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  1. #1

    Load Balancing Software

    Say I got three dedicated servers running windows '03 standard edition. I wanted to use the three of them as a front end for a database

    I'm doing it through a host so they aren't physically connected to eachother and my host doesn't support load balancing directly.

    Whats the best software out there to load balance them?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    your only option at that point is round-robin dns.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    You have a few more options than round robin DNS, which is the crudest and least desirable form of load balancing.

    1. DNS-based load balancing from someone like UltraDNS (there may be others). The big advantage of this approach over round robin is that it will perform health checks on the servers in your load balancing pool and remove any that are down from the pool. The disadvantage is that you're still dealing with a DNS system and it's related problems (DNS caching, proxies causing uneven load distributions, etc). If a node goes down that had active connections, you can expect some users to receive errors using a DNS based method.

    2. Software based load balancing. Windows Server includes load balancing functionality, though I haven't dabbled with it since Windows 2000. IIRC, you need to have your servers on the same subnet for it to work, so depending on the way your host has architected things that may or may not work for you. You may be able to get them to put all three machines on the same VLAN and subnet, in which case Microsoft's NLB may work for you (and it comes with Windows Server 2003 for free).

    How To Set Up TCP/IP for Network Load Balancing in Windows Server 2003
    How To Configure Network Load Balancing Parameters in Windows Server 2003

    Otherwise you have a lot more options if you consider using a Linux server as the load balancer in front of your web servers, from pricey commercial apps like Zeus to open source apps like LinuxVirtualServer, UltraMonkey, etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    If you have a stateless & sessionless application, and the machines are equal in power, Round Robin is your best and easiest choice. Only move to something different if that doesn't work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    You can combine round robin DNS with software-based failover to give you load balancing and automated failover at moderate cost. Simple Failover twinned with Simple DNS Plus works nice for Windows.
    Chris at
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  6. #6
    Thanks to all of you for your replies. Your answers were very helpful

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