|By Lori MacVittie||
|November 16, 2012 10:00 AM EST||
Choice of load balancing algorithms is critical to ensuring consistent and acceptable performance
One of the primary reasons folks use a Load balancer is scalability with a secondary driver of maintaining performance. We all know the data exists to prove that "seconds matter" and current users of the web have itchy fingers, ready to head for the competition the microsecond they experience any kind of delay.
Similarly, we know that productivity is inherently tied to performance. With more and more critical business functions "webified", the longer it takes to load a page the longer the delay a customer or help desk service representative experiences, reducing the number of calls or customers that can be serviced in any given measurable period.
So performance is paramount, I see no reason to persuade you further to come to that conclusion.
Ensuring performance then is a vital operational directive. One of the ways operations tries to meet that objective is through load balancing. Distributing load ensures available and can be used to offset any latency introduced by increasing capacity (again, I don't think there's anyone who'll argue against the premise that load and performance degradation are inherently tied together).
But just adding a load balancing service isn't enough. The algorithm used to distribute load will invariably impact performance – for better or for worse.
Consider the industry standard "fastest response time" algorithm. This algorithm distributes load based on the historical performance of each instance in the pool (farm). On the surface, this seems like a good choice. After all, what you want is the fastest response time, so why not base load balancing decisions on the metric against which you are going to be measured?
The answer is simple: "fastest" is relative. With very light load on a pool of, say, three servers, "fastest" might mean sub-second responses. But as load increases and performance decreases, "fastest" might start creeping up into the seconds – if not more. Sure, you're still automagically choosing the fastest of the three servers, but "fastest" is absolutely relative to the measurements of all three servers.
Thus, "fastest response time" is probably a poor choice if one of your goals is measured in response time to the ultimate customer – unless you combine it with an upper connection limit.
HOW TO USE "FASTEST RESPONSE TIME" ALGORITHMS CORRECTLY
One of the negatives of adopting a cloud computing paradigm with a nearly religious-like zeal is that you buy into the notion that utilization is the most important metric in the data center. You simply do not want to be wasting CPU cycles, because that means you're inefficient and not leveraging cloud to its fullest potential.
Well, horse-puckey. The reality is that 100% utilization and consistently well-performing applications do not go hand in hand. Period. You can have one, but not the other. You're going to have to choose which is more important a measurement – fast applications or full utilization.
In the six years I spent load testing everything from web applications to web application firewalls to load balancers to XML gateways one axiom always, always, remained true:
As load increases performance decreases.
You're welcome to test and retest and retest again to prove that wrong, but good luck. I've never seen performance increase or even stay the same as utilization approaches 100%.
Now, once you accept that reality you can use it to your advantage. You know that performance is going to decrease as load increases, you just don't know at what point the degradation will become unacceptable to your users. So you need to test to find that breaking point. You want to stress the application and measure the degradation, noting the number of concurrent connections at which performance starts to degrade into unacceptable territory. That is your connection limit.
Keep track of that limit (for the application, specifically, because not all applications will have the same limits). When you configure your load balancing service you can now select fastest response time but you also need to input hard connection limits on a per-instance basis. This prevents each instance from passing through the load-performance confluence that causes end-users to start calling up the help desk or sighing "the computer is slow" while on the phone with their customers.
This means testing. Not once, not twice, but at least three runs. Make sure you've found the right load-performance confluence point and write it down. On your hand, in permanent marker.
While cloud computing and virtualization have certainly simplified load balancing services in terms of deployment, it's still up to you to figure out the right settings and configuration options to ensure that your applications are performing with the appropriate levels of "fast".
It's time to face reality: "Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus," and in today's increasingly connected world, understanding "inter-planetary" alignments and deviations is mission-critical for cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems, discussed cultural expectations of privacy based on new research across these elements
Jan. 26, 2015 09:15 AM EST Reads: 3,303
Mobile, the cloud and data have upended traditional ways of doing business. Agile, continuous delivery and DevOps have stepped in to hasten product development, but one crucial process still hasn't caught up. Continuous content delivery is the missing limb of the success ecosystem. Currently workers spend countless, non-value add hours working in independent silos, hunting for versions, manually pushing documents between platforms, all while trying to manage the continuous update and flow of mul...
