A Breakdown of Load Balancers & Hostwinds’ LBaaS (Load Balancer as a Service) Pt. 1

LBaaS Part 1
Load Balancer Anthropomorphized = Hostwinds’ Office Manager

Does anyone else remember waiting patiently for minutes for a website to load back in the day? The italicized “minutes” perfectly illustrates how privileged we cyberspace consumers are in this day and age. Presently, our website response time is essentially no time at all. How do you think you would react if you had to pause in this way every time Google loaded?

We don’t have to pretend that a single one of us wouldn’t begin to grow a huge vein on our forehead were this to happen after years of flawless and expedient internet service. We are lucky to have access to a boundless range of information in seconds and, let’s face it, we rely heavily on responsive networks and websites.

How does this happen? One of my favorite writers, Mike Dooley, says “The ‘how’s’ are the domain of the universe.” Cool, I agree with that…so we’re done here. We don’t need to know the hows. Just kidding! Although I definitely agree with Mike Dooley’s (fake word approaching in this imminent future…aka right now:) WISDOMAGICAL words, let’s give credit where credit is due and acknowledge a virtual device responsible for a portion of our pleasant internet experience…*gasp*…the mighty load balancer.

 

What is a Load Balancer?

A load balancer’s name explains its function well, as it balances the loads of requests internet users send to servers every second. A load balancer is an immensely useful tool that disseminates the influx of network traffic between an assortment of servers.

What is a Load Balancer For?

Load balancers circulate internet traffic through multiple servers within a server pool (also known as a server farm), ensuring that one server doesn’t get encumbered or overwhelmed with internet traffic.

If a load balancer were to be ($10 word coming up…get excited!) ANTHROPOMORPHIZED, it would be Hostwinds Seattle’s office Mom, aka Paige, aka our wonderful Office Manager, who takes the copious amounts of work that needs to get done and allocates tasks to various employees. If Paige had to do all that work, she would get burnt out…just kidding actually, Paige is a boss woman superhero, so she is the ($7 word approaching) outlier in this case…but you get the point. We don’t know what we would do without you Paige!

Similarly, load balancers are the reason the glossy web applications we view run well. This is great because, even if one server crashes, your website won’t also crash. The distribution of data in the server farm makes sure of it. Thus, load balancers make websites stable and more dependable. Throughout their existence, load balancers advanced to ultimately help with web application security.

P.S. Paige just informed me that the “Mom” in “Office Mom” stands for “Manage Office Magic.” I. Couldn’t. Agree. More. That is absolutely DARLING!

Another visual that comes to mind when thinking about the load balancing algorithm is a backwards funnel, whereby the tiniest portion of the funnel is the group of requests sent to a server. These requests are channeled into an expanding basin of servers. The servers divide such queries among themselves in a calculated manner.

Load Balancer: Let’s Break it Down

Here’s a little load balancer vocabulary that will help when you make use of Hostwinds’ LBaaS (Load Balancer as a Service):

We touched on server pools earlier, but, just to recap, a pool is the league of servers ready to accept either incoming or outbound requests made by internet users.

Another indispensable part of the whole load balancer design are the pool’s members. Members are just servers equipped with a port. Load balancer managers can listen in on these ports by utilizing what are known as…well… “listeners.” That term legitimately could not be more straightforward. I love when that happens!

More load balancer jargon: health monitors. Health monitors keep a close eye on each member, protecting the delicate balance of data circulation in the server farm. You can think of a health monitor as the server’s primary care physician, responsible for checking up on its overall well-being and capacity to accept internet transit.

Tip to further your understanding of load balancing: research the miscellaneous load balancing methods and algorithms.

 

Almost All You Need to Know About Hostwinds’ LBaaS (See Part 2 for the Rest!)

Hostwinds’ very own Load Balancer as a Service (LBaaS) is a load balancing system that grants our clients easy access to load balancing management tools. It’s like there is a mini Paige (Another SHOUTOUT TO PAIGE, Hostwinds’ Office Mom…WOO!) in the Hostwinds Cloud Portal taking all your internet traffic and passing it to mini Hostwinds employees in an organized way. BOOM, all that traffic gets spread out efficiently to multiple servers. I wish there was a little pocket version of Paige that I could bring with me everywhere because she is so helpful and kind!

Actually, I would be fortunate to have a pocket version of every Hostwinds employee now that I think about it…that would be so awesome. A band of little technical geniuses/funny sweethearts right there in my pocket…epic! That was a rollercoaster of a tangent, wasn’t it? Let’s see if I can drag it out even more…hmm, my pocket Front-Line support team could whisper technical advice and random facts in my ear anytime I needed either…hehehehe…I’ll stop there.

How Hostwinds LBaaS Helps You

One word to describe how Hostwinds LBaaS helps you: optimization. Some servers are inevitably heavy with network data and others are light as a feather. Load balancing services, (undeniable shameless plug:) like Hostwinds’ LBaaS, optimize network connections and website performances by peppering internet traffic to a collective of servers.

