Cloud load balancer: Why would I use my own?

Cloud load balancer: Why would I use my own?

Cloud & IT Infrastructure Updated on 4 mins

It seems like everyone is moving to one cloud or another, for the obvious reason that someone else is supplying that expensive infrastructure and looking after it. But the assumption is that the load balancer is inherently provided with your cloud infrastructure. This is not always the case.

Why do you really need a load balancer in the cloud?

Similar to their function in a data center, load balancers play an instrumental part in cloud environments. They distribute workload traffic, demands and computing resources across multiple virtual servers residing in the cloud. They also assist in the cloud’s scalability by distributing traffic across newly spun up virtual machines or application instances.

By spreading the work evenly, a cloud load balancer maximizes your application performance and responsiveness. So, knowing it makes sense to have one, the next decision is which load balancing provider to use: cloud-native or platform-agnostic.

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Platform-agnostic vs cloud-native. Which one to choose?

Any cloud native solution is potentially ideal for load balancing any application to external users to get high performance and make it cost effective. However, many companies use their own load balancer software so that they can use additional features and benefits which are often absent in cloud-native load balancing solutions.

Here’s why....

Performing application lift and shift:

While it is good practice to modernize an application before moving it to the cloud, there are many instances where a lift and shift approach is the best or only option. A cloud-native load balancer can certainly work well as a replacement for any on premise equivalent. However, if you must keep things configured just as they are, moving your traditional load balancer to the cloud makes most sense as it will offer the exact same features and functionality meaning that you won’t need to re-engineer anything. With ‘lift and shift’ the cloud version of the application is almost exactly the same as your previous on site implementation (including the load balancers) - so you won't need to learn, test and integrate an unfamiliar cloud load balancer to your application.

Hybrid Environments with multi-site resiliency and security:

Cloud-native load balancers are not ideal for your enterprise applications hosted on Infrastructure as a Service platforms. Because cloud-native load balancers obviously can’t work inside your private cloud / VPC / region / office. They are typically specific to their own environment, limiting their use in a hybrid environment.

Traffic management becomes more complicated as you're dealing with multiple infrastructures and configurations. Platform-agnostic software load balancers will distribute traffic intelligently between your cloud and data centers to avoid a single cloud instance running which increases the load and costs. In an active-passive configuration, the load balancer can deliver the redundancy required in an event of a failure. The GSLB function provides geographic site selection giving the resilience via site fail-over and fail-back and the WAF configuration adds the extra layer of security needed but at the same time allows to easily configure and manage standardized security policies across cloud platforms. The simple concept of ‘lift and shift’ can also be a major benefit in a hybrid environment as the overhead of understanding multiple-cloud environments is non-trivial.

For high traffic scenarios or unlimited use of resources across regions:

Any traffic going in and out of cloud native load balancers is charged. But did you know you can also get punitive charges for load balancing inside a region or across regions? If you are expecting high traffic within your application, platform-agnostic load balancers offer unlimited throughput allowing you to control not only your ingress and egress, but also internal costs between regions.

Providers also enforce quotas to prevent unforeseen spikes of resource usage. For example, quotas can limit the number of load balancers that can be created, number of rules, SSL certificates, and much more. You may end up in situations where your application will no longer be available if you reach the quota capacity or have to pay a high cost for each rule, for example in the Amazon WAF implementation. Again, many platform-agnostic load balancers do not provide any restrictions on resources and will be more beneficial in the long term, when you’re deploying more applications in the cloud.

Cloud printing:

Quocirca’s MPS 2021 Study revealed that over three quarters (77%) of organizations are already using some form of cloud service to manage at least some of their print jobs. And the trend will grow to relieve IT teams from the burden of managing complex print infrastructure which can be simplified with cloud.

High Availability printing is not easy when using a cloud based service provider. Understanding how to integrate with multiple existing management platforms is critical. Security configuration (think firewall pinholes) can also be very complicated. In order for the multi-functional devices (MFDs) and management applications to see only one IP address, a local load balancer is the best option. The load balancer can do what it is designed to do:, balance the load across one or more servers easily, switching automatically to the active print server to eliminate any down time for printing.

If you’re interested to learn more about why printers need load balancing, read our blog: Why Printers Need Load Balancing.


Why choose Loadbalancer.org? Spoiler: It’s in the name!

Built on open source technology, our load balancers combine responsiveness, security and flexibility with a support team of technical engineers that will guide you throughout your journey to the cloud. Our support is available 24/7 for all of our customers who need assistance with deployment, troubleshooting, or even technical advice.

We continue to provide class-leading load balancing solutions across physical, virtual and cloud. Our load balancers are built to look and work the same way across hardware, virtual, or cloud, so your experience will be identical on any platform you choose. The same interface and features are also available across all deployment types.

Our cloud load balancers are available for GCP, AWS, and Azure marketplaces with fantastic reviews from customers. In fact, we are one of the featured Application Delivery & Performance solutions for AWS.

Or to learn more, check our deployment guides:

In the next blog, we will be delving deeper into AWS load balancers and its cost calculations. Stay tuned!

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