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Advanced Traffic Manager and App Gateway in Microsoft Azure

An important issue when discussing and designing load balancing solutions is how to achieve high availability and disaster recovery for your infrastructure. Many organizations use public Cloud infrastructure such as Microsoft Azure to achieve this. Critical factors such as capacity planning for service availability, and whether service can be recovered quickly in a fail over scenario, need to be planned and implemented correctly. A core component for delivering a solution for this is load balancers that work with Azure or a hybrid cloud infrastructure.

While Azure provides native load balancing capabilities, our KEMP Virtual LoadMaster (VLM) significantly improves on these via advance features like application delivery and load balancing in Layer 7 of the network stack. Other features that KEMP VLM delivers for Azure based and hybrid infrastructure deployments are:

  • Client authentication and single sign-on (SSO) – Being able to access all of the applications and resources that you need to do business whilst signing in once using a single, secure user account. Once signed in, you can access all of the applications you need without being required to authenticate (e.g. type a password) for each one.
  • High Performance Layer 4 & Layer 7 Application Load Balancing – Ensures each user gets the best application experience possible.
  • Intelligent Global Site Traffic Distribution – Intelligent distribution of traffic across server resources located in multiple locations. The servers can be on premise in a company’s own data centers, or in any datacenter within the Azure regions.
  • Application Health Checking – Guarantees user requests will be directed to available servers, and also only to available application instances running on those servers.
  • IP and Layer 7 Persistence – Ensures that users maintain continuous connections with the specific server where their transactional data is located even if the IP address changes during a session.
  • Content Switching – Enables site administrators to optimize server traffic according to content type. This allows images, video and other application data to be sent to the servers best suited to handle it.
  • SSL Acceleration and Offload – Optimized server performance and user experience for encrypted application content by offloading SSL processing from the web and application servers.
  • Compression – Reduces latency associated with internal network while further optimizing performance over existing internet connections.
  • Caching – Increases performance by caching frequently accessed content locally so it can be served more rapidly when requested. Removes the time needed to request the content from web servers.
  • Intrusion Prevention Systems – Helps guard against application-level malware and other threats. Even on SSL- encrypted traffic.

The Virtual LoadMaster for Azure is a robust enterprise-class product with all the features expected from such a solution. In addition to the features listed above it also provides native IPsec VPN for hybrid deployments, a Web application firewall (WAF), a RESTful API and PowerShell API for scripted and command line automation. KEMP VLM has support for Applications on both Basic and Standard tier Azure virtual machines. It also supports multiple workloads on a single public IP with SSL & TLS termination and encryption. On top of all that it also provides an intuitive web user interface for administration and monitoring if you don’t want to use the powerful scripting interfaces. KEMP VLM is available through the Azure Marketplace. You can try five distinct variants of the solution with throughput ranging from 20 Mbps to a 10GB version.

Deploying KEMP VLM in a cloud approach will allow an organization to seamlessly migrate their business applications to a hybrid cloud scenario using Azure deployment, and scale their services according to their business needs and also accommodate changes as the business evolves.

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