Red Hat 8 is regarded as one of the top picks for enterprise Linux operating systems. Described as a “performance-drive, cost-effective platform for Microsoft SQL servers,” Red Hat enterprise Linux systems are compatible with hybrid cloud environments, edge computing, virtual machines, SAP workloads, and other mission-critical technologies.
For most Red Hat 8 users, speed and performance is a top consideration. The solution: load balancing technology. But this begs the question of what Red Hat 8 load balancer options are available. This is a very important question because the right load balancing solution can make all the difference, while the wrong load balancer may fall woefully short of expectations.
Do I Really Need a Red Hat 8 Load Balancer?
Red Hat enterprise Linux systems are regarded as being quite robust, leading some to wonder if they even need a load balancer in the first place. Load balancers have evolved from an optional, “nice to have” sort of feature to one that is absolutely essential for success in many cases. The reason: load balancers are very effective at improving performance, increasing speed, upping reliability, and preventing downtime, amongst other benefits.
What’s more, users have come to expect a certain level of performance and speed; load balancers are the primary tool that is used to achieve this level of performance in today’s tech landscape. Load balancers work by intercepting incoming server traffic. The central hub server then evaluates the server requests in accordance with a predetermined load balancing algorithm. This formula is used to determine how the server traffic is distributed across the server pool.
The hub server directs the incoming requests to “healthy” servers, which are identified with health checks. These server health checks are routinely performed by the hub server in an attempt to pinpoint problematic servers in the server pool. If an issue is detected, the server is removed from the cluster and flagged for maintenance. These server health checks dramatically reduce the number of server errors, slowdowns, and other events that result in a negative user experience.
By distributing incoming server traffic across multiple servers, you avoid overloads that can result in slowdowns, poor performance, and even server crashes. The latter can lead to complete downtime, which is obviously something that platform administrators strive to avoid.
How Does Red Hat 8 Load Balancing Work?
On the Red Hat system, tech teams have the ability to configure and deploy in-built load balancing solutions. For users of Red Hat 8, there are a few load balancer options to consider.
One of the options for Red Hat 8 Linux operating systems involves the use of the HAProxy and keepalived load balancing solutions. These two load balancer options represent the newest generation of load balancing technology for Red Hat 8 Linux users.
According to Red Hat, HAProxy and keepalived were developed to replace the prior load balancer add-on known as Piranha. Piranha was deployed as an add-on, whereas beginning with Red Hat 7, HAProxy and keepalived started being offered as part of the base operating system. For this reason, most organizations opt to use keepalived and HAProxy as their Red Hat 8 load balancing solution.
How Do Keepalived and HAProxy Work?
Keepalived is regarded as a “robust” option for load balancing on Red Hat 8 Linux. Operating on Layer 4 (also known as the transport layer), keepalived uses a Linux virtual server kernel module to load balance traffic. This load balancing option leverages virtual router redundancy protocol —
also known as VRRPv2 — to maintain a high level of server availability. High availability is a key feature in the load balancing process, making this trait extremely desirable.
Red Hat 8 users can also leverage HAProxy, which is a TCP/HTTP reverse proxy. HAProxy is particularly effective in applications requiring high availability and exceptional performance. A few of HAProxy’s features include the following.
- Using HTTP cookies to distribute server load with a high level of persistence.
- Deploying backup servers if the primary server experiences downtime.
- Routing HTTP requests using statically-assigned cookies.
- Using special ports for service monitoring.
- Adding, modifying, and deleting HTTP headers (both incoming and outgoing).
The Piranha Load Balancer Add-on for Red Hat 8
Tech teams that have worked with Red Hat load balancing in the past may be familiar with the Piranha load balancing software add-on. The Piranha load balancer add-on preceded HAProxy and keepalived. While it may not have all of the bells and whistles that you would find on the newer Red Hat load balancing add-ons, it has stood the test of time and many tech teams may feel more comfortable with this more familiar LB option.
The Piranha load balancer add-on for Red Hat Linux systems is relatively easy to configure. To configure and run Piranha, you must have a text-only web browser and an ssh connection to the primary LVS router. As mentioned above, most users on Red Hat 7 Linux and later will opt for the now-in-built keepalived and HAProxy load balancer option over Piranha since the former are now included, whereas the latter is an add-on.
Third-party load balancers are also an option to consider. Many will find that these more generic, in-built one-size-fits-all load balancing solutions fall short of their needs, particularly in the case of more unique applications. In these cases, opting for another load balancing solution from a third-party service provider may be the better option.
The right load balancer can make all the difference when it comes to performance. Options abound, finding the best load balancing option for your Red Hat 8 enterprise Linux platform may take time, but it will be time well invested. In fact, that is precisely where the team at Resonate can help. Resonate specializes in reliable, cost-effective load balancing technology. Exceptional performance, maximum uptime, tremendous scalability — these are just a few of the benefits that our client enjoy. There is even potential for significant profitability with a healthy ROI. Contact the Resonate team today and we will get started with the process of helping you find the perfect load balancing solution for your needs.