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What is Load Balancing as a Service?

by Iwan Price-Evans on Load Balancing • May 6, 2022

Load Balancing as a Service, or LBaaS, is a centralized solution that dynamically provisions load balancers to multiple clients enabling applications to rapidly scale up and down. With LBaaS the application teams don't need to have full technical knowledge of load balancer management or access to fixed infrastructure to ensure their applications scale on demand.

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What are the benefits of LBaaS?

Is LBaaS centralized?

Yes. There are many advantages of LBaaS, the primary one being that it is a centralized managed service. Although there are different implementations of LBaaS, the principle of managing load balancers via a central platform is the same. A central LBaaS platform means that it's possible to implement robust load balancing with other services such as web application firewalls (WAFs), logging, and automated SSL management.

Do you need load balancer experience to use LBaaS?

No. One of the other benefits of LBaaS is that the users don't need to install, program, operate, or maintain the load balancers. This means that scalable load balancing is available to teams who don't have these technical skills in-house. Application and network teams can effectively outsource their load balancing operations to a vendor, PlatformOps team, or managed service provider that is responsible for the entire management of application load balancers. 

However, developers and DevOps teams can use LBaaS APIs to automate per-application services. In this respect, technical skills are required, but these are skills common to most application developers. By contrast, traditional load balancers require unique skills to install and operate.

Does LBaaS reduce costs?

Yes. Individually managing traditional application infrastructure adds time and cost. An LBaaS platform makes it simple for teams to deploy load balancers which can significantly reduce their service delivery times and costs. Self-service and API-driven LBaaS solutions mean that application developers can add load balancing capabilities to their solutions at a lower cost. Organizations no longer need to have costly hardware and technical skills in-house to ensure that their applications are fully scalable. 

Does LBaaS improve security?

Yes. With an LBaaS solution, cybersecurity can be automated. LBaaS allows security synchronization across applications and clients. Load balancer security policies can be managed and applied using the security automation built into the centralized platform. Centralized security enables consistent application security across all apps and clients.

Is LBaaS proprietary?

It depends on the vendor. Some vendors enable LBaaS only within vertically-integrated platforms or in certain public cloud providers. Others provide LBaaS that is cloud-neutral and platform agnostic and so can be deployed in any mix of cloud infrastructure. This means that there's less risk of being locked into a single vendor of an LBaaS solution.

Does LBaaS increase performance?

Yes. The cloud providers' resources mean that the LBaaS solution can be optimized for speed and availability, resulting in a significant performance boost.

How do you implement LBaaS?

Deploying application load balancing services from a centralized LBaaS platform can be achieved by:

LBaaS as part of SaaS infrastructure

In this scenario, an LBaaS vendor hosts and manages the central control platform and provides clients with access using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. Clients have access to the platform’s GUI and/or API and integrate this with their backends to deploy app services dynamically. In other words, the vendor provides LBaaS to their customers.

Self-hosted LBaaS

In this scenario, enterprises install a self-hosted version of a centralized control platform and split control of application services between a platform operations team (PlatformOps) and multiple development and DevOps teams. The PlatformOps team manages the central control platform, sets global policy, manages global monitoring and performance, and grants permissions to development and DevOps users to deploy and automate per-app services. In other words, the PlatformOps team provides LBaaS to their internal clients.

Managed service provider hosted LBaaS

In this scenario, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) install a self-hosted version of a centralized control platform and split control of application services between themselves and their external clients. The MSP manages the central control platform, sets global policy, manages global monitoring and performance, and grants permissions to external clients to deploy and automate per-app services in their own segmented environments. In other words, the MSP provides LBaaS to their external clients as part of their service offering.