KEMP Load Balancer Help Lions Club International Serve Communities Worldwide without Server Worry

Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with over 46,000 clubs and 1.35 million members in 206 countries and geographical areas. Lions Clubs’ motto is “we serve” and part of this service is to have high-availability to websites and web-based forms. The organization’s clubs work to improve local communities through such projects as those designed to prevent or alleviate blindness and improve eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

While vision is a long-term area of support each year, Lions Club also focuses on a specific task.  In 2011, for example, the goal was to plant one million trees.  With clubs globally and members who need to access the website and online forms and to manage 25-to-30 datacenters, Lions Club turned to KEMP Technologies for load balancers to manage its server clusters, maintain high availability and expected  service level for members globally.

Problem:  Need global access to websites

Lions Club is an international organization and member clubs need to access 25-to-30 websites to gain access to online forms and information.  These sites need to have high availability and 24-hour access due to the different time zones.  The problem is especially acute in the summer when every member needs to vote during the international election process. There had to be a way to keep the voting going without overtaxing the servers and to reroute traffic in the event of problems at one datacenter. Other ongoing issues include the need for a back-up solution in the event of a failure and assuring that members around the world receive the level of service promised by service level agreements.

The Search for a Solution:

The Information Infrastructure Department staff of eight people supports the global members and the 400+ staff members working at the clubs’ headquarters in Oakbrook, Illinois. The HQ staff regularly use Exchange, file sharing and file services.  The Information Infrastructure Department realized that it needed a traffic management and back-up solution in order to maintain high availability globally. They tried Microsoft clustering, but they were not satisfied in having to send traffic to an outside server.  The team also wanted SSL encryption to “live all in one spot.”  The IT Team considered Microsoft, FatPipe and BlueCoat solutions, but each was, in the words of Antonio Tovar, Network Services & Information Infrastructure Manager “way too expensive at $40,000 per device.” 

Solution:  KEMP Load Balancer To the Rescue

According to Tovar, KEMP Technologies offered exactly what they needed—port redirection and data compression from 3MB to 50KB; high availability, back-up, redundancy, simplicity at an affordable price for the non-profit organization.   Lions Clubs’ is now using the KEMP LoadMaster 3600 in a high availability configuration and the organization is pleased with the performance, customer service and ease-of-management offered, which included a simple to use web interface,  making it easy to add sites and back-up configurations. 

When there have been outages since the LoadMaster installation, Tovar explains, “what could have been a major situation was barely noticeable, which is the ultimate goal.” Furthermore, Tovar explains the Information Technology Infrastructure Department has service level agreements (SLAs) with its members who require high availability.  As part of the SLAs, each week the Information Technology Infrastructure Department compiles an availability report that includes traffic patterns, transaction analysis and downtime, and includes ways to improve. 

Lions Clubs International focuses on community initiatives and it is the responsibility of the IT Infrastructure Department to assure that members and staff can access necessary information, including reports globally (at a global level). With KEMP Technologies LoadMaster appliances, Lions Clubs International can focus attention on the tasks at hand rather than be concerned about downtime and time-intensive management while benefiting from the value and affordability associated with KEMP LoadMaster load balancers.