Load Balancing vs. Load Sharing – Which Is Right for You?

Load balancing and load sharing are two terms often used interchangeably in information technology. If you don’t have a background in systems, you won’t necessarily be invested in the technicalities, or be aware of the difference between the two terms. However, you will be interested in why your company’s website crashes, why there are frequent server downtimes in a network, and other matters that impact your organization’s productivity. Showing the difference between these two terms can help you understand the reasons or need for making certain changes to a network.

What Is Load Balancing?

Every image or line of text downloaded, every query on a website, all that is data that must be forwarded to and interpreted by the servers hosting the website, which means bandwidth occupied until the transaction is complete.

Load balancing maximizes throughput and minimizes response time to requests made to the servers. It distributes traffic load across multiple paths on a network, to spread out the requests and keep the website from getting overwhelmed.

This type of balancing can be physical, through actual parallel servers, or virtual, through VPS or a virtual private server. The load balancers conduct health checks on servers and may remove servers that are suboptimal from the network, for restoration. What’s more, there are types of load balancers that can create new virtual servers to deal with demand on a website.

What Is Load Sharing?

The aim of load balancing products is to create a distributed network where requests are evenly split among various servers. Meanwhile, load sharing entails sending a portion of the traffic to one server and another portion elsewhere. The loads do not need to be equal, they just need to be set up in a way that does not overwhelm the entire system.

Load sharing is a natural part of the forwarding process of servers to endpoint devices. Generally speaking, algorithms prefer to send more traffic to paths that it deems more efficient. For example, suppose there are two links to servers of a website, one that delivers 300 Mbps, and another that sends 150 Mbps.

For every 2 packets of data sent down the first link, an algorithm designed to follow load sharing will send 1 packet of data down the second link. The focus, then, is not to use up the same amount of bandwidth in the two links, but to use the amount that each can reasonably handle.

Which Is Right for You?

Wanting to maximize the hosting capabilities of a website does not determine which type of network to use. Algorithms written for both types of load distribution have their place and purpose. Load sharing relies upon the flow of data and becomes more effective when the number of flows increases. However, because of this, it is more likely that an unequal distribution can occur when there are fewer requests made to the network. Load balancing offers complete traffic distribution at any scale, although distributing traffic among different paths requires specializes load balancing software that should be installed by a professional. A network engineer or load balancing specialist will be able to consult with your company and provide the best distribution model for your needs.

Load Balancing by Resonate

As your company grows, its digital needs will become more complex. May businesses start with a simple website, but with more clients and services comes increased traffic and number of requests. For software load balancing solutions, get in touch with us at Resonate today. We are happy to help!

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