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,503
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects - scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e....
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,905
"At Harbinger we do products as well as services. Our services are with helping companies move their products to the cloud operating systems. Some of the challenges we have seen as far as cloud adoption goes are in the cloud security space," noted Shrikant Pattathil, Executive Vice President at Harbinger Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,163
After a couple of false starts, cloud-based desktop solutions are picking up steam, driven by trends such as BYOD and pervasive high-speed connectivity. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, cut through the hype and the acronyms, and discussed the emergence of full-featured cloud workspaces that do for the desktop what cloud infrastructure did for the server. He also discussed VDI vs DaaS, implementation strategies and evaluation criteria.
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,848
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP ...
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,797
“The year of the cloud – we have no idea when it's really happening but we think it's happening now. For those technology providers like Zentera that are helping enterprises move to the cloud - it's been fun to watch," noted Mike Loftus, VP Product Management and Marketing at Zentera Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 2,954
Bring the world's best IaaS to the world's best PaaS. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Animesh Singh, a Senior Cloud Architect and Strategist for IBM Cloud Labs, and Jason Anderson, a Cloud Architect for IBM Cloud Labs, shared their experiences running Cloud Foundry on OpenStack. They focused on how Cloud Foundry and OpenStack complement each other, how they technically integrate using cloud provider interface (CPI), how we could automate an OpenStack setup for Cloud Foundry deployments, an...
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,972
"Application monitoring and intelligence can smooth the path in a DevOps environment. In a DevOps environment you see constant change. If you are trying to monitor things in a constantly changing environment, you're going to spend a lot of your job fixing your monitoring," explained Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 4,207
"Desktop as a Service is emerging as a very big trend. One of the big influencers of this – for Esri – is that we have a large user base that uses virtualization and they are looking at Desktop as a Service right now," explained John Meza, Product Engineer at Esri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,179
The consumption economy is here and so are cloud applications and solutions that offer more than subscription and flat fee models and at the same time are available on a pure consumption model, which not only reduces IT spend but also lowers infrastructure costs, and offers ease of use and availability. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, discussed this shifting dynamic with an ...
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,266
More and more file-based and machine generated data is being created every day causing exponential data and content growth, and creating a management nightmare for IT managers. What data centers really need to cope with this growth is a purpose-built tiered archive appliance that enables users to establish a single storage target for all of their applications - an appliance that will intelligently place and move data to and between storage tiers based on user-defined policies. In her session a...
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,863
Recurring revenue models are great for driving new business in every market sector, but they are complex and need to be effectively managed to maximize profits. How you handle the range of options for pricing, co-terming and proration will ultimately determine the fate of your bottom line. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems, session examined: How time impacts recurring revenue How to effectively handle customer plan changes The range of pricing a...
Jan. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,934
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, ...
Jan. 26, 2015 07:45 AM EST Reads: 3,718
IBM has announced a new strategic technology services agreement with Anthem, Inc., a health benefits company in the U.S. IBM has been selected to provide operational services for Anthem's mainframe and data center server and storage infrastructure for the next five years. Among the benefits of the relationship, Anthem has the ability to leverage IBM Cloud solutions that will help increase the ease, availability and speed of adding infrastructure to support new business requirements.
Jan. 26, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 2,074
Vormetric on Wednesday announced the results of its 2015 Insider Threat Report (ITR), conducted online on their behalf by Harris Poll and in conjunction with analyst firm Ovum in fall 2014 among 818 IT decision makers in various countries, including 408 in the United States. The report details striking findings around how U.S. and international enterprises perceive security threats, the types of employees considered most dangerous, environments at the greatest risk for data loss and the steps or...
Jan. 26, 2015 04:45 AM EST Reads: 2,259
Companies today struggle to manage the types and volume of data their customers and employees generate and use every day. With billions of requests daily, operational consistency can be elusive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Dave McCrory, CTO at Basho Technologies, will explore how a distributed systems solution, such as NoSQL, can give organizations the consistency and availability necessary to succeed with on-demand data, offering high availability at massive scale.
Jan. 26, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 2,322
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your o...
Jan. 26, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 4,349
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Jan. 26, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 3,903
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial C...
Jan. 26, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 3,962