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Free LoadMaster compared to Open Source Load Balancers

We understand that companies and developers have a wide range of free load balancing options, from small projects on SourceForge to open source products with widespread implementation such as HAProxy. We also know that even though the software may be free, there may be significant costs, not just in time and effort to deploy, but also in the ongoing maintenance and management of a solution. A cheap load balancer now may end up costing you more in the long term. That’s why our Free LoadMaster includes all the security and application delivery updates that we release for our commercial products.

LoadMaster is an integrated application delivery solution that takes a complete view of not just the load balancing services, but also the underlying operating system. This tight integration and holistic view of load balancing security and performance removes the need for you to build a hardened OS to host your Linux load balancer. LoadMaster makes load balancing simple to deploy and removes the risk of misconfiguration.

Free Load Balancer Choices

Kemp Technologies is now bringing our best-in class technology and processes to a free load balancer offering.

There are a significant number of free load balancer options available. Choices include Sourceforge projects such as HAProxy XLB, ZEN, Octopus and LNLB, although some of these seem to have been abandoned with no activity for a number of years. Several Open Source load balancer projects have been commercialized, but some growing pains are still visible with incident limited support plans or plans that only offer pre-arranged support calls.

As a long standing vendor in the application load balancing market, Kemp’s LoadMaster is valued by a worldwide customer base of over 25,000 and used in a wide range of scenarios for both custom and packaged applications. This strong heritage and broad functionality footprint transfers to the Free LoadMaster as well. It is built on the same codebase and includes the same deployment templates and tools integration that comes standard with all paid versions.

If you want a simple and full-featured load balancer, then the Free LoadMaster is for you. It comes as a totally integrated appliance so there is no need to build an underlying operating system. While this may seem trivial, having a pre-built appliance ensures optimal use of your hardware and the ultimate security for your load balancer. If your focus is on application platforms such as JBoss or node.js, then you probably do not have the time or inclination to start building an open source load balancing environment from scratch.

 Kemp Free LoadMasterOther Free and Open Source Load Balancers
PerformanceOptimized virtual appliance with tightly integrated operating system and load balancing services gives best possible performance across hardware platforms.Loose coupling between OS and load balancing application. Underlying OS needs to be optimized to get best performance from hardware.
Workloads SupportedAny workload that is currently supported by a paid LoadMaster version. Supports Layer 4 to Layer 7.Variable. Some load balancers only support HTTP/HTTPS workloads.
SecurityDesigned as a single secure appliance that implements security best practices by default.Needs to be security hardened, which requires special skills and an intimate understanding of both OS and load balancing.
Time to productionMeasured in minutes.
  • Boot appliance image.
  • Set IP address.
  • Login as admin.
  • Define the virtual service.
  • Done!
Measured in hours.
  • Select, download and install Linux distro.
  • Build Linux server.
  • Patch Linux.
  • Install LB application
  • Configure virtual service.
  • Optimize performance.
  • Harden environment.
Ease of Management
  • Intuitive user interface.
  • Pre-built templates for common application workloads.
  • Often use command line (CLI) & config file.
  • Need OS and load balancer application skills.
Feature Update and Release SchedulesFeature updates delivered in sync with paid product;formal release process.Ad-hoc release schedules.
Development capacityFully resourced development team.Often a single developer or a loose community of developers.
Quality ControlFree product is subject to same QA process as paid product; automated testing using industry-leading test automation toolsets.Variable
DocumentationSame high-quality documentation applies to Free LoadMaster as other products in LoadMaster family; dedicated documentation team.Can be ad-hoc and out of sync with code base.