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WILS: The Concise Guide to *-Load Balancing
Understanding the various types of load balancing
By: Lori MacVittie
Sep. 23, 2009 07:15 AM
When someone says “load balancing” the immediate reaction is usually to think of pools of servers and applications being load balanced to provide high-availability for massive sites like Amazon or Google or Facebook. But there’s a couple of other types of load balancing that deserve to be recognized because although they sit in the shadow of “load balancing” they are often invaluable assets to network and application architects attempting to ensure availability and adherence to service level agreements.
Link Load Balancing
Global Load Balancing
Local Load Balancing
Local Server Load Balancing – often referred to as simply Server Load Balancing (SLB) despite its increasing inaccuracy in the case of cloud computing and virtualized architectures – is used in a local environment to direct application requests to the appropriate application instance based on configured performance and availability metrics, among other variables. The most sophisticated of the load balancing types, local load balancing offers the most flexibility in configuration options and in the variables that can be used to determine where to direct requests. SLB solutions can operate at Layer 4 through Layer 7.
Firewall Load Balancing
Firewall load balancing is a specific implementation of local load balancing used to load balancing multiple firewalls to provide scale, resiliency, and performance. Firewall load balancing has unique requirements that are not always met by SLB even though the core functionality for this type of load balancing is almost always provided by an SLB device. Firewall load balancing solutions require extremely high performance even under massive load, and generally operate at layer 4 (TCP) or below, though some provide options at higher layers of the stack as well.
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