In this episode, Richard talks to Ray Downes, CEO of Kemp Technologies, the industry leader in advanced application delivery controllers and application-centric load balancing. They give their clients an ‘always on’ application experience, which led them to coin the term ‘AX’.
They talk about what load balancing actually is and how it helps both MSPs and end users, Kemp’s predictive analytics tool, and how they ensure they’re up to date with customer needs.
They also discuss how COVID19 has increased understanding of load balancing, Ray’s experiences as a CEO, and how Kemp manage employees in several countries and across multiple time zones.
An Interview with Ray Downes
Who is Ray Downes?
Ray is CEO of Kemp Technologies, the industry leader in advanced application delivery controllers and application-centric load balancing. They give their clients an always on application experience, which led them to coin the term ‘AX’.
Kemp have been named one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America by Deloitte, and they’re changing the way that modern data centres and service providers build cloud-enabled application delivery infrastructure. Ray himself is a business leader with over 20 years’ IT sector experience, and has held numerous senior sales and channel development roles.
Who are Kemp?
Kemp was founded in New York in the early 2000s. They develop load balancing technology and services for mid-market enterprise and service providers. This means they ensure applications and web services are always available and running optimally for the application user, no matter whether it’s on public, private or hybrid cloud.
Their focus is on the end user app experience; resilience, responsiveness and security. For the techies, the priorities are ease of use and affordability, which Kemp have made their value proposition from the beginning. The apps they support include big names such as Citrix and Microsoft, along with more niche tools like Edgepoint and Blackboard.
They offer three core products: the load balancing product, which works around scale and security (‘Loadmaster’) and the management control interface is called Central, and manages API (application programming interface) integration and control visibility. The third product is Vision, which detects app or network issues.
How Ray Explains Load Balancing
Ray says that it’s important to know that Kemp don’t do WAN link load balancing – instead, their focus is on application load balancing.
They concentrate on the server – if you don’t have enough server capacity, the app experience will be poor. Kemp look at whether they can switch over apps and what to do in case of server failure. The load balancer is the flow of data packets in and out, a logical place to authenticate users to protect applications from attack, and it improves performance, security and availability.
Ray explains that there are two types of service – cloud-hosted, which can be cost-effective for large-scale organisations, whether they use public or private cloud. This is overlaid with a utility-based consumption model, which matches the service provider’s revenue model.
Kemp do all the configuration themselves, saving the MSP (managed service provider) a lot of time. Unlike other companies, there is no expensive entry point for the full features, so there is no barrier to entry.
How Kemp Offer Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics is essentially proactively detecting issues before they occur. Kemp has supported approximately 50,000 businesses over a decade, and decided to productise the knowledge they had built up from use cases and configuration intelligence around what could go wrong if the worst happens.
Using AI tools, they have been able to provide actionable insights for all kinds of problems. For instance, if there’s a network issue, the app environment is key. They can then utilise the load balancer to gain more information, and then let the customer know there’s a problem and how to resolve it.
Ray explains that this has been a differentiator for Kemp, and as well as increased revenue, it has brought another benefit – users spend considerably less time contacting support, with a reduction of around 40% in numbers of requests.
The Opportunities for MSPs with Load Balancing
Ray explains that MSPs are the fastest-growing customer base for Kemp at the moment. MSPs are continuously challenged on how to differentiate their offering, so they’re providing things like a dedicated managed hybrid cloud offering.
However, price is always an important consideration, which is why Kemp make it easy for MSP clients to scale without complexity. They’re also committed to making sure the MSPs provide excellent service for their end users.
How Kemp Stays up to Date with Customer Needs
Ray says that they spend a lot of time talking to both customers and influencers in the IT space to learn what’s important. They speak to their salespeople and account managers to see what challenges customers mention.
They also review and reassess their products regularly, and as CEO Ray sits on the product steering committee, which meets weekly. That is the intersection between product management, marketing and development, and where they map out their next 24 to 36 months. And Ray attends select industry events too.
Virtual LoadMaster Trial
Mentioned in this episode
Richard and Ray mentioned the following companies during their conversation:
- Blackboard: www.blackboard.com
- F5: www.f5.com
- Net Promoter Score: www.netpromoter.com
- Gartner IT Symposium: www.gartner.com/symposium
- Kemp’s application experience book (Ben Hodge): https://kemptechnologies.com/ax-book/
- Your Oxygen Mask First: 17 Habits to Help High Achievers Survive & Thrive in Leadership & Life
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