Kemp brings NPMD capabilities into load balancer with integration of Flowmon technology

Kemp’s load balancers now have the capability to manage all layers of the network, not just levels 4-7.

Today, Kemp is announcing that all of its LoadMaster load balancers now include the network performance monitoring and diagnostic (NPMD) capabilities of the  Flowmon product line they acquired in November 2020. The addition of Flowmon’s native flow-export capabilities gives Kemp what they believe is a unique capability to manage and control the entire application experience through all layers of the network.

“We acquired Flowmon in November, and normally it would take a year or years for companies to bring value to customers together,” said Peter Melerud, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Kemp. “We did this in a few months. We have a fantastic development team on the Flowmon side, and the Kemp side are layer 7 experts. We both leverage the same Linux capabilities under the hood, but it was still required that we were able to connect all the dots.”

Melerud explained how the uniqueness of what Kemp is now able to offer comes both from the nuances of the Flowmon technology, and the synergies created by the integration with the LoadMaster load balancers.

“Flowmon’s core value proposition the in NPMD and NPMR network detection and response] markets they serve comes from probes that get placed on the network to process information and look at classic network performance indicators – classic NPMD stuff,” he said. “They then layer on top of that some modules which are relatively unique, including an anomaly detection module with AI componentry, and a sophisticated NDMR component. That has been picking up momentum for them.”

There is, however, a further differentiating element here.

“Normally NPMD gravitates to flow analysis or full packet capture, which is very expensive,” Melerud said. “Products typically do one or the other. They do both. They start with flow analysis, and when certain anomalies are detected, they move to full packet capture with rigorous analytics. That’s the differentiation.”

Adding the Flowmon NetFlow/IPFIX Exporter to the LoadMaster load balancers as a standard component then lets Kemp collect telemetry data about all the network traffic that passes through the LoadMaster and export it to a Kemp Flowmon Collector for analysis and visualization.

“Kemp traditionally is a layer 4-7 product, because load balancers sit on layer 3 and cover layers 4-7,” Melerud said. “It’s hard for load balancers and ADCs to get the full picture. What we want to do is bring it all together into one cohesive product suite, and know what’s happening on layers 2-3 of the network, to see the full picture. It requires very deep co-operation between the different layers of the network, and the Flowmon integration lets us do this. We’ve taken the Flowmon product capabilities and injected it into our ADC. We can then parse it with the Loadmaster’s information we connect through the application lawyer and connect to a Collector.

“No one else is doing this,” Melerud emphasized. “This is the exciting part.”

Customers and partners are used to putting the different tools together themselves, and Melerud said a challenge in bringing this to market will be to show them that they don’t have to do it that way any more.

“It’s difficult to be first to market with something that folks don’t expect of you,” he said. “Our first job is to educate the market. Most customers are accustomed to buying load balancers and NPM tools separately, not both in one place. We need to teach the market this is a better way of doing things.”

The telemetry capabilities are purchased by simply being turned on as a feature of the load balancer.

“It is very modular and you can buy additional probes if you need to,” Melerud said.

Melerud said the new offering will provide multiple opportunities to Kemp channel partners, and highlighted its importance to the MSP market.

“Many of them are centred on providing network visibility,” he said. “For others, especially MSPs, this enables them to monitor customer deployments and bring together our service provider offerings,  mix it with network performance and NDR capabilities and deliver a really great package to manage and control the entire application experience.”