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Who Will Fill Cisco's Shoes in the Server Load Balancing Market? 

When Cisco said it was exiting server load balancing business last fall, a slew of vendors lined up to fill the void. Among them were Barracuda, Citrix, F5 Networks, Kemp Technologies and Riverbed Technology, looking to position their server load balancers -- also known as application delivery controllers (ADCs), as alternatives.

Cisco apparently decided to pull the plug on ACE, a plug-in load balancer the company offered for its Catalyst switches. Cisco first entered the ADC market back in 2000 when it bought a company called ArrowPoint for $5.7 billion, which is the third-largest acquisition it has made.

Now that Cisco has cut its losses by discontinuing sales of ACE, Kemp is looking to show that it has an edge on its rivals. At the Cisco Live conference this week in Orlando, Kemp said its LoadMaster Operating System (LMOS) for Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) is now available. Kemp said it's LMOS for UCS is certified by Cisco via its Interoperability Validation Testing (IVT) program.

Kemp officials say it's offering the only load balancer operating system to run natively within the Cisco CUS fabric without requiring a server virtualization hypervisor. "The Cisco customer base is crucial to us not just because they've vacated but because the hosting market has been an important element in the way we deliver our technology and the hosters are overwhelmingly going toward Cisco blade infrastructure," said Kemp's co-founder and chief scientist Jonathan Braunhut last week.

While Cisco has also recommended Citrix Netscaler to ACE customers, Kemp approached Cisco with the alternative of offering its ADC within UCS, explained Kemp CEO Ray Downes in an earlier discussion. "With the recent discontinuation of their ACE product, they have a handshake agreement in Citrix Netscaler, however you have a lot of Cisco customers who are looking for a migration path and they would like to continue to work with Cisco," he said.

Because LMOS will run within UCS fabric, customers will be able to gain more efficiency with the blades, said Iain Kenney, Kem's director of product management. "Obviously with our Loadmaster for Cisco UCS running inside that fabric means we can load balance your middle-tier workloads, kind of natively within the fabric."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/27/2013 at 9:03 AM


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