Load balancing is something that every large organization needs, but not everyone is aware that it’s even a concept. In a nutshell, load balancing is the process of distributing network traffic across various servers. Ideal for large websites, applications, and databases, load balancing ensures that no single server carries all the load. By way of load balancers, the work is spread evenly across servers, resulting in application responsiveness. It also improves the availability of applications and websites for users. In fact, most apps and websites these days cannot function without the help of load balancers.
All About Load Balancers
Load balancers are responsible for figuring out which servers can handle incoming traffic. It acts like virtual traffic police, ensuring that there’s a smooth flow of requests and information to and from the website or application. Load balancers also manage the flow of information between the server and the device, be it smartphone, laptop, PC, tablet, or IoT device.
Wherever the server may be — in a data center or the cloud — the load balancer helps them move data efficiently, optimize the use of application delivery resources, and avoid server overloads. Additionally, they also perform a health check on servers to ensure that they are capable of handling incoming requests. If the load balancer spots a faulty server, it removes it from the traffic until it is fully restored.
In the past, load balancers were only a hardware appliance, but thanks to technological advancements, they are becoming software-defined.
An Overview of the Types of Load Balancers
Network load balancer: this type of load balancer performs routing arrangements at the transport layer and controls millions of requests per second. After it accepts a connection, it picks a target from the group for the default rule enforcing a flow hash routing algorithm. It also attempts to open a TCP connection to the chosen target and sends requests without changing the headers.
Application load balancer: Hinging on routing decisions at the application layer, this type of load balancer helps path-based routing and ca route requests to one or more ports on every container in the cluster. It supports dynamic host port mapping as well. When the assignment begins, the container is recorded with the load balancer as an instance ID and port combination, and the traffic is allocated to the ID and port linked to that container.
Classic load balancer: There’s also the classic load balancer, which makes routing decisions at either the transport layer or application layer. They have a solidified relationship between the port and the container instance port. For instance, it makes so much more sense to map the load balancer port 80 to the container instance port 3030, and the load balancer port 4040 to the container instance port 4040. However, it’s not recommended to map the load balancer port 80 to 3030 on one container instance and port 4040 on another container instance. This static mapping necessitates your cluster has at least a number of container instances as the coveted count of a single service that uses a classic load balancer.
This may all sound complex at this point, but if you need further explanation as to how load balancing can benefit your business, it’s best to opt for professional help.