Right from Mom and Pop shops till Amazon, every vendor wants to get more and more traffic on his shop- be it a brick and mortar shop or a digital eCommerce platform. While the increased traffic is always a good thing the influx of traffic is a completely different issue altogether. It is something that brings more opportunities but also frightens the sellers by creating bottlenecks. Managing the traffic could be a nightmare whether it is the physical outlet of Wal-Mart or digital outlet of Amazon or eBay.
In the case of digital eCommerce site it is the lack of required resources needed to comfortably handle the traffic that results in outages, downtime and loss of traffic as many visitors might not be able to visit your site and may even end up buying from the rival site. So you see that this traffic influx can have many disadvantages too.
So do we mean that traffic can be bad for your business? No, certainly not. In fact, all your efforts are focused on bringing more traffic to your site. What is undesirable here is to have an influx of traffic when you don’t have the sufficient resources to manage it. One of the best solutions for you could be load balancer, that can help your to face such traffic influx confidently without losing on the performance.
What is load balancer?
According to Wikipedia: “load balancing improves the distribution of workloads across multiple computing resources, such as computers, a computer cluster, network links, central processing units, or disk drives. Load balancing aims to optimize resource use, maximize throughput, minimize response time, and avoid overload of any single resource.”
How do Load balancers help your site?
As we see from the above-mentioned definition the major objectives of load balancer is to relieve the single overloaded servers from the unnecessary burden and thus help in accelerating the speed and enhancing the efficiency. Here are different ways in which load balancing achieves these objectives
• Balanced load distribution across multiple servers
• Enhancing the processing rate that adds to the speed and prevents piling up of tasks
• Reducing the response delay
Why and when does your site require a load balancer (real case scenario of eCommerce site?)
One of the major reasons for a surge in traffic is introducing discount offers, seasonal shopping periods or launching the products. For that, your website should be architected to handle a good amount of traffic. The amount of traffic comfortably handled by your hosting resources plays a vital part here. For example, if your website can only handle 300 visitors you would certainly not expect it to handle a sudden influx of 1000 visitors. However, if you use load balancer the situation can be resolved as the load will be balanced across multiple servers.
How does Load Balancer work?
Load balancer employs sophisticated technologies to balance the load by dividing it among various servers. However, it uses different technologies to achieve the objective. Here are a few of them:
The load balancing helps in even distributions of the total load across multiple servers that effectively reduces the amount of weight borne by each server thus saving them from a getting affected under high demanding situations for balancing the traffic surge.
Whenever your server is turned off for responding to the maintenance issues your audience get the unappealing message ‘website is down” that might send their excitement down the drain. A major disadvantage of such instances is that if any potential clients visit your site and read this message, you will lose a business opportunity that is never a good thing, to say the least.
However, in case you are utilizing the load balancer the traffic is instantly redirected to other well functioning server that would offer an uninterrupted site access to the audience while helping your site to maintain the stable performance. In this way, load balancer prevents you from losing the audience or business opportunities.
Identify the lowered performance and rectifying instantly
Load balancers are especially architected to identify the lowering performance levels of your servers and promptly redistribute the load across multiple servers before the overburdened servers start hurting your business or leaving a negative impact on your clients. As soon as the server’s starts spinning due too heavy load the load balancer relieves it from extra burden by dividing the requests among multiple servers. This additional flexibility and prompt action help in retaining the speed and stability of your site.
What are the various algorithms used by load Balancers?
Though there are a number of algorithms employed by load balancers we would talk about a few popular options:
• The round robin algorithm helps the load balancer to distribute the client's requests to difference server in a sequential manner so as to avoid the situations when a single server gets overloaded. After completing the entire sequence list till the last available server the load balancer again repeats the process and by that time the first server of the sequence should be pretty free to accept and work on the request.
• Another way in which load balancer reduces the load on different server is to look for the server with minimum connections. Less connections at any moment implies that the server is lease burdened and can easily process the new request. For the websites where users stay for longer sessions, this specific model works perfectly fine.
• Another popular way employed by load balance is this: the client source IP address is noted and each such address is allocated a unique hash key. This hash key is used to distribute the request at hand. It helps the load balancer to perfectly take care of broken connection instance as the requests are redirected to the same server once the connection is re-established.
What are the disadvantages of using load balancer?
As load balancing is fully directed towards offering the maximum protection against latency and risks it would not be a wise thing to say that there is any risk attached to load balancers. In fact, the technical testing also re-establishes that using load balancer is absolutely risk-free.
Is it wise to spend on buying load balancer for your website?
While it could not be said that load balancer comes at negligible costs, the cost Vs value makes load balancers a pretty appealing option. Besides they cost much less than the server and that is why if you have recently invested in a new server hosting plan and are experiencing performance or speed challenges then going for load balancer can be the best option available to you.