10 reasons NOT to choose Loadbalancer.org...

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After the success of my previous ramblings, 10 reasons to choose Loadbalancer.org..., I thought it only fair that I take a few moments to highlight the reasons why you shouldn't be using Loadbalancer.org...

1. Link Balancing:

If I had a dollar for every time someone had asked me for a link balancer, well, I'd have a lot of dollars. Link load balancing is to balance traffic among multiple links from different ISPs or one ISP for better scalability and availability of Internet connectivity, and also cost saving. See Link Load Balancing for more information. SmoothWall, FatPipe & Xrio all provide appliances to do this. We have discussed, many times, the idea of cashing in on this opportunity and offering our own link balancer product, but it is very difficult to support to the levels that we demand as a company. The core problem being that it only really works if your ISP supports the link balancing technology.

2. Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB):

GSLB is the technique of distributing network traffic between multiple different geographic locations. GSLB uses DNS (Domain Name Services), which translates www.google.com into an IP address, so when you type www.google.com GSLB (through DNS) will give you the IP address of your local Google site (if you are not in the US). We could quite easily follow our competitors and hack a decent PowerDNS interface onto our appliance, but we wouldn't believe in the product and we pride ourselves on our honesty. Please see here for more information on our thoughts regarding GSLB.

3. If you REALLY like yellow:

The Loadbalancer.org product range comes with our standard grey and red branding. The only place you'll ever see yellow with Loadalancer.org is in our web user interface when one of your clusters needs attention. Conversely, KEMP Technologies love yellow. You'll get yellow all over the user interface, the manuals, and even the hardware devices themselves will come in a yellow chassis! Technically the two products are very similar, but if you have some crazed infatuation with yellow then definitely go with KEMP.

4. Firewall Balancing:

Firewall load balancing allows an enterprise to easily scale, provide stateful failover, and optimize performance for multiple firewalls. Our load balancers do not implement the required load balancing technology of reverse sticky persistence, as this is generally a nightmare to both configure and support. We recommend you use your firewall vendors recommendations when trying to load balance multiple firewalls. Good luck! NB. All of the Loadbalancer.org ENTERPRISE product family can, of course, be used as a secure firewall. However, it is strongly recommended that you should have separate dedicated firewalls and dedicated load balancing devices as a second firewall layer.

5. WAN Balancing:

WAN balancing is a method of evenly distributing user traffic across a WAN (Wide Area Network) in order to improve the availability and overall performance. Several vendors, including BlueCoat and Riverbed, enable inline compression for optimization with or without link balancing. It's mainly for corporate networks to save on bandwidth costs. In our opinion this can be easily fixed at the application layer, but can also be a valuable tool in the corporate cost cutting department.

6. If you have a bottomless budget:

If money isn't an issue, or you're trying to spend the remainder of this years budget, then go with F5. F5 are undoubtedly market leaders and offer a genuinely fantastic product with all the features you could ever want, and more. However for standard Layer 4/7 load balancing our product range will perform to at least the same levels, at a fraction of the cost.

7. HTTP compression:

This is another surprisingly common request, probably by people who have been handed a list of required features but don't actually understand what they're asking for. Whilst we can provide manual support for HTTP compression this is a totally unnecessary feature nowadays as backend servers do this automatically and much faster than any load balancer.

8. DDOS protection:

All load balancer vendors will claim to offer DDOS protection, but if this is important to you then you might want to dig a little deeper. We offer all the standard kernel based settings, such as SYN cookies. You can also do rate limiting using iptables (but we don't recommend this). I believe HAProxy and LVS also provide a certain level of DOS protection but I'm unaware of the specific details. Generally, if a DDOS attack is a concern of yours then we advise protecting against this at the ISP level. SNMP and a decent collector will allow you to spot a DOS in progress, so that you can call your ISP and ask them to block it! I understand that this may not be the required level of DDOS mitigation you're after, but all load balancers (other than perhaps the top end vendors) can only provide this level of protection.

OK, I am aware that this article is titled '10 reasons NOT to choose Loadbalancer.org', but I'm struggling for ideas now so thought I'd leave the final two reasons for anyone else to contribute.