A Breakdown of Load Balancers & Hostwinds’ LBaaS (Load Balancer as a Service) Pt. 2

Load Balancer Part 2
Abigail, Benjamin, & Some Load Balancer Visual Aids

Good morning and/or afternoon and/or evening! How are you? On the tip of your seat waiting to read Part 2 of this blog series after enjoying Part 1 so much? You are without a doubt, unequivocally, certainly the kindest, most wonderful audience the Hostwinds Team could ask for! Do you think my assumptions about the answers you’ll give to the highly subjective rhetorical questions I ask could possibly have something to do with how fantabulous I think you are? I didn’t think so either. You are so right.

SPOILER ALERT for every single blog piece published in the future: The goofiness never ends.

Are you ready to continue to learn all the sweet things you can do within Hostwinds’ LBaaS (Load Balancer as a Service)?

You always know the right thing to say, you charismatic audience you! If you’d like to read Part 1, click the link below:

https://www.hostwinds.com/blog/news/a-breakdown-of-load-balancers-hostwinds-lbaas-load-balancer-as-a-service-pt-1/

PART. 2. LET’S. DO. THIS.

 

More Rhetorical Questions

All finished reading Part 1? Did you like it? What? You we flabbergasted by its originality and the breathtakingly useful information contained within it? Awww, you’re just saying that!

Moving on to the really cool stuff now. There were 3 components of LBaaS that we barely touched on in Part 1 – members, health monitors, and listeners.

 

Members

“Member” is a fancy way to describe a server within a server pool. Follow these steps to add a new member to your server pool family:

1. Navigate to the Hostwinds Cloud Portal if you’re not already there (See Part 1 for instructions as to how to navigate to this page).

2. Click that green “Create” button at the top right of the page >>> Click the “Load Balancer” link at the very bottom of the menu that pops up.

3. We talked about creating a load balancer in Part 1, but we did not discuss where the member comes in. Within the “Backend Servers” section of this page, you can add a member by clicking the white “Add New Backend Server” button to the right of the server name. That’s it! You’ve got a new member. Make sure to enter your preferred IP address and server name in the empty fields in this section before clicking the Add New Backend Server button. If you’d like to add another member to your server pool, simply repeat this process.

Load Balancer Backend Servers

All you have to do to have a looksie at your members is:

1. Get back to that good ol’ Load Balancer Solution page >>> Click the (shameless plug in the form of a very positive adjective:) well-designed “Actions” drop-down menu to the right of your load balancer’s status >>> Click the “View/Edit” link.

2. Click the silver “Edit” button in the “Backend Servers” section to edit your current member or add more members (by clicking the “Add New Backend Server” button to the right).

While you are creating your load balancer, the Hostwinds Team also advises you to tack a health monitor onto your epic load balancing package.

 

Health Monitors

Someone defined health monitors in a very eloquent and effective way…hmmmm, I’m trying to remember who that was…OH, IT WAS ME!!! In Part 1 of this verbose blog series, I refer to health monitors as tools that “ keep a close eye on each member, protecting the delicate balance of data circulation in the server farm.” I go on to suggest thinking 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.”

Now that you know what a health monitor is, here is how to add one to your LBaaS situation in the Cloud Portal:

1. While you are creating a load balancer (by clicking the Create button, then clicking the Load Balancer option), click the “Advanced Options” drop-down menu >>> Flip the virtual switch to the right of “Health Monitor.”

Create Load Balancer - Health Monitor

2. There it is – another sweet pop-up menu. WHOA, so much information. What does it all mean? Let’s go through it piece by piece:

Delay – Once again, one of the (part 1 of me reminding you of your genius, Hostwinds’ Front-Line Team:) extremely intelligent Front-Line Support Team Members explained it in a way much better than I ever could. Said team member defines “Delay” as “the time in milliseconds between sending two consecutive requests to pool members” within the following Hostwinds Knowledge Base guide:

https://www.hostwinds.com/guide/hostwinds-cloud/adding-a-health-monitor/

On to the next:

Up Retries – …Who am I kidding? The above Knowledge Base guide goes over all the aspects of health monitors in better, more concise ways than I can. To receive excellent information about what each of these health monitor elements is all about, including but not limited to “Timeout,” “Monitor Type,” “Up Retries,” “HTTP Method,” “HTTP Response Codes,” or “URL Path,” follow the guide above.

Similar to the process by which we view members, you can check out your health monitors by clicking the “Actions” drop-down menu in the Load Balancer Solution page, then clicking the “View / Edit” link. The page to which you are directed has a Health Monitor section and you can switch things up there.

Note: If you’ve created a load balancer without a health monitor and want to add one later, you can! Just flip that virtual switch next to “Health monitor” and add it within the Load Balancer Solution page.

That’s how you add a health monitor with ease and here is how to add listeners just as easily:

 

Listeners

I know I’ve read a quote somewhere that is some derivative of: “The wisest individuals talk the least, as to listen to the wisdom/information other people share with them.” When I searched for this quote, the closest I found was from the well-known philosopher, Mr. 50 Cent. He says, “Wise men listen and laugh, while fools talk.” Mic. Dropped.

Dad joke #1: That quote is worth WAY more than 50 cents!

Dad joke #2: I’d pay 50 billion cents for that knowledge any day.

Dad joke #3: I PITTY THE FOOL who talks and doesn’t listen! Wait, that’s Mr. T! I got my rappers mixed up! …I still think that was a Grade A dad joke.

