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Malcolm Turnbull

Malcolm is the founder of Loadbalancer.org a family run company that has generated 13 years strong organic growth using Open Source technology sold as packaged hardware & software solutions. He has a tendency to talk way too much and play devils advocate in any conversation.

23rd May 2017

in Loadbalancer.org

15 reasons why you don’t need a load balancer

OK time for another embarrassing confession, "For the last 15 years Loadbalancer.org as a company has never needed to use a load balancer!" But that all changed when some spotty hacker decided to attack our website.....

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31st March 2017

in Business

Did you fall for our April Fool?

After the recent introduction of Enterprise Ultra to our hardware family, plus the recent software update 8.2.4. We are pleased to finally announce our new Voice Activated Load Balancer - Enterprise VAL.

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5th March 2017

in AWS and Azure

Vendor lock-in sucks – How do I leave my cloud software provider?

Loadbalancer.org - Vendor lock-in sucks – How do I leave my cloud software provider
As a business owner - I love being able to rent software solutions in the cloud. It's flexible, fast to deploy and evaluate, easy to scale, no large up-front capital investment... But what happens when you want to leave? What happens if ... the provider doubles the price? Halves the performance? Goes bust?
Have you realised just how much freedom you have lost by not having a perpetual licence?

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26th January 2017

in Load Balancing

Do you remember when you could get fired – for not buying F5?

You might not be old enough to remember the highly effective marketing campaign from IBM, that implied buying from anyone else would get you fired... However, I just read Kemp Technologies mildly amusing press release about replacing F5, and it got me thinking - Is it time that F5 starts to run a similar campaign?

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5th February 2016

in Loadbalancer.org

Loadbalancer.org buys new head office building in Portsmouth

Loadbalancer.org is 13 years old, and we thought it was about time we bought our very own office building!

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17th September 2015

in Load Balancing

How should you compare load balancers?

If you are searching on Google for load balancer comparisons - like I just did... you will come across some blatant sales pitches from various vendors. I myself have been guilty of writing a blog entry or two in the past that may have exaggerated the benefits of Loadbalancer.org over Kemp Technologies :-). For the record I think they are a great company and our only serious competitor at this end of the market place. Anyway back to the point, How do you compare load balancer vendors and products?

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19th August 2015

in High Availability

Why do I need two load balancers?

This question was asked a lot more frequently 10 years ago. In fact we were asked it so often that we used it as the title on the home page for that very reason. It amazed me that people would go to all the effort of configuring a cluster of multiple application servers but only use ONE load balancer! That's just plain stupid.

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19th June 2015

in Business

Times they are a Changin’

Bob Dylan’s lyrics in Times they are a-changin’ are quite poignant in our market: for you, as well as for us! We have been very busy behind the scenes over the last few months surveying the load balancer market from many different perspectives. Our commitment to our customers remains a top priority and the feedback we have received determines how we go forward.

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18th May 2015

in Denial Of Service

Blocking invalid range headers using ModSecurity and/or HAProxy (MS15-034 – CVE-2015-1635)

Microsoft quietly patched a fairly nasty little bug (MS15-034) in IIS last month: A simple HTTP request with an invalid range header field value to either kill IIS, reveal data or remotely execute code! We haven't seen one of these in a while and obviously you are safe if you have automatic security patching turned on. However, with our renewed focus on web application security, I thought this would be a good example to show how easy virtual patching is with the industry standard tools used in the Loadbalancer.org appliance.

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6th March 2015

in Denial Of Service

Simple Denial of Service DOS attack mitigation using HAProxy

Denial of Service (DOS) attacks can be especially effective against certain types of web application. If the application is highly dynamic or database intensive it can be remarkably simple to degrade or cripple the functionality of a site. This blog article describes some simple methods to mitigate single source IP DOS attacks using HAProxy. I've described how you would implement the techniques using the Loadbalancer.org appliance but they are easily transferable to any HAProxy based cluster.

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1st December 2014

in Business

Black Friday black out protection with HAProxy

The media industry had lots of fun at the expense of e-commerce outlets on Black Friday mercilessly reporting on site crashes and outages . My wife yelled that I needed to 'fix the Internet' when Argos.co.uk would not respond immediately to her demands on Friday evening. However on closer inspection i.e. reading the page Agros was handling the situation in a very fair and simple way. The holding page displayed apologised because the site was very busy, and within about 2 minutes it let her into the web site to start shopping (nice little Javascript re-direct built into the sorry we are busy page). If you need to implement this kind of functionality for your e-commerce site then it is pretty simple to do with the Loadbalancer.org appliance:

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29th September 2014

in High Availability

Loadbalancer.org product roadmap (as always a work in progress)

Understandably we get quite a few requests for a product road map. We've had a chat about this internally and thought that it would be nice to have a permanent post on the blog that we change on the fly as and when customer requirements change. Putting this on the blog enables our customers to express their arguments for and against new features etc. This entry should also give you a better idea of our priorities and how we develop the product:

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15th August 2013

in HAProxy

Open Source Windows service for reporting server load back to HAProxy (load balancer feedback agent).

In general when you are load balancing a cluster you can evenly spread the connections through the cluster and you get pretty consistent and even load balancing. However with some applications such as RDS (Microsoft Terminal Servers), you can get very high load from just a  few users doing heavy work. The solution to this is to use some kind of server load feedback agent. We've had one of these for a while in our product but now with a lot of help from Simon Horman we've managed to integrate the functionality into the main branch of HAproxy. We thought it would be a good idea to open source our previous work on Ldirectord/LVS, make it compatible with HAProxy, and release our Windows service code as GPL.

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17th May 2013

in Disaster recovery

Some small changes to default settings make achieving high availability easier…..

Loadbalancer.org has always been about high-availability, that is the fundamental reason for our products existence. Performance has always been a nice side effect while maintainability of your application cluster is generally a key sub-set of the primary high-availability objective. However it's time for a confession, the default settings for the Loadbalancer.org appliances in a cluster configuration up until v7.5 have been set by default  for both ease of use and certainty of a valid configuration. The default recommendation for setting up or disaster recovery on the high-availability of the cluster (Heartbeat) has been to force a full sync and therefore inflict a small amount of down time in a maintenance window. Whilst we've always had documentation showing how to handle cluster maintenance and configuration with zero downtime it was definitely time for a change.

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4th May 2013

in HAProxy

What do you mean my pipe is saturated?

Some of the most common questions we get at Loadbalancer.org are performance related. It is quite difficult to give a straight answer to these questions as the real answer is the slightly unsatisfactory, " Um... well it depends on your application...". The following graph showing HAProxy performance for different object sizes gives you a much better idea of the problem:

HaProxybench

As you can quickly see from this graph, the number of connections/s, bandwidth and object size are all closely correlated. Depending on your application and usage pattern you will get vastly different throughput results from your load balanced cluster.

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