Benefits of load balancing
The above scenario exemplifies a typical way to use a load balancer setup, but the power and flexibility of load balancing provide many other advantages:
Redundancy describes the method of running two or more identical servers, providing a failsafe in the event that one server becomes unavailable. With setups that don’t use load balancers, it’s difficult to ensure redundancy, because each server in the cluster is essentially a single point of failure. For instance, if a server becomes unresponsive due to a rogue process, all the users served by that machine will get an error message and most likely, they will flood support channels with complaints. With load balancing in place, the system “senses” when a server becomes unavailable and instantly reroutes traffic to the other machines, ensuring that another node in your cluster handles the traffic. Even better, our load balanced architecture always includes a secondary load balancing device, guaranteeing full redundancy across every component of your network.
Even if you have modest resource requirements right now, scalability should always be a consideration when finding the right hosting solution. In a few months, you may find that you need to add more horsepower to your cluster. The smart thing to do is to opt for a load balancing system, which not only lets you get the most out of your current machines, but lets you scale your application when needed. You can have a new machine (or ten new machines) go live, without having to take the entire application out for maintenance.
With a load balancer in place, you can optimize how traffic is distributed to the server cluster to ensure the best performance possible. Load balancers can also speed up an application, by taking over time-consuming operations such as SSL encryption and decryption. The specialized components in F5’s BIG-IP products decrypt the web traffic before dispatching it to the cluster, thus freeing up resources on servers and reducing overhead.
The security of the web application is also improved dramatically. With load balancing, only one IP is exposed to the web, which greatly reduces the number of breach points in case of an attack. The internal topology of your network is hidden, which also improves the safety of your setup. The servers from the cluster receive their own virtual IP, which makes it possible for the load balancer to direct traffic as needed without exposing your address to hackers. This adds an additional layer of security onto our 5-tier security platform.