Top 5 Open-Source Load Balancers 2021

Nowadays, the world wide web is the backbone of society and industry. More and more people are shifting their businesses online and dependability on the world wide web is seen more today than ever today. Covid-19, the pandemic has also caused an adverse surge in this growing rate of internet users by making it the need of businesses to shift online for their survival. Hence, all the stated facts result in overcrowded internet traffic. 

Even before the pandemic, the world wide web had gained a prominent place in the society without which normal life is unable to function. Therefore, managing and responding to such an enhanced amount of internet users concurrently causes some delays. For example, the social media platforms witnessing a surge of millions of users each day requires managing requests of an enormous number of users all at the same time. 

Traditional website development techniques fail to handle these concurrent requests on their own. Hence, Load Balancers come to the aid.

Load Balancers distribute the user requests over a network to a pool of shared computing resources. 

Load Balancer supports a large pool of servers on the back-end that serve the site's content. When a request is received from the user, the Load Balancer routes it to the back-end servers, thereby equally distributing the requests among the pool of servers.

Here at LinuxAPT, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to perform Server Monitoring and Load Balancers queries.

In this context, we shall look into the top 5 best performing Load Balancers ensuring better and improved site performance and reliability.

Benefits of Load Balancing Software:

Load balancing is essential for deploying the cloud environment in traffic management. 

1. To achieve high availability and sustainability

The more you grow, the stronger network coverage is required. You might need at least two backends servers for high availability, and your load balancer will back up the other servers if the first one is down for any reason. 

2. To put the control point ahead of the services 

It is good to have a control point that enables to change backends while deploying, adding filtering rules, and manage traffic flow. 

1. HAProxy

Released in 2001, the High Availability (HA) load balancer and proxy server is the first choice of many around the globe. The free and open-source paradigm enables smooth functioning and task execution of many websites. The HA load balancer and proxy server are considered the best fit for websites expecting enormous traffic. For example, websites like GoDaddy, GitHub, Stack Overflow, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, all use HAProxy.

HAProxy provides many distinct features such as it processes an enormous number of tasks in a millisecond, offers minimal cost for context switch and memory usage, ability to instantly detect a threat or event on tens of thousands of connections, efficient use of the CPU cycles, and memory bandwidth, optimized timer queue, optimized HTTP header analysis, GZip Compression, avoidance of expensive system calls by carrying out most of the tasks at user end such as file-descriptor enabling/disabling, time reading, buffer aggregation, etc. 

HAProxy provides improved health checks i.e., check agent, SSL, scripted TCP, etc. Due to the platform’s high-security assurance, exceptional performance, and high availability, it is commended as one of the leading load balancers in the market.

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2. Traefik

The modern and efficient, Traefik is an open-source reverse proxy and load balancer that provides a simple routing platform without engaging any complexities. Most popular among the Github Fanclub, Traefik owns approximately 27.7k Github stars.

Traefik ensures seamless integrations and with it, microservices can most seamlessly be deployed. The integrations may include Kubernetes, Docker, Swarm mode, Marathon, Consul, Etcd, Amazon ECS, etc. Traefik configures itself automatically and most dynamically with the said platforms. The developers of the Traefik ought to make an intuitive and simple platform that is easy to operate, but at the same time is capable to support, manage and handle highly complex user requests, and large websites. Along with that, Traefik is designed to manage complicated deployments such as that involving different protocols and environments in the public, private, and hybrid clouds. 

The powerful set of supported middleware enables Traefik to include load balancing, orchestrator ingress, API gateway, as well as east-west service communication, and more. Other diverse capabilities of the platform include its ability to provide HTTPS to your microservices by leveraging Let's Encrypt (wildcard certificates support), circuit breakers and retry, Websocket, HTTP/2, GRPC ready, and many such more amazing features.

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3. Nginx

The founder, Igor Sysoev developed the ultimate diverse solution that served numerous and multiple solutions. NGINX is a commendable Load Balancer along with being an exceptional web hosting server. NGINX was launched in 2002, and during that time, the problem of handling ten thousand concurrent connections, i.e., the so-called C10K problem, was a major issue and much-concerned topic, NGINX brought a solution to this. The Load Balancer provided a web hosting server with Load Balancer that helped enable a lot of businesses and other web platforms. Currently, the diverse, open-source, and yet cross-platform compatible webserver, NGINX hosts more than 30% of all the current functioning websites.

Among many exceptional features of the platform, some include its ability to provide an enhanced web hosting service, reverse proxy mechanism, IMAP/POP3 proxy server, and an API gateway. With its release and ever since its inception, NGINX has given strict competition to Apache owing to its lightweight nature, easy-to-use capability, and enhanced adaptability. NGINX is a powerful web hosting server with name-it-and-you-get-it features and functionalities, some of the many enhanced and diverse features include FastCGI caching, Access control, error redirection, WebSockets, keepalive and pipelined connections, etc. 

NGINX being a product of a stable organization with commendable experts provides a reliable support structure enabling users to get answers to any query and assuring an enhanced user experience.

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4. Seesaw

Seesaw is another top-performing open-source Load Balancer ensuring efficient website performance. The intuitive and user-friendly Load Balancer is very easy to use along with ensuring Multiple VLAN support, anycast, and Direct Server returns are managed through a centralized configuration. HAProxy and NGINX operate up to layer seven, whereas Seesaw operates at layer 4, thereby simply catering to UDP, TCP, SCTP, AH, & ESP traffic, and not going up till the HTTP header or TLS termination, etc.

Some of the many features of the simple load balancer include a simple command-line interface, full support for anycast VIPs, reduce management delay, optimized service availability, and the ability of the platform to save its own logs. The minimalist load balancer is the best choice for Linux, Ubuntu operating systems.

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5. Zevenet

Available for all platforms, ZEVENET was founded in 2012 and is currently among the list of emerging favorites around the globe. Opting for easiness, it's human nature to get swiftly attracted to the paradigms that are easy to understand and user-friendly. And as is the motto of the ZEVENET Load Balancer, it provides its users an intuitive paradigm to meet user's load balancing requirements.

Some of the many advanced and admired features of the platform include its ability to minimize response time and at the same time efficiently optimizing the throughput, it provides optimal DDoS protection, high availability, etc. Owing to its commendable performance and capabilities, many industries and businesses including education, healthcare providers, telecoms, financial institutions, retailers, are adopting the booming Load Balancer in the market. 

ZEVENET assures its users optimal request delivery, increased response time, solution reliability, and overall enhanced security.

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This article reviews the Best Open Source Load Balancers. Load Balancing software assists virtual appliances in monitoring and distributing excess traffic. It helps network administrators and data centers maintain constant loading speed. The load balancing software is used to convey network traffic to specific servers with accurate configurations. 

Load Balancing Algorithms Types:

  • Round-robin Algorithm – The simplest method involves moving the requests within the same order to available servers. 
  • Least-time Algorithm – It selects servers supported by the smallest amount of active requests and the fastest processing speed. The algorithm integrates with powerful algorithms to give the server higher memory, capacity, and power. 
  • Least-connections Algorithm – This algorithm sends requests to servers with the smallest amount of workload. The algorithm sends requests to the smallest amount of busy servers. 
  • Hash-based Algorithm – It assists a hash key to the client and server IP addresses. The algorithm ensures that user's requests are sent to the identical servers containing data from the previous sessions. This ends up in an efficient network resource delivery.

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