A Short and Comprehensive Guide to Load Balancing

A Short and Comprehensive Guide to Load Balancing

With the tremendous increase in the use of the internet, thousands of requests are sent to the server every day. However, if not managed properly, these requests can overload a server. Thus, it gives rise to a need for the load balancer to efficiently distribute requests throughout servers without overburdening any one specific server.

What is Load Balancing?

Load balancing helps to distribute all the incoming network traffic across numerous servers efficiently. Therefore, a load balancer makes sure that no single server can be overloaded with demand. And all the data is evenly distributed. Load balancing can be a done in the form of hardware, software or a combination of both.

How does it work?

The primary purpose of the load balancer is to handle all the requests from incoming users, and to distribute data efficiently. Therefore, they act as a traffic cop and sit between the internet and servers, handling incoming requests.

Once a request is received, it determines which servers are online and available, and directs the request to them. Moreover, in times of high demand, many load balancers have the ability to add servers due to spikes in demand, and in case of low demand, it drops servers as well.

Load Balancing Algorithms

There are different kinds of load balancing methods and algorithms. Which ones you should use purely depend upon your needs.

Load balancing algorithms are:

Round Robin:
This is one of the simplest load balancing methods, where several servers with similar functions are configured to provide the same services. It works by transferring data to the first available server and then moving to the next server in the list. It is helpful when all servers have the same capabilities.
Least Connection:
The biggest plus of least connection is, it takes into consideration current server load when distributing requests. Therefore, it directs requests to the server with the least load. It is most useful when there are many persistent connections in the traffic.
Least Time:
As it is clear from its name, it directs data or request to the server which has the least number of connections. Therefore, it reduces the delay in response and increases the average response time to the request.
● IP Hash:
It uses the IP address of the sender or client to determine which server should receive the request.
Agent-Based Adaptive Load Balancing:
To which server the request should be sent is decided based on the real-time information given by the agent of each server. However, while using this technique, it also uses other techniques like weighted least connection.

Load Balancing Methods

These include:

Network Load Balancing:
As its name indicates, it allows the network layer information to where to send requests or data. It uses layer 4 load balancing, which can handle all TCP/UDP traffic. Moreover, it is the fastest among all load balancing solutions.
HTTP(s) Load Balancing:
It is the oldest load balancing type which uses layer 7, or you can say it relies on the application layer. Besides, it is highly flexible as it allows us to make a distribution decision based on the information coming from the HTTP address.
Internal Load Balancing:
It is similar to the network load balancing; however, it uses internal infrastructure to decide where to send a request.

Final Words

Load balancers help to distribute data efficiently among servers. However, which type and algorithm of load balancer you choose depends completely on your needs and demands. On a closing note, load balancing provides a system with efficiency, flexibility, and scalability.

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