Kemp strengthens application delivery and load balancing interconnect with improved analytics, platform support

Kemp makes enhancements that leverage the load balancer’s position to provide much deeper analytics about applications, including the ability to assess application health and pre-emptively remediate problems.

Jason Dover, Kemp’s VP of Product Strategy

New York-based Kemp has released their Kemp 360 AX Fabric, an elastic and infinitely scalable application delivery and load balancing interconnect designed to deliver an optimal application user experience.  It broadens the use of analytics, going much deeper into applications, and adding a self-healing capability. It expands platform support. And it features pay-as-you-go licensing, which effectively blends capex and opex models.

Kemp was once mainly SMB-focused and mainly on-prem. All that has changed.

“The focus over the last several years has been on the enterprise and service providers, and on introducing higher performance features,” said Jason Dover, Kemp’s VP of Product Strategy. “We are getting more active in the Azure and AWS space, and we are one of the most deployed virtual appliances in our category. We re-architected the sales and support organization to better support enterprises. We also re-architected our channel for this space.

“The role of the channel is changing,” Dover noted. “Most partners today are pivoting themselves to be service providers of some sort, and we have been more strategic in our partnering because of this transition. We fired some of them, who were basically channel partners of opportunity, and typically box pushers. We significantly trimmed the channel to work with higher value-add partners, with some degree of consulting and systems integrations capabilities. This includes larger ones like SHI who are strong influencers, and can get us into new opportunities, as well as boutiques who do a lot of consulting services.”

The big transition in Kemp’s evolution from a load balancing product vendor to an application delivery framework provider came in 2016, when they introduced KEMP360. It provided a single point for application infrastructure control, monitoring and diagnosis. It combined what were then two new products – KEMP360 Central for provisioning, management and deployment, and KEMP360 Vision to provide real-time visibility of events and workload availability. Together they simplified day-to-day application delivery across multiple load balancers and hosting platforms from different vendors, through centralized service management, log collection and administration.

“That first iteration of 2016 was an experiment,” Dover said. “We learned a lot and engaged with a wide range of customers. It put us on a path to making it really all about the application experience. Today, customers expect a lot more from the load balancer. It’s a key place to extract analytics, because its typically the ingress and egress of client requests. It’s in a prime position to extract insight about the experience customers are having. A key part of this release is starting to expose that insight, so customers can get real time information about what’s going on. We are now harnessing analytics at a depth where we haven’t done before. Before, we used to provide information about how the load balancer was behaving. Now we go further into the applications, to provide information like the types of application responses you get from services you are proxying.”

Kemp360 Vision provides this enhanced predictive insight, leveraging  a shared database of past application issues from across all customer deployments

“It codifies all that knowledge that we have and takes the vision forward,” Dover said. It provides the ability to analyze application health and pre-emptively detect and remediate app issues in what amounts to a self-healing capability.

“In this kind of model, with multi-cloud deployments, you need visibility and insight into what goes on,” Dover said. “Vision is able to spot an experience violation before it happens, predicting errors and remediating them before the failure takes place.

“This new version of Kemp360 is much more focused on the application experience,” Dover added. It extends support across multiple cloud platforms and multiple vendors, and provides more depth.”

The expanded platform support gives the Kemp LoadMaster load balancer more flexible options for optimizing and securing applications. This includes cloud-native deployment options in AWS and Azure, virtual support and integrations with Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage, VMware Cloud for AWS, and Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure.

“We still have hardware platforms, although the focus is now on software,” Dover said. “Some customers aren’t ready to make their network software, however. They still want to see blinky lights. The focus is on multi-cloud environments from a single pane of glass.”

The Kemp 360 AX Fabric features  pay-as-you-go load balancing, with a  metered licensing and per-app deployment model that lets customers provision any number of LoadMasters as needed.

“We are seeing this interesting trend of the per-app ADC deployment model starting to take shape, driven by DevOps trends,” Dover stated. “Even if the customer buys a high-end physical appliance, if they are starting to do DevOps or containers, they will often license a pod of virtual usage-based licenses, effectively combining capex and opex models. Our metered enterprise licensing model and flexibility have helped us win more opportunities. While we are getting traction in the enterprise, that flexibility also helps in the service provider space.”