Enhancing SharePoint in Azure with KEMP LoadMaster

Enhancing SharePoint in Azure with KEMP LoadMaster

Today IT managers are faced with a choice – whether to deploy SharePoint in the data center, in the cloud or to use a PaaS solution. There may even be situations where it makes sense to adopt more than one solution.

While Office 365 provides access to SharePoint, it doesn’t offer the same fine level of control found in on-premises deployment. And while on-premises SharePoint allows for “Expert Mode” configuration and tuning, it comes with the overhead of having to purchase, provision and maintain equipment in the data center.

Running SharePoint in the Azure cloud offers an interesting compromise, and comes with a number of advantages. First, there is no physical infrastructure to manage – in fact the IaaS model in Azure offers greater flexibility as the environment can easily be scaled up or down as needs dictate to match spending to business conditions. Microsoft has also made it very easy to deploy SharePoint in Azure, and existing skills can easily adapt to configuring and managing SharePoint in the cloud. And with the available tools and templates it is possible to stand up a SharePoint environment in minutes, which is a big help in setting up development and test environments –  without and delay or capital expenditure seen on-premises.

When migration of large datasets is being considered, O365 may not be the best choice as it has no simple migration method. Azure, on the other hand, provides access at the database level, making migration much simpler and more efficient.

Clearly, in the right circumstances it makes sense to consider Azure for SharePoint. However, there are many other factors to consider when building a secure, scalable and resilient solution. This is where an advanced application delivery controller comes into play. Deploying KEMP’s Virtual LoadMaster (VLM) for Azure can simplify migration and significantly improve operation of SharePoint in a cloud deployment.

Performance and Scalability

With throughput up to 10Gbps and capacity for 12,000 SSL TPS, Virtual LoadMaster is built to deliver leading edge performance in Azure. When load balancing SharePoint, it’s easy to add and remove servers to scale up or down according to demand, and with REST and PowerShell APIs, scripting can be employed to help automate such tasks. The ability to offload SSL and apply caching and compression means that load on the SharePoint infrastructure can be reduced, saving cost and minimizing the amount of resources that would otherwise need to be provisioned.

Network capabilities

In Azure, the VLM can amalgamate multiple web services behind a single IP address, using content switching to provide access not just to SharePoint but to additional applications and services in the cloud. This can be a huge advantage when migrating applications to Azure, or using PaaS in the cloud.

Security and user access

A VLM deployed in Azure also offers a range of security features including user authentication, SSO and even a WAF to provide application level protection to SharePoint.

In hybrid environments, or when migration is under way, a LoadMaster deployed on-premises can act as the end point for an IPsec tunnel into Azure, providing a secure, seamless extension of the network into the cloud.

Ease of use

LoadMaster comes with templates to help set up many applications, including SharePoint. Configuration through the Web User Interface can be completed in minutes.

Business Advantages

For a business critical application like SharePoint, availability is paramount. LoadMaster can form part of a business continuity strategy in a number of ways. First, to avoid any single point of failure, it is possible to deploy a high availability (active/passive) pair of Virtual LoadMasters in Azure.  However, if connectivity to a particular site or region is lost, LoadMaster has more to offer thanks to its Global Server Load Balancing feature. This can be used between replicated on-premises and cloud environments, or globally across multiple regions, to steer traffic to operational resources should a datacenter or Azure region become inaccessible. This <<video – embed>> outlines a disaster recovery scenario where a SharePoint site is replicated between on-premises and cloud.

Whether deployed in one or more Azure regions or as a hybrid environment, the combination of KEMP’s LoadMaster and SharePoint provides a cost-effective way to simplify day to day operations and optimize performance and availability, ensuring users can access the information they need, whenever they need it.