Load Balancing – An Introduction
As the name suggests, it means efficiently balancing network traffic among backend servers which can also be called a server pool or server farm. It distributes the network traffic between network interfaces on a network socket. The main goal of load balancing is to maximize the use of resources, reduce the response time, and to diminish the overload of a single resource. Load balancing can improve the reliability and availability if multiple components are used in the process instead of a single one.
Need for Load Balancing
As the technology advances, it is common for high traffic websites to cater to millions of requests from various clients or users to return the appropriate images, texts etc. In order to make this process cost-effective, quick and reliable, modern computing adds more servers. Here the role of load balancing comes into play.
It has the capacity to route request from clients in all servers in a fast and efficient manner. In order to improve the performance, a Load balancer ensures that no servers are working overload. If a server goes faulty, the load balancer redirects traffic to the rest of the servers online until a new server is added. Hence the requirement of load balancing can be summarized into three points. They are:
• It helps to distribute requests from the clients or network load easily and efficiently among different servers.
• Saves time by ensuring reliability and availability by sending client requests only to online servers
• It has the capability to add or reduce the number of servers according to the need.
Hardware and Software Load Balancing
Load balancers can either be hardware based, software based or both. Hardware-based load balancers use specialized processors and the appropriate software is loaded into the machine that the vendors provide. However, the drawback of such is that in order to meet the increasing traffic in the website, bigger or multiple machines need to be purchased.
Software load balancing usually run on the commodity hardware. It is comparatively more flexible and cheaper than the hardware one. The software can be easily installed on any hardware’s or in cloud environments.
Need of Load Balancing in Businesses
Load balancing plays an important role in the organization to keep the productivity high. So, it is very important for businesses to choose the right tools that will help in balancing the load better. Load balancing is required in the following scenarios:
1. When the network server is overworked due to the expansion of business in terms of employees. The issue of overloading network server arises in such cases. In this particular case, a load balancer is needed to handle the increased traffic by redirecting it to better performing servers or to other servers that have spare capacity. This responsibility of load balancing is quite similar to that of a “Traffic Cop” that enables the smooth running of servers.
2. When traffic increases without the increase of network users. During high traffic, different servers can get affected at various times in the same day. Load balancers come to rescue by ensuring that new sessions are added to servers with enough space, thus giving the overloaded servers a chance to deal with their backlog effectively.
3. Load balancers are inevitable to balance the load among servers distributed globally. To perform this Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB), “Geo” functionality solution is necessary for its set up.
4. Load balancers can be of help for the problem arising in the virtual machine configured to a single server. If the server fails, a High Availability load balancing solution can move the matter from one server to the other.
Load balancing is an important aspect of computing. It is needed to improve the workload distribution among several computing resources like CPU (Central Processing Unit), Computer clusters, network links, Cloud environment, etc. It is needed and is used in other areas like telecommunications, database, etc.