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Top 6 iRules Kemp Can Do Without the Headache of Writing iRules

by Frank Yue
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Load balancers do not have to be complicated.  They should not require advanced expertise to configure and manage.  Our intention at Kemp is to make the Kemp LoadMaster load balancer, and our other products, as functionally rich as possible with minimal custom configuration or additional scripting needed.

Some load balancers provide functionality via data plane scripting that sit alongside their core functionality. For example, the popular iRules scripting that is used with F5 load balancers is virtually required for fundamental load balancing capabilities.

At Kemp, we aim to have as much functionality as possible built into the core LoadMaster operating system where it can be compiled and made more secure. We won’t foresee every organization’s unique use cases. Hence, we also provide the ability to script LoadMaster so that it can be part of broader DevOps, security, and application experience (AX) infrastructure deployments.

To demonstrate the Kemp approach, here are six areas of functionality that are provided by iRules on F5 load balancers compared to how Kemp implements them.

1. HTTP to HTTPS Redirection – No script needed.  LoadMaster can redirect incoming HTTP requests on port 80 to HTTPS requests on port 443. This is configured directly in the LoadMaster Web User Interface (WUI). See this support page for details.

2. Persistence Based on SessionID – No script required.  LoadMaster provides persistence (session affinity) based on SessionID as a core feature. This is useful for shopping cart and similar applications that require a client to be reconnected to the same server (with their items in the shopping cart) if they break the connection for any reason.  Layer 7 persistence methods

3. Trace a User Session – iRules include a script to allow logging of a UserID if they are authenticated, or their SessionID if not. So that their activity on a site can be tracked and recorded. This functionality is provided as part of the Edge Security Pack (ESP) within the LoadMaster product.

4. Insert Client SSL Certificate into Server Header – No script needed.  LoadMaster includes this functionality in the core product via the WUI.  SSL Accelerated Services

5. DNS Name Switching – No script needed.  The F5 iRule that performs this function uses the term ‘Proxypass’. LoadMaster supports DNS Name Switching in the core operating system. Loadmaster can also do URL rewriting for inbound and outbound traffic.  How to Match a Particular Hostname and Send to a Server

6. Maintenance Page – No script needed.  LoadMaster includes the ability to upload a maintenance page that is used when required if a backend server is not available for any reason. This is useful for planned maintenance windows. How to configure Not Available Redirection.

Load balancing does not require an in-house programmer or expensive consultants. When the solution is built right, the technology can be easy to configure and manage. Do not let complexity stop you from using key technologies to build a world-class network and deliver an optimal application experience.

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