Key Load Balancer Features
Kemp Technologies free LoadMaster Application Load Balancer is a fully featured member of our award winning and industry leading Load Balancer family. It can be used without charge in production environments with throughput requirements that don’t exceed 20 Mbps, and for services that do not directly generate revenue. It is an ideal choice for low traffic web sites and applications, DevOps testing environments, technical training environments, and for any other deployments that suit your non-commercial needs.
Like it’s commercial siblings The Free LoadMaster Application Load Balancer (abbreviated to LoadMaster on the remainder of this page) delivers the following:
- The same robust code found in our commercial LoadMaster offerings. This is not an edition with features removed to cripple it. This is a full LoadMaster Application Load Balancer that you can use for any purpose that requires less than 20 Mbps Layer 7 traffic throughput on non-revenue generating services.
- Ability to deploy on all the major virtual infrastructure hypervisors (VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle VirtualBox, Citrix XenServer, KVM).
- Cloud deployment options. Can be deployed in the Cloud on Microsoft Azure, VMware vCloud Air, Amazon Web Services, or other Cloud hosted servers.
- Layer 4 load balancing – Traditional Transport Level load balancing. Packets are routed to backend servers based on IP Address, TCP port or UDP port, using DNS round robin or least connection algorithms.
- Layer 7 load balancing – builds on layer 4 transport level load balancing by introducing packet routing based on the target applications and content of the network packets. Layer 7 Load Balancing operates at the Application Layer of the network stack. Using it LoadMaster can route network traffic to the server most suited to handle the requests. Using this feature the state of individual applications running on back end servers can be monitored to see if they are responding to requests. If not the load balancer can stop sending requests to an individual application until it is ready to respond again. Additionally the content awareness that is provided by Layer 7 content checking and load balancing allows network traffic delivery to be optimised for specific applications. For example Microsoft Exchange Server, Skype, or SharePoint.
- Content Caching – LoadMaster can store recently accessed content in a local storage location. This allows content to be served to subsequent requests more quickly without having to get data from the original source. The local caches can have a time to live value associated with them. This ensures that after a pre-set period the local copy of the content is deleted and the original source is queried anew. This timeout can be set as required depending on the content type.
- Compression engine – Data stored on and transmitted by a LoadMaster can be compressed. When moving data across the network compression can reduce the size of the data set that needs to be transmitted. This can be done in a lossless or in a lossy way. Lossless compression removes data from the data set in such a way that it can be added again when the data arrives at its destination. For example, removing characters that repeat. Lossy compression however removes data that is not required at the receiver endpoint. A typical example is reducing the colour depth information in images. Often this can be reduced significantly without noticeable degradation to the transmitted image. Compression settings can be set as required for the applications in use.
- Preconfigured virtual service templates – Templates with all the common settings for various applications preconfigured are available to use with LoadMaster. These make it easy to deploy the load balancer quickly and securely in typical deployment scenarios. Templates are available for many enterprise server applications including Microsoft Exchange, Skype, SharePoint, ADFS 2.0, and RDS. Also VMware Horizon View, Horizon Workspace and Log Insight 2.0. Others such as Oracle E-Business Suite, SAP, MobileIron and others are also provided at the LoadMaster Documentation site.
- Intrusion Protection Engine – LoadMaster includes an Intrusion Prevention Engine (IPS). This examines network traffic and attempts to detect and eliminate network vulnerabilities. If suspicious activity is detected an alert is raised and the suspicious packets are discarded. The sending address can also be blocked and the network connection to the remote site reset if required.
- Edge Security Pack – The Kemp Edge Security Pack (ESP) is also included as standard with the free LoadMaster edition. It provides an integrated solution for web application security. In much the same way as Microsoft’s Threat Management Gateway (TMG) provided protection and authentication services ESP can be deployed to protect any internet facing application and to support enhanced authentication schemes such as two factor authentication and single sign on. More details are available at this dedicated page.
- Web Application Firewall – Kemp’s Web Application Firewall (WAF) builds on and enhances traditional firewall security protection. Traditional firewalls don’t perform analysis of encrypted HTTPS traffic as they have no visibility of the content within. The Kemp WAF operates at the Application Layer 7 of the network stack and it can decrypt HTTPS traffic to inspect the data content. In conjunction with constantly updated lists of known attack methods WAF can deny access to servers when malicious activity is detected.
- Global Server Load Balancing – Global Load Balancing (GSLB) is a strategy to ensure that network applications and content are served to end users from the sites nearest to them, whilst at the same time providing resilience and scalability. It may not be immediately obvious why you would want this functionality in a product targeted at smaller and testing deployments. Having this functionality available in free Loadmaster enables testing environments to be setup to mirror commercial deployments. This is great for DevOps testing as real world deployment scenarios can be modelled.
- RESTful API – Over 95% of LoadMaster configuration and management functionality is exposed via a comprehensively documented RESTful API. Using this API LoadMaster can be easily integrated in to existing workflows and testing labs.
- PowerShell Management API – PowerShell is quickly becoming the scripting engine and language of choice for IT Operations automation. It has spread from it’s initial base on Microsoft Windows Servers to be available on many third party product platforms. VMware implements it as their PowerCLI Management Product. Many DevOps focused toolsets such as Chef, Puppet, Ansible and Docker also implement PowerShell for automation. LoadMaster can also be configured and managed via PowerShell. A pool of CmdLets are available to integrate LoadMaster into your current PowerShell workflows.
- Java API – LoadMaster also includes a Java Wrapper API in addition to the RESTful and PowerShell management interfaces. Via a standard Java JAR file programmers can access the entire LoadMaster functionality from their Java based applications and management suites.