What is a Load Balancer in Networking and How Does it Work?
You must know about load balancers if you have been dealing with complicated IT infrastructures that need to improve their overall performance and speed. What are these, and why do companies need to integrate these components as a part of their infrastructure? Let’s find out here.
What is Network Load Balancing?
Load balancing, as the name suggests, is about distributing the incoming traffic across a selected group of backend servers. These servers are also called server pool or farm. Every modern high-traffic website needs to serve hundreds or thousands of concurrent user requests while returning its data in a reliable yet quicker manner.
And to meet the requirements, a company needs to add more servers for modern computing. But even with several servers, you do not get to balance the load accordingly, which can eventually lead to server crashes.
In that scenario, the one that acts as the "traffic cop" is none other than a load balancer. It is the one that sits in front of your server and routes the client requests across all other servers as per their capabilities to maximize capacity utilization and speed.
But how does it help in enhancing the overall performance of your company? First, a load balancer ensures that no particular server is overworked by distributing the incoming traffic evenly, thereby eliminating the potential risks of the servers going down due to overloading issues. In addition, if you add any new server to the group, the load balancer will automatically send requests to it to balance the traffic adequately.
So, all-in-all, load balancing refers to the procedure of distributing workloads across the server cluster to prevent any single server from crashing due to overloading issues. It helps in improving the service availability and thereby prevents any downtimes.
Also, when the workload of any particular server attains its acceptable level, a load balancer ensures that sufficient computing resources are available to process the user requests within the acceptable response times. With fast response times, these balancers can enhance productivity and user satisfaction.
History Of Load Balancing
Load balancing was introduced in the 1990s as hardware systems capable of distributing traffic across the network. In addition, the companies wanted to improve the overall app accessibility running on the servers. Therefore, the entire load balancing process took on more responsibilities with the introduction of ADCs or Application Delivery Controllers. These are known for offering security and seamless access to the applications, even during peak times.
ADCs are available in three categories: virtual appliances, hardware appliances, and software-native load balancers. When computing moved to the cloud, software ADCs started performing similar tasks to the hardware. And with that came many added features, functionalities, and flexibility.
As a result, these helped businesses to securely and quickly scale up the application services based on demand in the cloud. In addition, modern ADCs now enable enterprises to consolidate network-based services. These services include caching, intrusion detection, compression, SSL/TLS offload, Web application firewalls, and more. These, in turn, help in increasing scalability and decreasing delivery times.
How Do Load Balancers Work?
A typical load balancer can either be a physical device running on specialized hardware or software or be incorporated into the ADCs. These ADCs are specifically designed to improve the security and overall performance of the three-tier web as well as the microservices-based apps, irrespective of where these are being hosted.
These load balancers can utilize algorithms including server response time, robin, and the least connection method for distributing the user requests in line with the current requirements. These are the components which can detect the backend resources’ overall health to determine if the servers are capable enough to fulfill the customer requests.
A load balancer can disburse the traffic to different servers within the resource pool, regardless of whether it is software or hardware or the type of algorithm used. It is primarily the one determining that no single server becomes unreliable or overloaded with customer requests.
Load balancing is, therefore, the most scalable methodology for managing many requests from multi-device workflows. For businesses working with platforms that enable seamless access to multiple apps and websites, load balancing effectively supports dependable end-user experience while offering consistent and high performance.
Benefits Of Load Balancers In Networking
Some of the reasons why load balancing is an essential component of your IT infrastructure are:
- Eliminating any possibilities of server overloading or crashes
- Reducing the overall workload on a single server
- A large amount of work is being done within the same time
- Enhanced performance and scalability of applications due to faster response time
- Even if a single server crash, the load balancer can use the other ones to manage the user requests and heavy workloads
- With an appropriate load balancing algorithm, your business can get efficient resource utilization to eliminate any unforeseen event of over usage of the servers
- Increases reliability of enterprise applications
- Amplifies the security as the IPs and physical servers might be abstract in a few cases
But how do you determine the right supplier for selecting the best load balancing for your company? Knowing a little about the features, usability and functionalities of load balancers and your company requirements can help you choose the best vendor for your business. However, if you need special assistance to get the top service providers, we have it sorted for you.
At DC Gears, we have a consolidated list for you to find the top vendors offering high-end cybersecurity and networking solutions at affordable prices across the global platform. In addition, being across multiple locations globally allows us to provide you with exceptional on-site services 24*7. Got any queries for us? Get in touch with us today.
Director - IT Solutions Engineering
Rahul Bogala is a seasoned IT leader, responsible for driving IT solutions, Products, Pre-sales, and customer experience. He has a successful track record of solving complex IT solutions. He also acts as a partner alliances leader nurturing partnership relationships & vendor management fostering the organic growth of business Rahul has expertise in designing and implementing solutions around: Network and Infrastructure Security, Server, Storage, and End computing Virtualization and cloud computing