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  1. #1

    Load Balanced Setup help

    I work as a system administrator/website programmer for a government agency and we are working on setting up a new web platform. I wanted to post and see what you guys would do with the hardware that I have at my disposal and see what you all though of my current plan.

    Here is the equipment I have on hand.

    3 x Dell PowerEdge 650 1U servers (P4 2.6ghz, 2gb ram)
    1 x Cybertron P4 3.0ghz 2GB ram 3x200gbIDE
    1 x Dell PowerConnect 2508 Gigabit switch

    Plus once we move the website to the new servers we will have the old servers freed up... They are Dell P3's one has 1gb ram and the other 2gb.

    Our current setup has a dedicated webserver, sybase ASE server, 2 mail servers(one is secondary dns), a windows mapguide server, a dns server.

    Our current setup is not scalable and our traffic has outgrown our hardware (which has happened consistently every three years or so).

    My plan is to create a load balanced webserver pool and a database server pool.

    I am unsure whether we should look at a software load balancing solution such as LVS (ultramonkey, pirahna) or a hardware load balancer. Our equipment budget is pretty much shot for this year already so it would be preferable to use equipment we have.

    In our DMZ I would like to do this:

    1 director server running UltraMonkey balancing the load to 2 of the dell poweredge 650's (for now, with the option of adding more servers into the pool later). Then have a dedicated sybase server behind each webserver (I'm unsure of how to mirror sybase servers). and have the webservers connecting to the database servers through the gigabit switch on their second ethernet cards. and have the fileserver (cybertron) connected to the switch as well so we can do hourly and nightly backups and store them to that to be backed up onto tape nightly.

    So when someone hits our domain the load balancer dispatches the request to www1 or www2 on eth0 and then the server connects to it's corresponding database server db1 or db2 on eth1 through the gigabit switch and then returns the result and then the webserver responds directly to the client (not through the director).

    Also does anyone know if the main webserver can also be the direct or (ie. have as an address in the pool)??

    Look forward to hearing your suggestions/concerns.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Karachi, Pakistan
    Well you would be better of with a hardware based load balancer. An F5 Networks Big IP Load Balancer in the used/refurbished market will run you less than $2000 perhaps even $1200.

    Its pretty easy to set it up. Go to for more info.
    "I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it. ".
    Rodney Dangerfield (from "I Get No Respect!").

  3. #3
    I'd also look into the Radware devices, they are a little cheaper then the F5 and a bit easier to setup. However, I think the F5's have more beef to them.

  4. #4
    I've contacted all the major hardware load balancing guys for price quotes so hopefully we'll get something back in our price range.

    As for actual network layout though... what do you guys think?

    All our boxes have two intel gigabit ethernet cards in them. So I think we are going to have them all connected to each other through a gigabit switch for internal traffic and the other card to the internet for serving back to the public.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Radware is a good company. I am using linkproof for load balancing 2 lines and helped me a little bit with the configuration. Have a look at their site.

  6. #6
    fuel, with 2 nics in each server, I like setting up 2 switches, and have each card connect to a different switch. That way if a Nic or a switch goes down, you still can route traffic to it. Then put the load balancer before the 2 switches and you've just added a great deal of redundancy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Yes that is possible.

  8. #8
    If you are looking for a cost effective solution, you may want to take a look at LVS - it can use standard hardware, and is quite scalable.
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