Four Questions to Help You to Decide on a Load Balancing Solution

Deciding to implement a Load Balancing solution before unexpected events could well be the best course to take in order to reduce infrastructure-related costs while optimizing the resilience of the entire environment.

Application Load Balancing is actually a rather simplistic technology at its core. It provides a unified connection point between the end users of an application and the application itself. Throughput processing and the amount of secure transactions capable of being processed simultaneously are two key metrics that contribute to measuring the value of any Load Balancing solution. An additional and very important item to consider is the security functions that are bundled in. Since the design generally results in all client requests traversing the Load Balancer, it makes for an optimal place to consolidate other services such as pre-authentication, IPS and single sign-on.

When would an ADC be most useful?

  • If you have two or more redundant application servers in your environment
  • If you want to architect an application solution that is easily scalable
  • If you want to architect an application solution that is highly available

How to define the basic requirements for Load Balancing solution?

  • What are the applications that require highly available application delivery?
  • How much traffic is generated by the applications for which the Load Balancer will service?
  • How many application requests are received during peak utilization?
  • Are there any special requirements for content manipulation, data caching, data compression or SSL handling?

Do you have proper documentation?

It is also important to ensure that you have up-to-date and accurate application deployment and network documentation before you consider implementing an Application Delivery Controller in your environment. This will help you to fully understand the current state of the infrastructure as well as assist in future-proofing as you augment your deployment with the introduction of the new solution. Be sure to keep in mind the following:

  • Do not start a major deployment change without taking a full view of the current status of your environment and examining what direction it is headed
  • Make sure you understand the plans of all key stakeholders that will affect your decisions and contribute to making the right solution

What security features do you need with your Load Balancers?

One way that many Application Delivery Controller vendors set themselves apart is by the inclusion of unique and valuable features that make logical sense to combine with traditional Load Balancing. When selecting an Application Delivery Controller you may find the following features:

  • Content Switching
  • SSL Acceleration
  • Data Compression
  • Data Caching
  • Intrusion Prevention
  • Single Sign-On
  • Pre-Authentication

It is possible that some or all of these features may exist in your environment as a part of another deployed network solution. Ensure that you review what is in your environment so that you can choose the right solution that just provides what you need, avoiding cost accrual for features that you are redundant or not required.