How Load Balancing Works

In the past, organizational leaders and administrators relied on domain name service (DNS) redirection to manage the flow of traffic. Because today's users routinely issue multiple DNS requests, managing requests through DNS redirection can quickly become overwhelming for a network. To deal with these challenges, IT innovators have developed load balancing solutions that offer enhanced control over traffic routing, security, and many other mission-critical processes.

This resource describes the basic functions of load balancing, as well as how it complements the functions of many networks, organization-wide.

Defining Load Balancing

At its core, load balancing addresses traffic spikes that can compromise the functionality, security, and capability of your network. Especially effective for organizations that use multiple data centers and server farms, load balancing solutions monitor the workload of servers and help to direct users. This ensures timely response and performance, while safeguarding against traffic and resource issues that can cripple your network.

Wikipedia offers a broad overview of how load balancing works on a variety of networks.

Solution Features & Benefits

Depending on your organizational needs - such as network workload and strain on your IT infrastructure – your load balancing solution should account for a wide range of vital processes. From protecting against threats to increasing response time, additional functions of an effective load balancing suite include:

  • Traffic Management: An agile load balancing solution handles both inbound and outbound requests. Whether connecting to the Internet or your organization's intranet, it's vital that the workload is distributed between servers that are prepared to balance user traffic.
  • Security: When facing distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, unwanted visitors, or other elements that compromise networks - load balancing appliances can be invaluable. Gain an industry advantage with firewalls, VPN solutions, and other load balancing features.
  • Connectivity: Sprawled IT architectures and data centers in multiple locations make fragmented networks more common than ever. This can lead to a variety of problems, including limited communication between your server farms. Global load balancing should account for all IP traffic so user requests are sent to the proper location.

Load balancing is critical for many internet applications. This Mashable post from the Gmail Outage of 2009 explains how a load balancing failure brought the massively popular email interface down.

Choosing Your Load Balancing Solution

Depending on hardware and organizational needs, it's important to speak with a reputable provider about implementing and customizing this solution to your needs. Each network faces different challenges and works within different constraints. Radware can work with you to find a solution that fits your specific needs.

Learn more about different types of load balancers

Load balancing can be done through hardware, virtual appliances, or by installing software – so it's important to weight the advantages of each before committing. Radware Alteon provides flexible load balancing solutions that can be customized to meet the unique needs of your environment - view more information, or call us today to talk about your specific situation.