Kemp LoadMaster Review

Intuitive interface and can be used practically with any application in the backend

What is our primary use case?

I used it as a front end to an RDS Farm. Its load-balancing port 80 and port 443 to multiple RDS Gateways. It's deployed as a virtual appliance on an on-prem virtual machine hosted on the Hyper-V server. Kemp LoadMaster is used by more than 1,000 internal users on a daily bases to access the application system at the back end. It's not exposed to the internet, it's used only from internal users inside the corporate LAN. We have daily VM backups setup as well as application backups from inside KEMP.

How has it helped my organization?

We used to have DNS round-robin based load balancing from some small applications but it was not highly available and if one instance were to do down half of the traffic would go down. We have tested the build it Microsoft Load balancer, but it was free and it was not reliable. Currently, we are using ZEN NLB for a few small applications that do not require many features but when it came to having a proper NLB for 1000 users the ZEN NLB could not handle the load. We have tested F5 and Kemp and Kemp were much cheaper and easier to setup.

What is most valuable?

I like that this is a Network Load Balancer that can be used practically with any application in the backend. They have how-to guides on how to set up Kemp NLB with Exchange, but you can use it as well for Sharepoint, RDS, or any other back end server. I like that the interface is intuitive, you have the option to load an SSL certificate on it so then the traffic can be inspected there, this is especially important when you have an Exchange server or RD Gateway at the back that heavily uses SSL Certificates. It has an option to be HA so if you need you can set up two of them to be up and running at the same time in Active-Active fashion. 

What needs improvement?

The product is really good as-is out of the box. If there is one thing I would change is to have the license file not be coupled with the MAC address of the device. This is actually not really useful in a virtual environment where if you have a single VM with KEMP LoadMaster and you have not set up static MAC Address, if you, for example, recreate the VM and just load the disk file on a new VM it will get new MAC address and the NLB will not work as it will not see a proper license. You need to call their support, explain what the issue is, and then they will generate a new license that you can apply. If this is a production environment and you just had an outage and quickly required the VM then you are extending the outage by the time it will take to get their support to help with the new license.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Kemp LoadMaster for more than two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's rock-solid and very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It can scale easily, I believe you only need to load a new license.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is nice, they will help you over the phone/email but I had few questions about the design and even professional services were not purchased their support engineer did a screen sharing session to take a look on the configuration to make sure it's following their best practices for the use case we were using it for.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used ZEN NLB and Microsoft NLB.

How was the initial setup?

It was easy to get in touch with their sales and get it ordered.

What about the implementation team?

I have implemented it myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

KEMP NLB is on the cheaper side of the spectrum but works great. If your license expires it will still run just you won't be able to do any changes.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, F5.

What other advice do I have?

Its a nice and easy NLB to set up and operate on a day to day basis. I highly recommend it. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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