It’s wise to listen and it’s very wise to add a listener to your LBaaS.

Definition of Listener

(Part 2 of me reminding you of your genius, Hostwinds’ Front-Line Team:) One of Hostwinds’ ($10 word of the century:) percipient Front-Line Support Team members, Benjamin, helped me understand listeners by explaining something along the lines of this: Listeners monitor network traffic. Once listeners detect inbound or outbound traffic, the former trigger an algorithm to sort the traffic between servers. The Hostwinds Front-Line Team is seriously a magical walking technical encyclopedia/dictionary.

Here is how you add a listener to your load balancer in Hostwinds’ Cloud Portal:

1. Last time I repeat the same thing over again: While in the “Create a Load Balancer” page, click the “Advanced Options” drop-down arrow.

2. From here, the nicely organized form will prompt you to select a suitable algorithm and persistence type.

Load Balancer Listener Rules

Great, so what the heck do those things mean? I legitimately had no idea until I was saved by (Part 3 of me reminding you of your genius, Hostwinds’ Front-Line Team:) Abigail, one of Front-Line’s brainy experts. She helped me with these so-called “algorithms” and “persistence types.” THANKS, Abigail! I was lost before I found you (purposely misspelled word coming up here:) GUUURRRLL!

Algorithm

Algorithms are a bit easier to understand/metaphorically digest than most of this load balancer vocabulary. Each algorithm spreads network traffic across multiple servers in a different way. Round Robin, Least Connections, and Source IP are your choices.

Round Robin – Round Robin distributes traffic equally between all servers within the server pool.

Least Connections – This algorithm sends traffic to the server that has the fewest connections.

Source IP – I tried explaining this in around fifteen different ways and none of those explanations even came close to this one from the terrific Knowledge Base guide found at https://www.hostwinds.com/guide/adding-listeners/: “The load balancer will compute hash values based on the IP address of the client and the server, then use the hash value for optimal routing. This ensures that requests from the same client (IP address) will always go to the same member, even when there is an issue of broken connections.”

(Part 4 of me reminding you of your genius, Hostwinds’ Front-Line Team:) Hostwinds’ Front-Line Team, have I told you how brilliant you are lately? No? Oh…well, (the next purposely misspelled word approaching:) YERRR BRILLIANT.

Persistence Type

The “Persistent Type” drop-down is where you choose what mechanism you prefer to use to ensure that your website users can still view your site even if the connection breaks. Your options are listed and explained below:

Application Cookie – You can create a cookie containing your website information and use this cookie to keep your website going if the connection breaks.

HTTP Cookie – You are also able to use a default HTTP cookie to spit out your website’s content if the connection breaks.

Use Source IP – Lastly, but not (purposely misspelled word again:) leastly, you can choose this cookie-free option whereby your load balancer uses your IP address to try to get your website going again after a broken connection.

Would you like more load balancer clarification and/or education? The following Knowledge Base guide gives more detailed information regarding all these things we addressed in Part 1 and 2 of this blog series:

Creating A Load Balancer

 

Mushy & Inspirational Conclusion

(I say this a lot, but nonetheless:) We did it! We went through all the (yet another purposely misspelled word:) loverly things Hostwinds’ LBaaS allows you to do in the Cloud Portal! Now that the charming overview of Hostwinds’ LBaaS is complete, let’s get right into the mushy stuff: We already went over what makes not only Hostwinds LBaaS, but also Hostwinds’ products, services, support, and essence the (aaaand, yet another purposely misspelled word…wow, there are a lot of these:) bestest in Part 1. While meditating on Hostwinds’ ethical team and purpose, an insight came to me. Oh wait, before we get into this, a warning is necessary…THIS GETS really MUSHY! Oh, you didn’t guess it yet? I’m a total sentimental tenderhearted emotional bundle of love and it makes me so happy to serve a company that I can honestly say pleasant and kind things about.

Getting back on track with the point here: What if we (here is where it gets mushier than oatmeal) could create a more sincere and reliable web hosting industry where clients don’t ever have to worry about being taken advantage of by any company? An entire industry, not just a company or a few companies, that people can truly trust. Here’s how I see this change gradually coming about: What if the CEO of every web hosting company made the choice to hire those committed to giving clients the same help, respect, and support they would give to their close friends or family. If all employees of web hosting companies commit to being the best they can be every day, this mushy and seemingly idealistic idea can become a reality.

We are Family

Why should Hostwinds lead this movement you ask? Well, speaking straight from the heart here: I’ve served a lot of companies…I mean A LOT…within various industries, and I can truthfully say I’ve never been surrounded by so many thoughtful individuals of integrity. I suppose it is possible, or even likely, that other web hosting companies have just as many trustworthy and dependable employees and I seriously hope that’s the case! Our company’s success doesn’t have to take away from other companies’ success, as there is abundance for all of us. I know what you’re thinking: “PREAAACH GUUURRRRLL!” Oh, I’m preaching alright!

All I can say is that, on our end, the Hostwinds Team will (direct quote from our website,  https://www.hostwinds.com/, here:) “always treat you as if you were family.”

(Mushiest part coming up:) Calling all those working in the web hosting industry: let’s strive to do this until we turn the web hosting industry into a huge happy family. I would bet money I know what song is now stuck in your head(/will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day)…wait for it…wait for it…waaaaaait for it…(*Musical Notes*) “WE! ARE! FAMILYYYY! I GOT ALL MY SISTAZ WITH ME!” (*Musical Notes*) Have a blessed week fam!

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