​Load balancing explained for beginners

Knowing about load balancing is important for everybody. We all want the same: to have lots of traffic on our website! But managing such workloads is a hard challenge. If we are not prepared, our dream high traffic could suffocate our server and shut down the business. Tragic!

What is load balancing?

Ok, load balancing explained for beginners should be like this.

It is a traffic distribution method that divides the workload among the available resources supporting an application. For example, think about a website receiving millions of user requests from different spots in the world. Now, imagine the work it requires to process all of them quickly to send back the exact image, video, or text requested by every user.

Such a website has many servers to execute this hard but crucial task. The problem is that even the number of servers can be enough to do the job without a load balancer, some servers could be overworking while others could be working at their minimum capacity. As a result, some servers can get sluggish or crash due to the overload. This will cost you on different fronts. Fixing servers, money loss during the downtime, angry customers, and a bad reputation.

Placing a load balancer between the users and your servers will make the process very efficient and prevent problems. It will balance the workload among all the available servers to guarantee all resources are equally used.

Technology types of load balancing

There are two technology types of load balancing, hardware and software.

Hardware-based load balancer.

It is a machine to process and redirect traffic to multiple servers. This load balancer can live in a data center. Virtualization can be used to generate multiple virtual load balancers to work for your business, and all of them can be centrally controlled.

Pros.

  • It is a secure and reliable choice.
  • You have full control and responsibility over it.

Cons.

  • It requires investment in equipment, configuration, and regular maintenance.
  • To use it at its complete capacity is not recommended. If there is a situation of sudden high traffic (traffic spike) and it grows higher than the machine’s capacity, your business performance will be affected. In a bad scenario, users will be hit too by slow service, for instance. If you manage to add another load balancer on time, this doesn’t have to happen.

Software-based load balancer

It is an application that has all the necessary functions to execute the balanced distribution of work. You can either set it up directly on your server or access it through a third-party service.

Pros. 

  • Flexibility. A software load balancer can be scaled up or down easily.
  • It is more compatible with cloud computing environments.
  • It is less expensive than purchasing and setting up a hardware load balancer.

Con. 

  • It doesn’t deliver the top-performance hardware-based load balancer can.
  • If the server on which it works stops working, the load balancer stops too. 

Conclusion

Having high traffic doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Your story can be happy and successful if you use load balancing.