As the load on a website or business application increases, a single server will eventually be unable to handle the entire workload. Organizations distribute workloads across multiple servers to meet demand. This practice, dubbed “load balancing,” prevents a single server from becoming overworked, causing it to slow down, drop requests, or even crash.
Load balancing enables you to distribute network traffic evenly to avoid network failures caused by resource overload. This strategy significantly enhances the performance and availability of applications, websites, databases, and other computing resources. Additionally, it aids in the rapid and accurate processing of user requests.
A load balancer sits in front of your servers, acting as a “traffic cop,” routing client requests across all servers capable of satisfying those requests in a way that maximizes speed and capacity utilization while ensuring that no single server is overworked, potentially degrading performance. The load balancer transfers the traffic to the remaining online servers whenever a single server goes down. When a new server is added to a server group, the load balancer begins sending requests to it automatically.
The following are the functions of a load balancer:
- Client requests or network load are efficiently distributed among numerous servers.
- Sends queries to only online servers, ensuring excellent availability and reliability.
- Allows you to add or remove servers as needed, depending on demand.
How does load balancing work?
Load balancing is handled by a load balancer, which is a tool or program. It can be implemented in either hardware or software. Hardware load balancers need the installation of a specific load balancing device, whereas software load balancers can run on a server, a virtual machine, or in the cloud. The capabilities are frequently included in content delivery networks (CDNs).
When a user submits a request, the load balancer sends it to a certain server, and this procedure is repeated for each request. Load balancers use a variety of different techniques to determine which server should handle each request. These algorithms are classified into two types: static and dynamic.
Static load balancing algorithms
Static load balancing algorithms distribute workloads without regard for the system’s current state. A static load balancer will be unaware of whether servers are running slowly or are underutilized. Rather than that, it distributes workloads according to a predetermined plan. Although static load balancing is simple to implement, it may result in inefficiencies.
Referring back to the instance above, assume that the grocery shop has an employee whose job it is to direct consumers into the open checkout lines. Consider that this employee merely goes in order, assigning the first customer to line 1, the second customer to line 2, and so on, without looking back to check the progress of the lines. This approach will function perfectly if all eight cashiers perform efficiently — but if one or more falls behind, some lines may become significantly longer than others, leading to negative customer experiences. Static load balancing carries the same risk: individual servers can get overworked at times.
Static load balancing is frequently implemented using round-robin DNS and client-side random load balancing.
Dynamic load balancing algorithms
Dynamic load balancing methods take into account each server’s current availability, workload, and health. They can redistribute traffic from congested or underperforming servers to underutilized servers, ensuring a balanced and efficient distribution. Dynamic load balancing, on the other hand, is more complicated to configure. Many factors influence server availability, such as the health and overall capacity of each server, the amount of work being dispersed, and so on.
Suppose the grocery store clerk who distributes customers to checkout lines takes a more dynamic approach: the employee carefully monitors the lines, determines which ones are moving the fastest, notes how many groceries each customer purchases, and then assigns people accordingly. This may result in a more efficient experience for all consumers, but it also places an increased load on the staff responsible for line sorting.
Dynamic methods come in a variety of flavors, including least connection, weighted least connection, resource-based, and geolocation-based load balancing.
Benefits of Load Balancing
- Reduced downtime
Depending on your organization’s requirements – such as network load and strain on your IT infrastructure – your solution should take into account a variety of critical processes. Additional functions of an effective suite, in addition to defending against threats and increasing response time, include the following:
Traffic Management: Inbound and outbound requests are handled by an agile solution. Whether you’re connecting to the Internet or your organization’s intranet, it’s critical to distribute the workload among servers that are capable of balancing user traffic.
Security: Balancing load appliances can be extremely useful when dealing with distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, unwanted visitors, or other elements that compromise networks. Gain a competitive advantage by utilizing firewalls, VPN solutions, and other features.
Connectivity: Fragmented networks are more prevalent than ever due to sprawling IT architectures and multiple data centers. This can result in a variety of issues, the most serious of which is limited communication between your server farms. Global solutions should account for all IP traffic to ensure that user requests are routed correctly.
So, what does load balancing mean to your business? Depending on your hardware configuration and organizational requirements, it’s critical to speak with a reputable provider about implementing and customizing this solution. Each network faces unique obstacles and is constrained by unique constraints. Skynats can collaborate with you to develop a solution that is customized for your unique requirements.
Load balancing can be accomplished using hardware, virtual appliances, or software – so it’s critical to weigh the benefits of each before making a commitment. We offer adaptable solutions that can be customized to your environment’s specific needs. Contact us.