​Load Balancing: The Key to Business Continuity in the Cloud

High-traffic websites serve hundreds of client requests simultaneously while ensuring that they return the correct images, videos and content in a fast and efficient manner. When overloaded, your servers can degrade performance and mar the end-users computing experience. Load balancing lets you maintain a healthy and responsive server pool by efficiently distributing the incoming traffic across multiple servers.

Load Balancing Benefits for High-Traffic Websites

A load balancing software is designed to monitor your servers and route client requests to all capable servers while maximizing speed and ensuring optimum utilization of available resources. With a load balancer, it becomes easy to ensure that none of the servers are overworked and every time a new server is added to the group, requests are diverted to it. It performs the following functions to accelerate data handling and ensure high availability:

  • Distributes network load across several servers
  • Sends requests only to online servers
  • Adds and eliminates servers on-demand

Different Load Balancing Methods

There are three different load balancing algorithms and each one has different advantages depending on your business needs:

  • IP Hash
  • Least Connections
  • Round Robin

This method uses the destination IP address to allocate the requests. This method provides more bandwidth as compared to a single NIC and improves performance in environments that employ multiple virtual machines.

The least connections method sends every new request to the server that is handling the lowest number of active connections. This approach works best in an IT infrastructure where all the servers have similar capabilities.

This is the default load-balancing mode that works well in almost all configurations. In this method, every connection request is sequentially distributed across a vast array of computing equipment.

Hardware v/s Software – Deciding Between the Two for Better Business Outcomes

Wondering if a software load balancer would work just as efficiently as a hardware load balancing solution? Here’s a load balancing comparison to help you make the right choice for your specific business needs:

  • The major difference between hardware and software load balancers lies in their ability to support server counts, connections, and a range of throughput.
  • Hardware load balancing employs a proprietary software to cope with heavy traffic whereas a software solution runs on commodity hardware.
  • Hardware is designed to incorporate app-specific integrated circuits while software load balancers run on commodity hardware which brings more agility.
  • Software load balancers get affected by updates and patches but hardware balancers incorporate management provisions for updating new versions and patches.
  • While software load balancers are a cost-effective solution, they lack certain important features like socket layer offloading and active directory.

You can make your choice depending on which solution has the data handling capabilities and features that support your enterprise needs efficiently. If your traffic volume is not too high, software load balancers should perform well but if you are looking for scalability and a richer set of features, invest in hardware load balancers.

Gaining Control on Your Cloud Servers

If your operations run on several cloud data centers spread across multiple locations, it is essential to have real-time visibility to avoid complications and ensure server health. Accurate analytics offer actionable insights into your cloud infrastructure performance, enabling your IT team to identify issues and resolve them immediately. Database load balancing lets you monitor what is running on your cloud servers and setup instant alerts when IT issues arise, empowering the system admins to be proactive and productive.

The visibility that accompanies database load balancing also helps in understanding resource allocation and accurately determining the need for additional resources.

Proven Load Balancing Practices

Data center managers must balance the load between multiple devices. Load balancing is the central concern in cloud computing. Database load balancing is an efficient mechanism that uniformly distributes dynamic workload across nodes to avoid overloading. It helps achieve high availability, ensures complete user satisfaction and improves overall performance. Database load balancing is not difficult – provided your sys admins follow a proactive approach.

Monitoring Servers

Lack of visibility can lead to overloading and when your enterprise works on data centers in the cloud, it becomes mandatory to monitor virtual servers and their physical hosts consistently. You must know the number of applications that are installed on a specific server and also the number of users it can support efficiently. Based on this data, you should be sizing your machines and setting caps on the user count.

Load Balancing the Next Available Equipment

If a certain access gateway breaks down, a load balancing solution will instantly detect the loss and divert the load to the next available machine. This will allow continuous access even when devices fail.

Having a Backup Plan in Place

Every security mechanism can only support a specific number of connections and so having a backup device is essential. Adequate sizing of security appliance and authentication of users across the WAN ensures stability and uptime.

Keeping a Secondary Switch Available

A poorly designed switching mechanism degrades performance when cloud traffic bottlenecks crop up. Troubleshooting can take hours in the absence of a secondary switch. Monitoring network traffic will help in ensuring that the network is appropriately sized to handle user fluctuations.

Caching

A load balancing solution allows in-memory query caching without needing app changes. It deploys transparently and lets you cache repeated queries while identifying the ones that are suitable for caching.


About the author:

A self-proclaimed tech geek, with a passion for ScaleArc’s disruptive technology innovation in database load balancing. Tony has a passion for dissecting tech topics such as transparent failover, centralized control, ACID compliance, database scalability and downtime effects. On his days off, he can be found watching sci-fi movies, rock climbing or volunteering.

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Tags Traffic managementiCloudcloud securityload balancingcloud serverscachingcyber security

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