Load Balancer

The load balancer is an essential part of every large computer network, and it can even be useful for smaller networks as well. It helps avoid the traffic bottlenecks that adversely affect speed and reliability on a network. Along with managing traffic, it can also be used to combine the bandwidth from two or more internet accounts. Load balancers are used by corporations, internet service providers, web hosting companies, and even internet cafes. There are many models available which can make it a challenge to find the right mix of hardware and software features. They are expensive devices so it is pays to know a bit about them before deciding which one to buy.

A load balancer is a small, box-shaped device that is placed between computer networks. Its main role is to optimize the flow of data traffic between them in order to maintain speed and reliability. Both inbound and outbound traffic flows can be tailored in a way that best suits the networks. A load balancer has much in common with a router or switch, but it is much better at handling the frequent spikes in data traffic that can disrupt a network. There are small models that can be placed on a desktop or shelf, as well as large enterprise models that are designed to be installed in computer racks.

A load balancer is often used to connect multiple internet accounts to a computer network to improve the overall upload and download speeds. This avoids the need to upgrade to an expensive account with a higher bandwidth. Load balancers are used in internet cafes to manage the traffic generated by the computers to ensure that each customer experiences the same speeds. A load balancer is also great for providing internet access at a LAN party, which gives the participants something to do when they are taking a break from playing video games. Internet access at LAN parties is often very limited and has to be carefully managed to avoid bottlenecks.

Load balancers are also used to manage the traffic between web servers and the internet. Popular websites that generate a lot of traffic often need to be hosted on more than one server, because they need more more processing power that one server can provide. The various requests made by the visitors to the website are redirected to servers that are optimized to deal with them. This may involve sending database requests to a database server, or requests for video clips to a streaming media server. Load balancers are also used by network administrators to manage traffic on corporate intranets, many of which have thousands of users spread across various sites.

Before deciding which load balancer to purchase, there are several important features that need to be considered. It needs to suitable for the networking layer it will administer, otherwise it could cause more problems that it solves. A load balancer should support different internet connections, such as ADSL and cable. It should also have sufficient WAN and LAN ports, along with a USB port. Indicator lights on the front panel need to be well separated and visible at a distance to give a clear indication of the status of each link. Practically all load balancers require an external power source and there will usually be a power adapter included in the box, along with the manual and software disks.

Much of the performance of a load balancer depends on the software algorithms it uses. The most common algorithms include round robin, weighted round robin, least connections, and least connection time. Other software features it should have include a firewall, QoS, and NAT. The load balancer should be able to monitor the servers and adjust the traffic flow if one or more fails suddenly, and send out warning messages about traffic problems as they occur. The user interface should be informative, responsive, and have many useful options. Most load balancers can be configured with a web browser but some require software tools installed.

This Load Balancer Review is Written/Updated on Oct 17th, 2010 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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