Kemp Offers Load Balancer for SMB Hosts

KEMP Technologies has launched a new virtual-appliance application delivery controller called Virtual LoadMaster, which handles load balancing for managed service and hosting providers. New appliance gives managed providers serving the SMB market an enterprise-scale load balancer.

Through better load balancing of both physical and virtual servers, MSPs and MHPs can reduces or eliminate the amount of hardware needed and better maintain costs associated with power consumption, cooling, rack space constraints and other environmental dependencies of hardware-based appliances.

The Virtual LoadMaster is specifically for MSPs and MHPs aimed at the SMB world. Initially, hosted and managed services were only for the enterprise/large customers, but as hardware and bandwidth became a commodity, that trickled down to smaller businesses. But hosts serving that market encountered the same problems as enterprises; load balancing issues.

"It made sense for a lot of businesses to outsource hosting of Web-facing apps to managed and hosting service providers. But there are thousands of them of various sizes and shapes and target markets and those in turn have thousands of customers. So there was a need for load balancing," Peter Melerud, vice president of product development at Kemp Technologies told InternetNews.com.

In a typical hosted application environment, applications tend to be tied to one physical server and be paired with an Application Delivery Controller (ADC). That gives none of the flexibility that cloud services or virtualization offer. Virtual LoadMaster helps eliminate that need for a server by moving to a non-fixed setup and offering the same features in software as usually found on a hardware appliance.

This includes layer 4 load balancing of TCP/IP apps, content switching between servers, persistence at layer 7, checking the health of apps, SSL offloading and acceleration, caching and protection and intruder prevention, according to Melerud.

It can run on a system with as few as two physical servers. "Our goal is to bring load balancing to the masses. We believe the masses are today at that level are served by hosting and managed services industry. That's why we are targeting them first," said Melerud.

Kemp plans to release an end-user version of the software soon. This will be for SMBs to buy and deploy in their own company. For now, the software is just for sale to MSPs and MHPs, at a price of $99 per customer per license.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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This article was originally published on Jan 19, 2010
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