Kemp vs Cisco/Avi Load Balancers

Kemp vs Cisco/Avi Load Balancers

A Small Intro to Load Balancing

Load balancing distributes traffic across many servers instead of just one. As one might expect, virtual load balancing is done via a virtual machine. It is the term used when software used to run load balancing is run on a virtual machine. Load balancing allows companies to have software running seamlessly at a constant loading speed.

Kemp Load Balancers vs Cisco Load Balancers

So how do Kemp Technologies and Cisco compare in their attempts to woo the consumer with their latest load balancer offerings?

Kemp’s Load Masters, the VLM series, have an always-on service availability and optimize the servers’ availability and performance, acting as a “traffic cop” checking security and how the workload is performing. If an application server has a fault or fails, global server load balancing undertakes an automated disaster recovery such that applications are kept running, [1]. Another server will be used instead. Kemp also boasts of the world’s first per-app load-balancer/ADC.

The Load Master uses a suite of algorithms used to balance the client access requests intelligently  across the pools of servers. From the simple Round Robin to the more complex Software Defined Networking (SDN) Adaptive algorithms, it intelligently works out which algorithm to use. It boasts of working with most hypervisors and IaaS Cloud platforms, has full REST API and automation enabled, server and health monitoring, encryption acceleration (FIPS 140-2 support), caching, compression, TCP Multiplexing, SSL offload and L4/& load balancing for all TCP/UDP. Products include the mid-level VLM-500 and VLM-3000 Load Masters, with costs varying based on levels of support and deployment. These options are usually considered ideal for small to medium sized enterprises. The VLM-MAX, intended for enterprise users, has more advanced features but comes at an increased price, unlimited licenses for SSL TPS and Balancer Throughput 24/7 support and diagnosis, web application firewall and IPS, GLobal traffic management, monitoring and reporting and AI-enabled proactive remediation, authorization, authentication and single sign on. The VLM-MAX allows unlimited throughput.

Reviews in Gartner, [2], give a 5* and 3.5* rating citing that the Load Master is a good product but could have been easier to configure and set up. The user interface was said to be non-intuitive. Capterra, [3], gave an overall rating of 4.5* for the same product. To address some of these issues, Kemp now offers professional services, where Kemp specialists do all the “heavy lifting” in the set up.

Cisco and Avi Networks joined to create an automated load balancer on a turnkey NFV platform. This consists of the CSP 2100 (open x86 Linux/KVM platform) and Avi’s Vantage software platform. Together they deliver customized NFV capabilities with elastic load balancing and expanded L4-L7 services. They say it is superior to other methods as the NFV solution scales elastically and uses intelligence and application analytics to do this. It is the first software-based, analytics driven load balancer employing analytic platforms such as AppDynamics, Grafana, Cisco Tetration Platform and Splunk. From distributed service delivery components data can be collected regarding real-time telemetry and used in analytics. As a result there is no over-provisioning.

Other features are that it automates network services with Intel x86 servers, has elastic “lego-block” service scaling (i.e. scales as you grow), has REST API-driven automation and self-service, virtualized/software-defined network functions, has centrally managed, single point of management, distributed load balancing, server and patch management concerns are removed, product and operational costs are more than 50% lower and troubleshooting is quick and easy.

Cisco and AVI boasts load balancing provisioning in 30 seconds. It uses a Cisco controller that it says “spins up” a service engine, places it in the appropriate network and configures it. The customer can gain elastic application delivery with analytics, self-service and automation. Vantage can be built on VMs, containers and bare metal on any public cloud environment or data center.

The author could not find any reviews of the Cisco Avi system.

FeatureKemp Load MasterCisco/Avi
Algorithm Driven
Analytics Driven
Automatic Configuration
Health Monitoring
Rest API/Automated
Reverse Proxy
SSL Offload



The Author of this exclusive article, Carol Brickley is a Software Developer at General Dynamics, with previous experience at the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

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