Apache HTTP web server is the world’s most popular server platform, with nearly 7 in 10 websites leveraging this technology as of 2022. As a free and open source server platform, many developers opt for Apache thanks to its customizable features, combined with its time-tested, reliable nature. But as with every server, there is a potential for server overload and downtime arising from the poor distribution of incoming client requests. Enter: the Apache load balancer.
How Does Apache Server Load Balancing Work?
Apache web server load balancing systems work by positioning a hub server between the client and the server pool, also known as a server cluster. The hub server acts as a load balancer by evaluating incoming server requests, which are then distributed across multiple servers in the server pool. This evaluation process is guided by a predetermined load balancing algorithm. The algorithm dictates what attributes are examined and how the incoming server request is handled by the load balancer.
The Apache load balancing process prevents a scenario where a “clump” of client requests is sent to a single server, overloading it and causing slowdowns or even complete crashes that result in that ever-dreaded downtime.
Is There an Apache Load Balancer for Windows?
Countless IT architectures use Windows operating systems and a wide array of Microsoft Windows applications. This has led many to wonder if there is an Apache load balancer for Windows and, in fact, there is. Since you can utilize Apache HTTP web servers with Windows, IT admins can simply deploy a load balancer for Apache while they are using this configuration.
Apache load balancer offers a good traffic distribution solution for Windows and any other technology that uses the Apache web server platform. This solution involves installing Apache on a Windows platform and then creating an Apache load balancer node. The Apache load balancer node is comprised of an Apache HTTP web server that is configured to serve as a hub server — the central server that coordinates and performs the actual load balancing tasks by dispatching incoming server requests into the Marketplace Portal server cluster.
Apache operates in several different modes which are configured using Multi-Processing Modules or MPMs. As part of the Apache load balancer configuration process, IT admins will need to install the Apache mod proxy module and the mod proxy balancer.
It is important to note that setup and deployment of an Apache load balancer does require a fair amount of programming skill. For this reason, some may opt to go with another alternative third-third party solution for Apache load balancing.
Benefits of Using an Apache Load Balancer for Windows
There are many advantages of using Apache load balancing for Windows-based technologies. Not only is the Apache load balancer free and open source, but it also brings many benefits in terms of performance.
Apache load balancing is known for being very efficient and suitable for high-performance applications. Performance is improved in a few ways. Firstly, incoming client requests are distributed in a way that ensures the website user receives a prompt server response. This translates into the type of snappy performance that aligns with a positive user experience.
Server health checks are a key load balancer capability; one that improves performance and user experience in some dramatic ways. The load balancer has the ability to perform health checks on the servers in the cluster, resulting in the prompt identification of any malfunctioning servers. If a server response indicates a problem, then that particular server is flagged for maintenance and removed from the pool until it can be fixed. This avoids a scenario where users receive the frustrating server error messages that are typical of a downed website. This is also ideal for those who are using a web platform as mission-critical technology. If a web platform is essential for getting the job done, you need to be confident that it will be online and highly accessible when the need arises. A load balancer will improve both availability and overall reliability.
In cases where the utmost reliability and accessibility is required, you may want to go with a geographic load balancer that uses server pools that are situated in different regions of the world. This load balancing option is ideal for those with a globally-distributed user base, backup and recovery systems or mission-critical technologies.
Geographic load balancing works by distributing to the closest data center with highly available and well-functioning servers. The ability to send incoming server requests to servers that are situated worldwide allows you to avoid a scenario where the system goes down due to a local event such as inclement weather, a power outage, a social conflict or any other issue that may interfere with data center functionality. It is unlikely that any one event such as this would impact multiple data centers and this makes geographic load balancing a great option for superior reliability.
While the in-built Apache load balancer option for Windows does not include a geographic load balancer, there are many third-party load balancing options that allow you to implement this technology. Many of these third-party load balancers are easier to configure and deploy too, especially when compared to the programming-intensive Apache load balancing solution.
If you need a third-party load balancer for Windows, the team at Resonate is happy to assist. We specialize in delivering reliable, cost-effective, scalable, and high-performance load balancers to clients who are using a broad range of different platforms. Our load balancing technology can be used in conjunction with numerous Windows platforms and apps. Many IT professionals are uncertain about which load balancing option is best for their needs, whether they’re using Windows or another operating system platform. Resonate is always happy to consult and advise as you seek out the best load balancer for Windows or any other server-reliant technology. We invite you to contact the team here at Resonate. We look forward to helping you find the best load balancer for Windows.