As businesses find more of their IT operations migrating into Web-based environments, they are increasingly seeing needing smarter server management in both physical and virtual environments.
But with IT budgets under continued constraint, the expense of traditional server load-balancing and application delivery control (ADC) technologies may be harder to justify, particularly for smaller firms.
Kemp Technologies thinks it has a solution. Yaphank, N.Y.-based Kemp is carving out a niche for lower-priced load-balancing and ADC technologies, targeting SMBs while simultaneously seeking to make inroads into the larger enterprise market.
"Kemp's key value proposition is that through ease-of-use and lower cost of acquisition and TCO, a business can leverage advanced ADC functionality at the very beginning of their multi-server application infrastructure design -- rather than waiting until their server counts reach large numbers in order to 'justify' the expense," said Peter Melerud, Kemp's vice president of product management.
The most recent addition to Kemp's portfolio is the LoadMaster Exchange, introduced earlier this month and billed as its first "purpose-built" load-balancing and ADC product tailored specifically for Microsoft Exchange 2010, although it offers a litany of other Microsoft-approved products that also support the current version of Exchange.
LoadMaster Exchange supports up to six physical servers and 13 virtual services, although Kemp notes that most smaller enterprises will pair down the core Exchange 2010 functions to just two servers. Kemp's latest offering keeps with the company's strategy of turnkey simplicity, coming preconfigured for the most prevalent Exchange 2010 functions and support for Outlook Web Access, Outlook Anywhere and ActiveSync. (Kemp boasts that the "vast majority" of smaller firms will be able to deploy LoadMaster Exchange in less than five minutes.)
Priced at $1,590 for one year of support and service, LoadMaster Exchange scales to provide load-balancing support for up to 250 users.
Broadly, the latest addition to the LoadMaster family extends Kemp's mission of delivering high availability, scalability and optimized performance of applications in a Web-enabled environment at an affordable price point.
"As a load balancing and application delivery controller, Kemp's products provide the needed intelligent traffic management, server and application health checking and application acceleration," Melerud said. "As a whole, Kemp products allow customers to easily build redundancy and high-availability into application server environments, while also optimizing 'processing-intensive' operations through features such as SSL Encryption acceleration and offload, caching and compression."
Kemp's origin story begins in 2000, when the company was formed as a value-added reseller of the technology of other ADC vendors, such as F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV). But the company observed that the escalating cost and complexity of implementing and managing ADC technology was raising the barriers to entry higher than many SMBs could afford, Melerud explained.
In late 2003, Kemp launched its own research and development operations, paving the way for the introduction of its first load balancing and ADC appliance, the LoadMaster.
In the time since, the company has been padding out its portfolio of load-balancing products, and it has seen its steepest revenue growth in the past two years, as larger enterprises have increasingly been turning to Kemp's technology as a less expensive alternative to the offerings of more traditional vendors.
"In many cases, after careful consideration of their functionality and performance requirements, enterprise organizations have found that for the price of the renewal of service/maintenance agreement on their aging ADC, they can achieve the same or better performance with Kemp products," Melerud said.
Now, with a growing international business, Kemp has been branching into a line of virtual appliances for load balancing and disaster recovery in the data center. Building on the introduction of the LoadMaster Exchange, Kemp is looking to develop other application-specific products, while driving the capacity and performance of its current portfolio, Melerud said.