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What is Load-balancing and Do I Need It?
By: Rich Smith
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    2004-09-29

    Table of Contents:
  • What is Load-balancing and Do I Need It?
  • Why Load Balance?
  • Software Load-balancing
  • Hardware Load-balancing
  • Hardware vs. Software A Comparison
  • Conclusion

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    What is Load-balancing and Do I Need It? - Why Load Balance?


    (Page 2 of 6 )

     

    There are many reasons to institute load-balancing for your website.  The two most popular are:

    • Response Time When you institute load-balancing for your website, one of the biggest benefits is the boost you can look forward to in load time.  With two or more boxes sharing the load of your web traffic, each of them will be running less of a load than 1 server alone.  This means there are more resources available to fulfill your page requests, which in turn, means a zippier website.

    • Redundancy With load-balancing, you inherit a bit of redundancy.  For example, if your website is balanced across 3 servers and one of them dies completely, then the other two can keep running and your website visitors will not even notice any downtime.  Any load-balancing solution worth its salt will immediately stop trying to send traffic to the down server.

    The two reasons alone are an excellent reason for implementing load-balancing across your website(s).  There are many more scenarios where this kind of architecture is advantageous, but these usually have the biggest impact.

     

    Designing a Load-balancing Solution

     

    In the world of load-balancing, there are primarily two options to consider when designing your load-balancing solution. These options are a software solution versus a hardware solution.  Each of the options has their own requirements, strengths, and weaknesses.  It is up to you and your team to evaluate your needs, configuration, and growth path so you can identify the optimal solution to meet your requirements.  It is not uncommon for a website to begin with a simpler software solution and eventually grow into the more robust hardware solution.

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