Load Balancing in the Hostwinds Cloud Portal

Get a LOAD of this! Whoa, that pun was less than perfect, but I will accept a pity laugh or applause nonetheless. Awww, thank you, thank you. Okay folks, you may stop applauding and cheering now…oh wow, a standing ovation?! You are so sweet to me! I digress. Let’s try this again…Get a LOoOOOaaAaAD of this: You can set up load balancers through Hostwinds’ Cloud Portal. Follow these instructions to create more balance than a yin-yang possesses.

1. Log in to your Hostwinds client account by visiting https://clients.hostwinds.com/clientarea.php.

2. Click the “Cloud Portal” link within the “Cloud Control” drop-down on the baby blue navigation bar at the top of the Client Area.

Navigate to Cloud Portal3. Locate the “Network” drop-down within the white navigation bar at the top of the Cloud Portal and click the “Load Balancers” link.

Navigate to Load Balancers Page

Create a Load Balancer

If you would like to set up a load balancer from scratch, do these things:

1. Click the green “Create” button with the cute little spaceship icon >> Click the “Load Balancer” link at the very bottom of the menu that drops down.

Navigate to Create Load Balancer Page2. Once you’ve decided on a suitable name, data center location, traffic rule(s), and backend server(s), push the green “Add Load Balancer” button to the bottom right.

SPOILER ALERT: We will put a metaphorical pin in the “Advanced Options” drop-down until Part 2 of this blog series. This is the area where you can append a health monitor and a listener to your load balancer.

Add Load Balancer Page3. Click the “Add a Load Balancer” button at the bottom right of the page and your load balancer is all set. Notice the IP address associated with your new load balancer in addition to the load balancer’s location and status that now appear in the Load Balancer Solution page.

View and/or Edit Load Balancer Information

Once you are looking at your Load Balancer Solution page, follow these directions to manage or edit load balancer items:

1. Click the “Actions” drop-down to the right of your existing load balancer >> Click the “View / Edit” option in order to view / edit your load balancer information.

Load Balancer Actions

2. You are able to edit existing traffic rules or add new ones by clicking the silver “Edit” button in the “Traffic Rules” section. You can even switch up the ports to which you apply the traffic rules after expanding this section (by clicking that magical Edit button).

Enable Load Balancer3. Also, make sure your new load balancer is enabled. This is indicated by the green switch to the right of your server name in “Backend Servers” section after you click the silver Edit button. You have the option to switch this on and off to enable or disable the load balancer.

4. Add more members by clicking the silver “Edit” button in the “Backend Servers” area and flip the virtual switch next to “Health Monitor” to give your member a primary care physician.

5. Lastly, click the silver “Edit” button in the “Listener Rules” portion of the page to change the way traffic is spread out between servers.

Add a Member, Health Monitor, and/or Listener

As previously SPOILER ALERTED, we’re going to be going over these delightful tools in Part 2! Stay tuned later this week for the debut of…wait for it…waaaait for it…A BREAKDOWN OF LOAD BALANCERS AND HOSTWINDS LBaaS PART 2. It’s going to be one for the books. Aren’t you proud of me for holding back the “It’s going to be LOADS of fun” that I so badly wanted to tack onto that announcement? People can change!

Load Balance Like a Champ Using Hostwinds LBaaS

The Hostwinds team conscientiously assembled the Cloud Portal Load Balancer Solution with our clients in mind, ensuring the latter will be able to confidently and efficiently set up and maintain their load balancing arrangement. With such a user-friendly interface, you will be able to take care of load balancing procedures in minutes.

Load Balancing

Changing the Web Hosting Industry for the Better

That’s why Hostwinds LBaaS is the bestest and here is another reason why it is wise to use Hostwinds’ products and services in general: Hostwinds has an ($10…maybe even $15 word alert:) altruistic purpose and our team is transparent with our clients. Transparency is one of our core values.

The Hostwinds Team consists of real people and we want to be real with our clients (Shoutout to the CEO of Hostwinds for bringing in such wonderful people to serve Hostwinds…and for consciously doing the right thing rather than taking shortcuts! A huge thanks from me to you, Peter! Wow, this blog piece is just packed with shoutouts and parentheses. Shoutout to whoever invented blogs because the casual writing style of blog posts suits me so well!). Our company’s ethos is that of 24/7/365 respect, quality service, and genuine authenticity.

ANOTHER PART 2 SPOILER ALERT:

We’ll end Part 2 by discussing the following idea in a much less silly way: I know it is easier said than done, but if every single person working in the web hosting industry could put their best foot forward to be honest, authentic, and to feel empathy for their clients, we could potentially (one more cheap and simultaneously mushy pun for the road:) BALANCE the LOADS of blessings, abundance, and prosperity between all our companies and between all our clients. “You couldn’t just end the blog piece on that nice note? You had to throw a pun in there?” asked every single person reading this blog piece. Wait, what? Another standing ovation?!? You are too kind!

All jokes aside, the Hostwinds Family wants you to know that we couldn’t ask for a better client base and community, and you are a piece of that wonderful puzzle. You are the one who deserves the applause and standing ovation. Thank you for being you.

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