Software Load Balancing overtakes F5 and Citrix Hardware

Software ADC vs F5 and Citrix Hardware

Back in 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore predicted that computing power would double every year. In the 52 years since Moore shared his theory, computing power has indeed grown exponentially. But so, have the power-consumption costs and maintenance costs associated with that hardware. As processing power has increased, the price for acquiring that power has decreased, leaving data centers with underutilized hardware that consumes precious space.

To prevent power-consumption and maintenance costs from gobbling up large chunks of their budgets, and increasing number of Enterprises are jettisoning their physical appliances in favor of the flexibility, elasticity, and scalability offered by virtualization and the cloud. And why not?

Virtualization abstracts hardware and allows for the consolidation of multiple services and functions on a single physical system. It’s less about saving space and power these days and more about having easier access to computing, moving to a private cloud model, and preventing under-use of over-provisioned systems.

Virtualized infrastructure is made available to the public as a “public cloud” or to one organization as a “private cloud.” The cloud operating model is all about higher levels of automation, moving to an infrastructure-as-code model, reducing certain costs associated with traditional data center architecture and building leaner teams. To get here, virtualization is a pre-requisite whether done in a private, hosted or public cloud ecosystem.

Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) are following this virtualization/cloud migration in step. No longer relegated to merely balancing loads and directing network traffic, today’s ADCs deliver services for ensuring availability and improving performance within the data center and into the cloud. And as the virtualization/cloud computing landscape evolves, ADCs need to keep up by providing a flexible, adaptable platform. ADCs are also used in troubleshooting issues and helping to identify application user experience issues given their placement in critical paths and the fact that the ADC seeks key indicators about how user flows are performing.

Enterprises moving to a cloud operating model require technology vendors with a software-centric approach which includes:

  1. Core functionality of the product decoupled from the underlying hardware
  2. Capacity to extract higher performance from common off the shelf (COTS) x86 architecture without the need for custom silicon and FPGAs
  3. Portable products providing capabilities everywhere, at the same time, regardless of the deployed form factor
  4. Ability to deliver a central view and connectivity across the boundaries of public and private cloud

Traditional hardware-centric ADCs F5 Big-IP and Citrix NetScaler come up short when it comes to meeting the needs of virtualization/cloud users and their modern application use cases. Instead of offering a clear path to virtualization and the cloud, they force users into rigid and expensive hardware upgrades, while turning a blind eye to elasticity, agility, and cost. A Gartner blog by Andrew Lerner warned enterprises against this approach. Calling it “network incrementalism,” Lerner encouraged enterprises to avoid companies and solutions that offered “small tactical, iterative changes” focused on short-term advantages instead of “foundational and/or strategic changes” that offer longer-term benefits. (Source: Avoiding Network Incrementalism, Andrew Lerner, December 5, 2016,)

Enterprises who have moved to the cloud or are planning to do so, need licensing and flexible consumption models that are tailor made for cloud. Licensing offered by legacy hardware vendors does not offer the required agility and flexibility needed. KEMP’s metered licensing and consumption model is pay-as-you-use. This offers immense improvement for organizations over the traditional approach to data center planning of paying for what you think you might use over the next 3 – 5 years.

The KEMP LoadMaster is a software load balancer that runs as comfortably in cloud and virtualized environments as it does on physical hardware. This dual personality makes the LoadMaster the ideal ADC for organizations that have made the move to virtual/cloud environments, as well as those that have not yet made the jump or run a mix of physical and virtual/cloud-native applications. Software-defined LoadMaster ADC answers requirements for moving to virtualization

  • A clear path to public, private or hybrid cloud operating models
  • Computing with application capabilities everywhere, at the same time
  • Improved availability and performance within the data center and cloud
  • Preventing under-use of over-provisioned systems
  • Reducing costs of traditional data center architecture
  • A central view and connectivity across public and private cloud building leaner teams

LoadMaster combined with KEMP 360 Central and metered licensing (MELA) delivers a truly cloud-centric software-focused approach. With KEMP’s LoadMaster, even if an organization has a requirement for hardware appliances now or in the future, they can easily migrate configurations and licensing to alternative form factors and models as their requirements change or if they start to adopt new technology.

Organizations seeking to rejuvenate their current load-balancing appliances have the unique opportunity to obtain a virtual/cloud-ready solution with the KEMP LoadMaster. Recognized by Gartner as the most visionary company within the ADC industry, KEMP offers superior capabilities in both physical and virtual/cloud environments. Ease of use and state-of-the-art features, and a compelling price point now make the benefits of the software-defined LoadMaster ADC within reach of all organizations, regardless of size and budget.
Information on how software-defined LoadMaster ADCs can help your company liberate itself from the limitations imposed by hardware and gain true software independence, is available here.

Maurice McMullin

Maurice McMullin

Maurice McMullin is a Principal Product Marketing Manager in Kemp Technologies with too many years of experience in the development and marketing of networking and security products. He has worked in organizations of all sizes ranging from two person startups through to multinationals in roles as varied as programmer and CTO.

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