One of the load balancer vendors I have been working with quite a lot is Kemp, this shouldn’t be new I suppose.
A typical load balancer is configured in a “2 armed” scenario: one NIC is connected to the ‘external network’ which typically is the network where the clients connects to while the other NIC is connected to the ‘internal network’ where the servers connect to.
After receiving the load balancer you configure, connect it to the network and leave it running until the end of time, or until something goes wrong. I have my load balancers running in a datacenter 60 miles from here and it happened to me as well (after a firmware update)… not able to connect to the load balancer anymore.
One of the latest Kemp load balancers, the LoadMaster LM-R320 is based on a regular Dell R320 server and as such it comes with a DRAC (Dell Remote Access Controller) which you can use to connect to the server and manage it from the server console.
Very nice feature, once connected you can use this for general maintenance of the server. Just use your browser to connect to the console and configure it, check the server health, reboot the server, update the firmware right from the load master CLI etc. Very nice… saved my life a couple of times.
The server specifications (and thus performance) are similar to the Load Master LM-5300, except for the SSL transactions. The LM-5300 comes with an integrated SSL chipset, a feature that the LM-320 lacks. During my tests this wasn’t something causing issues though.
The load master itself is not different from other load master units so I won’t go into detail here, but as a reference here are some blog posts I’ve written in the past: