Kong Introduces ‘ZeroLB’: A New Load Balancing Pattern Using Service Mesh

Available now, Kong Mesh 1.4 features five ZeroLB algorithms for decentralized, horizontally scalable L4 and L7 traffic balancing across legacy data centers and the cloud.

Kong Inc., the cloud connectivity company, unveiled a new concept called ‘ZeroLB’ and a breakthrough pattern for load balancing. The company also announced the general availability of Kong Mesh 1.4, with industry-first features to support ZeroLB out of the box, offering up to 4x improvement in network performance and a substantial cost reduction compared to traditional centralized LB-based architectures. Based on customer feedback, this modern approach for load balancing is expected to save organizations with mission-critical applications up to a million dollars a year by reducing required technology investments.

ZeroLB is a modern, decentralized load balancing pattern that aims to remove every load balancer that is being deployed in front of individual services and applications. In this capacity, ZeroLB eliminates the need for elastic cloud load balancers, software load balancers and hardware load balancers from the equation. ZeroLB reduces costs, improves network performance by removing extra hops in the network, removes complexity in applications and also gives access to more advanced self-healing capabilities, while simultaneously maximizing portability across every environment and every cloud. To read more about this new pattern, please see “ZeroLB: The Future of Load Balancing.”

One Kong customer is a global travel company that processes an average of 2 billion pricing requests per day. The company partnered with Kong to scale load balancing traffic in a horizontal and seamless manner across its legacy data centers and the cloud. This company says it expects to see seven figures in cost reductions per year by replacing legacy, centralized load balancers with modern ZeroLB load balancing powered by Kong Mesh, while improving performance by 2x and enabling a more pragmatic transformation to the cloud.

“Traditional load balancers were built for the monolithic era and don’t work well with today’s cloud-native applications because they are slow and create points of failure that cause businesses to lose customers and sales,” said Marco Palladino, CTO and co-founder of Kong Inc. “I’m thrilled to be spearheading this effort at Kong to evangelize the ZeroLB movement, where legacy load balancing as we know it within the network is dead. Kong is introducing a new way of building load balancers for today’s modern era of software architectures by decentralizing it.”

Kong Mesh 1.4: Powers Horizontally Scalable ZeroLB Across Any Infrastructure

Kong Mesh is an enterprise-grade service mesh built on top of CNCF’s Kuma and Envoy. This modern control plane is focused on simplicity, security and scalability for multi-cloud and multi-cluster environments on both Kubernetes and VMs. The 1.4 release enables modern, decentralized and portable load balancing that works across every cloud, including Kubernetes and VMs, and local development machines that improve accuracy and replicability, therefore lowering unexpected production errors. It provides automatic resiliency across clusters, clouds and regions.

Key features in Kong Mesh 1.4 include:

  • Five different decentralized load balancing algorithms, which include round-robin, least request, ring hash, maglev and random
  • L4 + L7 load balancing to address every service type, from databases and events to HTTP and gRPC services
  • Automatic self-healing capabilities with health checks, circuit breakers, zone-aware load balancing and cross-zone connectivity capabilities
  • Comprehensive support for both Kubernetes (automatically injected sidecar) and VMs (manually injected sidecars) across every cloud
  • Extension of the connectivity logic for Kong Mesh using any WebAssembly-supported language, thanks to Envoy’s native support

“Traditional, centralized load balancers are finally entering the decentralization era that other technologies in our stack started a long time ago,” said Martin Casado, the pioneer of software-defined networking with his company Nicira (sold to VMware) and a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, an investor in Kong. “ZeroLB is a fundamental concept to adopt in a decentralized world. By removing all of the complexity in a standardized, performant way, Kong is doing for LBs what microservices have done to our legacy monoliths, and offering a horizontally scalable and portable way to load balance across every cloud including Kubernetes and VMs.”


Kong Mesh 1.4 is available now. It can be deployed in minutes with a single command, in any environment at https://konghq.com/install/#kong-mesh.