In my post that discusses the notion of creating protocol-specific namespaces for use with Exchange 2013, I wondered what the load balancing vendors would react to the changing landscape of the Exchange world. Of course, it’s not just the new slimmed-down and nearly stateless Client Access Server (CAS) that creates some upheaval, mostly in the change of focus from L7 to L4, but also the decision of Microsoft to effectively check-out of the on-premises security product market. The biggest problem here is the demise of the Threat Management Gateway (TMG) because of its popularity when used as a reverse proxy alongside Exchange.
At recent conferences such as MEC and TEC, Microsoft has been careful to point out that mainline support for TMG will still be available until 2015 and that they won’t stop selling licenses until December, which is just a few days away now. Perhaps we’ll see a booming second-hand market in TMG licenses once Microsoft closes up shop.
In any case, signs are appearing that the load balancing vendors are considering their options in the space that Microsoft has vacated and how best to cope with the bright new world of Exchange 2013. I am obliged to Bernd Kruczek, who forwarded me a memo from Kemp Technologies (you can download the full text here) containing details of the strategic path they intend following. Bernd assures me that this text is not company confidential, which is the reason why I discuss it here.
The core of Kemp’s message is that their LoadMaster technology will soon be enhanced as follows, with a target availability of Q1 2013:
LoadMaster will be extended to support the following features:
- End Point Authentication for Pre-Auth
- Persistent Logging and Reporting for a new User Log
- LDAP and Kerberos communication from the LoadMaster to the Active Directory
- NTLM and Basic authentication communication from a Client to the LoadMaster
- RADIUS communication from LoadMaster to a RADIUS server
- Single Sign On across Virtual Services
These features are being launched in response to the TMG situation. I imagine that Kemp will have some recommendation for deployment alongside Exchange 2013 in the same timeframe. Anything earlier might be too soon to be useful as they’ll have to test across the various mixes of Exchange 2007, Exchange 2010, and Exchange 2013 and likely involving different sets of clients too.
Please don’t read this post as a recommendation for Kemp LoadMaster (the technology is worth testing so that you can make your own mind up as to whether it’s a good fit for your needs). All we have is a marketing memo that promises new features and we’ll have to wait and see what their implementation looks like when it’s available. In the interim, Kemp’s memo provides an example of how the market is changing to respond to Microsoft’s shift in direction. More change will come as other vendors reveal their plans. It’s just a matter of time.
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