What is a Load Balancer? Use cases: An Analogy

Load Balancer is the tool that manages the network traffic and distributes it across multiple servers in a cloud environment. Load balancing is the process of distributing traffic across your network of servers to ensure that the system does not get overwhelmed and all requests are handled easily and efficiently.

The load balancer is an essential component in distributed computing architecture. As the name suggests, the role of a load balancer is to distribute the incoming network traffic among the cluster of the distributed servers so that the work done by a single computer will be distributed among multiple computers which makes the process faster and highly available.  

Most of the time engineering is required to solve different problems. Solution of a problem is generally similar and it is selected from previously experienced solutions. This situation is actually similar to real life problems also. When a problem is encountered, solution for this problem is selected from previous solutions

#Let’s understand the load balancing process using the restaurant analogy

Imagine a restaurant with only a single chef where the chef can cook dishes one by one based on the order placed. So that everyone needs to wait in the queue until the previous order gets completed. Initially a single chef could handle the orders since the number of customers visiting the restaurant was less. But as the days go on, the number of customers have increased adding an additional load on a single chef. To compensate for the additional load the restaurant recruits two or more chefs to make the process faster. Let’s assume the chefs are cooking independently and don’t know about what the other chefs are cooking and the orders are taken by the chefs one by one in a round-robin manner.

This process will lead to the following limitations:

  • What if the items taken by one chef will take more time to cook than the other two? So again one will get more load than the other two and the process will become slower
  • What if one chef is on leave? So that his orders will get unnoticed since the chefs don’t know about each other’s work
  • What if one chef is specialized in something whereas others don’t know how to cook the same?
  • What if the restaurant recruits a new chef specialized only in particular dishes?

To overcome the above limitation we need someone to supervise(monitor) the chef’s activities to distribute the orders among the chefs. The Supervisor of the restaurant will distribute the orders based on the chef’s load, availability, specialization and various other factors to make the process quicker. This is how a load balancer works in a distributed computing environment.

Why is load balancing important?

There are a number of reasons why load balancing is important. Load balancer lets you:

  • Distribute load-balanced resources in single or multiple regions
  • Meet your high availability requirements
  • Scale your resources up or down with intelligent Autoscaling
  • And use cloud content delivery network (CDN) for optimal content delivery

With Google Cloud Load Balancing, you can serve content as close as possible to your users, on a system that can respond to over 1 million queries per second! Holla at us and we will gladly guide you and implement as you sit back and relax optimizing your data.

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