TFDx @ DTW ’19 – Get To Know: Kemp

Next up in our Get To Know series, we have a well-known vendor whose primary solutions many of us are already familiar with: load balancers and application delivery controllers. When I run into these components in the real world, they are typically implemented in front of, or between tiers, in a multi-tier application. However, the use case Kemp is bringing to the table for Dell Technology World 2019 and Tech Field Day may not be the one you would expect.

The big news coming out of Kemp ahead of the conference is that they are the only load balancing solution to be certified under the Dell EMC Select program for use with Dell EMC’s Elastic Cloud Storage solution. Although it’s easy enough to understand why a load balancer would be useful within the context of a scale-out storage solution, I am not intimately familiar with ECS itself, so let’s take a quick look at how that solution works.

Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage

At a high level, the ECS solution consists of object-based storage software available for deployment on-premises, in public cloud or consumption as a hosted service. Nodes are organized and presented under a single, global namespace and the solution is intended to scale horizontally through addition of nodes.

ECS has been designed to accommodate deployment across multiple locations and/or regions simultaneously, which is a key part of a global data management strategy. As you might expect, a number of data protection schemes are possible, and the available storage can be consumed using a number of protocols, supporting the “unifying” part of Dell EMC’s messaging.
More information on the architecture of ECS can be found here.

While ECS is functional as a standalone product, Dell EMC highly recommends that this solution be deployed in conjunction with a load balancer, which brings us to our next subject.

Dell EMC diagram showing high-level services provided by a distributed deployment of ECS.

Kemp Load Master

At some level, the challenges with this type of architecture are not dissimilar to the ones seen when scaling a multi-tier app or creating a multi-region design for said application.

As we begin to scale horizontally, it becomes critical to have a central point of communication brokerage so load can be distributed and failure can be handled in a graceful way. Management of traffic across geographic regions according to environment load, failure events and user location, can also be important.

This, as you might guess, is where Kemp comes into play. An example of how this joint solution might be deployed is shown below:

Dell EMC diagram showing multi-site deployment of ECS with Kemp load balancing.

Wrap-Up

The desire to be the single, unifying Object storage platform employed in the cloud and on-premises for broad consumption by customer applications is not unique. Many other vendors are targeting the same goal.

With so many options for scalable object storage available, I will be very interested to hear more about the value proposition of this joint solution, as well as learn how the solution handles issues of scale, availability and performance. I expect Kemp has some differentiators to emphasize here, otherwise they wouldn’t be the only load balancer within the EMC Select program.

If you will be attending Dell Technologies World this year, pay Kemp a visit at booth #1546 to hear more about how the LoadMaster product works within an ECS deployment.

I’d also recommend checking out their TFDx session on Wednesday 5/1/19 at 15:00. The live stream can be accessed here. If you have any questions or comments during their session, feel free to submit them to the hashtags #TFDx and #KempAX4Dell

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