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Home > Misc  > What Everyone Should Know About Load Balancers

Not everyone runs multiple servers, so not everyone needs a load balancer. However, if you have multiple servers, you either have a load balancer or you need one – or maybe two. Here’s an update on what you need to know about managing your servers with load balancers.

What Is a Load Balancer?

The need for load balancing became critical when the internet began to gain ground as a business and then as a personal tool. Companies that were active online found that forecasting and planning for surges in traffic was more difficult than planning for application traffic. The need arose to distribute the workload among two or more servers, and an automated solution was required.

Today, load balancers come in several forms, including software and hardware. The objective is to ensure that web servers operate at peak efficiency by distributing network or application demands across servers. However, load balancers provide benefits beyond just traffic distribution.

Why Do You Need a Load Balancer?

If your business uses servers, you already know what the issues are. You need to keep the servers operating at peak efficiency for your users, and even more importantly, for your website visitors.

Not only do you need the servers to run, they need to be fast. Kissmetrics, a company that specializes in internet conversions, points out research that indicates that 47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 39 percent will leave a website that takes longer than three seconds.

Load balancers are the answer to the issues of downtime, traffic surges and failures.

What Are the Advantages of Load Balancers?

If you have two or more servers, you need to consider using load balancers. The benefits you’ll receive are wide-ranging.

Handling Peak Demands

It’s exciting to see the traffic to your website increase. But, if your website response slows down significantly, you’ll lose visitors. A load balancer will help you ensure that your websites don’t slow down due to increased traffic.

Avoiding Downtime

Maintenance is critical to keeping your servers running smoothly. However, it’s often impossible to schedule downtime to avoid inconveniencing your users or website visitors. Using load balancers, traffic can easily be routed around any server while it’s down for maintenance to avoid affecting users and web visitors.

Managing Failures

It doesn’t matter what you do, failures are going to happen. A load balancer can detect a server failure early and route traffic to the servers still in operation. The result is minimal to no disruption in operation.

How Do Load Balancers Work?

The term load balancer is evolving over time. You’ll hear different people use the term differently. In addition, there is an evolution that is taking place as load balancing capabilities are incorporated into even more powerful applications.

Hardware

At the beginning of the evolutionary scale are load balancing hardware devices. Where a hardware assist is needed, hardware devices can work efficiently up to a specified load.

Software

With advances in server hardware and architecture, it’s not necessary to tie load balancing to specific hardware configurations or ASIC-based hardware. Software offers greater flexibility and scalability.

Application Delivery Controller

As technology has progressed, load balancers are being incorporated with other mission-critical applications and the result is called an application delivery controller.

The type of load balancer that’s right for you will depend on your systems and your objectives. Careful selection is important to ensure that you get the right optimization without going beyond what you need. The experts at Snapt can help you clarify your requirements and implement the right solution, regardless of how simple or complex those requirements are. For more information, contact us today online.

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