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Kemp's Virtual LoadMaster: Another Virtual ADC Hits The Streets

Kemp Technologies' Virtual Loadmaster is a fully functional version of the company's hardware application delivery controller. The Virtual LoadMaster is being offered to service and hosting providers on a monthly for resale to customers. In addition to Citrix's NetScalar VPX and Expand Networks Virtual Accelerator, Kemp's Virtual LoadMaster is another product that gives providers and customers a way to offer application delivery services in a virtual environment.

One of the drivers for service and hosting providers that is they can offer affordable application delivery functions to their customers. Each Virtual LoadMaster license is fixed at $99 and charged on a monthly basis, pay as you go. The pricing model, according to Kemp, is based on how other service and hosting tend to offer services on a month-to-month basis.

While Kemp's new offering is squarely aimed at service and hosting providers, the larger trend, virtualizing application delivery appliances, gives some powerful tools to cloud providers and customers alike. Application delivery is typically defined with functions like load balancing, session management, compression, security, SSL off-load, acceleration and other functions required to deliver applications from a server to a remote user quickly and efficiently.

In a traditional hosted application environment, applications tend to be tied to fixed, physical servers and can be paired with a fixed physical Application Delivery Controller (ADC). However, once the hosting provider moves to a virtualized platform, like a Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud service, where applications and host OS can moved from one hardware platform to another, it makes sense to couple the ADC with the application as a bundle and let the ADC move with the application.

Of course, the efficacy of using a software ADC will depend on the types of functions that are being used. Resource intensive functions like SSL termination or storage functions such as caching may degrade over all application performance; however, load balancing, session management and security functions may operate fine. ADC functions can be split among different instances, leaving resource intensive operations like SSL termination on a hardware platform while more application specific functions can be virtualized. Cloud computing is still in its infancy and we expect to see real world experience drive best practices.