Load balancing

What is load balancing?

Load balancing is a technology used to balance web requests to multiple servers hosting the same content. The load balancer intelligently passes user requests from the internet to servers to maintain an even load on each server while also detecting server faults and routing traffic accordingly.  

What are the benefits of load balancing?

By balancing application requests across multiple servers, a load balancer prevents any application server from becoming a single point of failure, thus improving overall application availability and responsiveness.

For example, when one application server becomes unavailable, the load balancer simply directs all new application requests to other available servers in the pool. This is caused failover and allows sites to have a level of redundancy making them fault tolerant to server issues. By having failover servers that automatically switch also allows website to be updated while maintaining functionality.

Load balancers also have technology for SSL offloading which also helps increase the performance our web servers.

Another benefit of load balancing is to distribute the load across multiple servers allowing more simultaneous user sessions and faster response time then would be possible using a single webserver.

How is PilotBean using load balancing?

For our sites requiring high bandwidth or redundancy we host the sites on multiple webservers and then use the load balancer to distribute requests between the webservers. We configure this such that individual user sessions are always directed to the same server to make the best use of server caching and to maintain any in memory user session data between requests. When a new user session is detected the load balancer will automatically direct this to the server with the lowest current utilisation. This ensures the sites is being delivered quickly and also helps to keep sites running with a very high availability in case of a web server failure. 

For our e-commerce sites and sites that use HTTPS we configure the load balancer’s SSL offloading features which performs the task quicker with less performance overhead than a web server. This provides further performance improvements and delivering even faster response times for our customers users.