I have had the opportunity to use a Kemp Load Balancer in my lab recently so thought it good to create a review on the product (I have a few more new toys in the lab so expect some reviews for them as well), Kemp Technologies currently have several load balancing solutions available and are a Microsoft Certified partner for both Exchange and Lync, the product I have in my lab is the Hyper V .
Over the next few months I will create a few step by steps on how to use the product (most likely against Lync 2013 as that is what is currently running in my lab), but for now I thought it would summarise the product and my first experiences with it.
Why choose it?
Kemp are highly rated in the world of load balancing and have an active partnership with Microsoft especially around Lync and Exchange, the great thing with Kemp’s load balancers is as well as providing traditional hardware based load balancing devices that we have all come to know and love they also have a virtual machine appliance for both VMWare and Microsoft Hyper-V bringing the cost of the solution down drastically so it is great for those on a tight budget.
I really like the idea that I can have it on my virtual hosts with my Lync servers as it is one less device in the data centre, the only issue I did found is that the licensing system being used is very inflexible as you are unable to move the virtual machine without contacting Kemp to relicense the device (I tried both a manual export and using System Centre 2012 VMM). This restriction might be a shortcoming for the product especially for those in very fluid data centres where you need to be able to move virtual machines quickly and at a whim, as your virtual infrastructure expands and contracts so it is worth bearing this in mind as it might be a sticking point.
Kemp have an excellent 40+ page step by step setup guide for getting the product going with Lync 2010 and is very comprehensive and straightforward, in my lab I trialled it between my internet connection and my edge servers as a test and it worked great. In the real world remember that only having a single instance of the product means that in theory it becomes a single point of failure BUT as this is a lab it is not a problem just something to keep in mind when taking the product out in to the real world.
Ease of Use
The product was very easy to use, I got mine up and running in about an hour and using the step by step documentation made this an even easier job, whilst the Kemp web GUI itself is not the prettiest of GUI’s it gets the job done and does not feel clunky which is great, lets face it eye candy is not exactly on the priority list when it comes to configuring and using load balancers (we are engineers here after all and not Apple users)!
From the time I have spent with the product in my test lab the virtual load balancer has been great, no issues with it and it has done everything I have thrown at it and carried on working flawlessly. I would highly recommend this product for any UC implementation where you require a load balancer.
To see the setup guide for the product click here
For more information on the product I used click here