Load balancing in traditional, on-premises data centers was typically performed with expensive and proprietary hardware solutions. These tools usually required a team of experienced IT professionals to efficiently install, configure, and maintain the system. The expense of these solutions often left smaller businesses struggling to perform some type of manual load balancing.
Cloud load balancing demands a different approach. This is primarily because cloud service providers (CSPs) are reluctant to allow customers to introduce proprietary hardware into their infrastructure. Without these devices, companies cannot perform efficient load balancing across their cloud environments.
Fortunately, software-based load balancing tools are available to address this problem. They are designed to operate in specific cloud environments and cost much less than hardware-based load balancers. We’re going to look at a few load balancing tools available from the major CSPs to help customers optimize their cloud computing environment.
Elastic Load Balancing automatically distributes incoming traffic across multiple targets and virtual machines in one or more of Amazon’s Availability Zones. Load balancing can be focused on applications, gateways, or network traffic. The tool provides the ability to easily scale applications to meet evolving demands. ELB works with Amazon resources and can be incorporated into a hybrid environment that includes on-premises hardware.
Microsoft offers multiple cloud load balancing solutions. Customers can opt for the Standard version which load balances network traffic for enhanced performance and reduced latency. Deploying and scaling virtual appliances for activities such as DDoS protection or analytics is handled by the Gateway Load Balancer. A Basic Load Balancer is available for applications that don’t require redundancy or high availability.
Google’s cloud load balancing solutions provide metrics that enable customers to understand how applications and services are performing. It provides cross-region load balancing with automatic failover to multiple regions. The tool is designed to address unexpected traffic spikes by redirecting traffic to regions that can handle it. Additional security is furnished with SSL offload, allowing the central management and decryption of certificates.
This cloud load balancing solution differs from those offered by Google, Microsoft, and Amazon in that it can address multi-cloud environments. The major CSPs provide support for hybrid environments but do not distribute workloads over multiple cloud infrastructures. The Cloudflare dashboard lets customers manage global traffic in complex infrastructures from a unified control panel. The tool enables customers to route traffic intelligently to address latency and availability issues.
Load balancing solutions are essential for companies that require performance and availability despite fluctuating demands. Companies should take advantage of cloud load balancing to ensure they are getting maximum value and performance from their cloud computing investment.