s really about stating and then reviewing the fact of running our bare metal load balancer, which is the idea that you can take essentially an ISO image, and running that directly on a standard x86 appliance, our server platform and that was very popular and positive for KEMP. So I like to talk about it. One of the quotes that I like that actually quite far down in the report is, “… KEMP delivered near linear price performance scalability, reflecting the advantages of software base solutions, leveraging standard x86 hardware”. I mean, that’s reflected well for us as we’ve continued to have this commitment running on open standard appliances or server platforms, which hare able to scale with cores and networking.
Alison: When we look at integration of open source solutions into the networking stack, can you tell me a little bit about how you worked with Intel in that capacity?
Iain: Yes of course. One of the projects that have been running pretty well is ONP pre-integrating a number of open source components all built around open stack, to allow developers and people who are actually seeking to deploy this in the wild, to take a kind of pre-integrated stack and develop value, or test out all of the different components that would fall within that open stack base, open framework. KEMP has been a long standing supporter of open stack, the LBAS plugin and other things like that, and we’ve been working with Intel on that program as part of our commitment to the broader ecosystem of developers.
Alison: What is the importance for industry collaboration and what is a network builder’s program going to bare when you’re engaging with such a cross section of industry leaders, to drive these solutions to market?
Iain: The key thing for me is that ecosystems are vital. Each company seeks to add its unique flavor to the particular platform and selling. In our case at KEMP, it’s application delivery. Obviously if we can work close with a vendor that’s providing x86 based servers, we’re able to collaborate with them through the network builder’s program or through people building high performance hardware acceleration, devices in the terms of adaptors, etc or maybe at Steve BDK, **** virtualization technologies. All of these things are able to come together into a very broad based ecosystem. The network builders which we’ve been part of since late in 2014, is truly what allowed us to do that, whether it’s shows, events or speaking directly with the Intel development team themselves. It has certainly been a value and a benefit to KEMP.
Alison: If folks want to find out more about the solutions that you’re bringing into the market, where should they go for more information?
Iain: That would be www.kemptechnologies.com. From there you download the ESG report or a virtual appliance, try out our application delivery controller or try out our SDN adaptive technology. That’s all available on the product that you can download from the website and you can be running it today, right now.
Alison: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for being on the program today. It was a real pleasure!
Iain: Thanks Alison. Look forward to talking with you again soon.