Global Load Balancing and Challenges in Cloud Computing
We are living in the Age of the Customer where downtime is unacceptable and business systems need to be up and running smoothly — all the time. Although many businesses are leveraging the flexibility of the cloud — public, private or a combination of the two, gaining the ability to load balance across those environments presents new challenges and opportunities. When we talk about load balancing, we are really talking about aligning computing resources with demand.
Historically, load balancing has been used to manage application traffic by distributing workloads across multiple servers and resources, either automatically or on demand, to maximize those resources and give customers a seamless experience. Today, it isn’t uncommon for an organization to manage data centers in different geographic locations, work with a cloud provider with dispersed data centers or even work with multiple cloud providers in locations across the globe. As businesses begin to leverage multiple, geographically dispersed cloud environments, extending the benefits of load balancing across those different environments makes sense.
Global load balancing should be considered if you have or utilize:
- A cluster of servers geographically dispersed and want to direct incoming connections to the closest, healthiest cluster.
- Multiple data centers and want to reserve one of them for a disaster.
- Multiple data centers with region-specific content; for example, privacy laws may dictate that European customer data must remain in Europe, meaning you would need a data center there to house that information.
If you meet one of the circumstances listed above, you’ll want to address data synchronization before implementing global load balancing. Web pages are easy to sync; applications are a bit harder. Synchronizing databases can be downright difficult. You’ll need a plan for keeping data up to date across regions or, in some cases, across the globe. Watch for future blog posts in which we’ll discuss how to make this happen, as well as go over some of the benefits of global load balancing, including reliability and availability; performance; satisfying regulatory and security requirements; and delivering localized content.