In today’s high intensity business environment, maintaining high-speed data network connections to the outside world is essential. Mission critical services such as web access, e-mail, VoIP, VPN and CRM require 24/7, uninterruptable and scalable Internet connections that can cope with fluctuating demands and outages, whilst being as cost effective as possible.
For this reason, many organizations make use of multi-homing, the practice of employing or leasing a number of Internet Service Provider (ISP) Wide Area Network (WAN) links. By using multiple WAN connections and more than one ISP, organizations can maintain operational redundancy and ensure a reliable and efficient service, both to in-house users and to external customers and partners who need access to internal systems.
Link Load Balancing is the technology employed to make this technique work efficiently. Many data centre operators worry about juggling multiple WAN links, in particular the complexities of handling specialist routers, link bonding and the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), but Link Load Balancing technology avoids these complexities.
A link load balancer, or more simply, a link balancer, is a hardware device which manages the process of operating a multi-home architecture. Its primary role is to monitor the status of multiple WAN connections, and balance traffic loads between them based on a number of operational criteria. It is typically installed between perimeter gateway routers and the firewall.
A typical scenario involves an organization making use of two or three ISPs connected by a diverse number of data links ranging from high-speed Fibre Ethernet and other leased lines, to standard DSL broadband. A link balancer will not only monitor for outages on any of these connections but can also be configured to distribute traffic intelligently between links so that they are used simultaneously to maximise operational cost efficiency. For example, by assigning core business traffic to the dedicated lease line and non-core traffic to the slower, but lower cost, DSL or broadband cable.
Link balancing does not only apply to outbound traffic. These devices can also operate inbound link balancing, distributing traffic efficiently from external customers and partners (e.g. website requests) via multiple ISP links, through provision of an Authoritative DNS service, and therefore providing a response specific to each Internet link type.
How it Works
activereach offers a broad range of load balancing consultancy and infrastructure provision, including advice on complex active-passive or active-active balancing and bonding issues. We provide a flexible load balancing solution which can be finely tuned to match any organization’s individual business requirements. This guarantees operational efficiency and scalability, whilst providing opportunities for data traffic cost savings. Our powerful technologies offer advanced load balancing, bandwidth and Quality of Service (QoS) management, combined with ease-of-use and maximum operational resilience.
- Dynamically balance and manage traffic across up to seven Internet WAN links.
- Provide dynamic link load balancing and fail-safe provisioning across multiple ISPs, with connection persistence maintained.
- Multiple link load balancing algorithms including Weighted Round Robin and Weighted Least Connection.
- Real-time monitoring of individual link health, bandwidth and performance using Ping, HTTP, DNS and TCP checking.
- Traffic shaping across different links based on application and user requirements.
- Configurable bandwidth and QoS management policies.
- Inbound load balancing using Authoritative DNS.
- Built-in IPsec VPN gateway for site-to-site VPN.
- Built-in DHCP server for dynamic IP address assignment.
- Load Balancer pairing option for maximum resilience.
- Rapid deployment, slotting into existing router and firewall topologies.
- Easy-to-use Web-based interface with multiple reporting and event logging features.