Load balancing is a technique implemented to prevent a server from being overloaded with traffic. When load balancing measures are in place, workloads and traffic requests are distributed across the range of server resources to provide higher resilience and availability. The need for load balancing became evident in the early days of the internet when single servers were unable to handle high-traffic situations. Regardless of how powerful it was, simultaneous service requests from large volumes of traffic easily overpowered a single server. Load balancing has proven to be a major help to this problem.
In a typical load balancing sequence, the first part is the arrival of traffic to your website, wherein visitors to the site send requests to the server
via the internet. Second, the traffic is distributed across server resources. Here, the load balancing hardware or software cuts off each request and sends it to the appropriate server node. Thirdly, the node receives the request and can efficiently accept and respond to it due to not being overloaded with requests. In the fourth and final step, the server returns the request. The above steps can only be carried out if there are multiple resources such as a server, network, or virtual resources, that have been established. Otherwise, the workloads are distributed to the same place regardless.
There are many benefits of load balancing. For one, in preventing a server from becoming overloaded, it also allows every server node to operate more efficiently. Recently, load balancing has become a larger part of a broad class of technology known as Application Delivery Controllers
. ADCs provide multiple advanced load balancing features to aid in workload balancing and bolster the overall quality of application delivery. Beyond this, load balancing also benefits security and productivity. ADCs are commonly used to help protect against threats such as Denial of Service (DOS) attacks. As for productivity, load balancing involves the duplication of content and application workloads, allowing for more than one copy of a resource to be accessed at a time.
Depending on the features that are most important to you, there are several types of load balancing setups to choose from. These include server load balancing
, network, global server load balancing, container load balancing, and cloud load balancing. In server load balancing, the goal is to distribute workloads across the server’s range of resources. In network load balancing, traffic flow is distributed across IP addresses, switches
, and routers
to maximize availability. These configurations are made at the transport layer. Global server load balancing, or GSLB, involves an operator handling the workload balancing across a globally distributed load. This configuration also features ADC assets at the global and local levels.
Container load balancing offers virtual, isolated instances of applications and is also enabled via load balancing clusters. Perhaps the most popular approach is the Kubernetes container orchestration system, which is capable of distributing loads across container pods to help balance availability. Lastly, cloud load balancing operates within a cloud infrastructure where there are often multiple options for load balancing. This type of load balancing can also include both network
and application balancing.
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