Experience with Open Source load balancers?

LaDerrick H. nanog at lacutt.com
Tue May 17 18:57:42 UTC 2011

On Mon, May 16, 2011 at 04:15:45PM -0700, Welch, Bryan wrote:
> Greetings all.
> I've been tasked with comparing the use of open source load balancing software against commercially available off the shelf hardware such as F5, which is what we currently use.  We use the load balancers for traditional load balancing, full proxy for http/ssl traffic, ssl termination and certificate management, ssl and http header manipulation, nat, high availability of the physical hardware and stateful failover of the tcp sessions.  These units will be placed at the customer prem supporting our applications and services and we'll need to support them accordingly.
> Now my "knee jerk" reaction to this is that it's a really bad idea.  It is the heart and soul of our data center network after all.  However, once I started to think about it I realized that I hadn't had any real experience with this solution beyond tinkering with it at home and reading about it in years past.
> Can anyone offer any operational insight and real world experiences with these solutions?

I've used LVS and other Open Source solutions in the past.  As others
have alluded to, these require knowledge and experience with the
underlying OS and network stack that's often lacking in many
organizations.  A good hybrid solution which implements all (I think) of
your requirements is Zeus (http://www.zeus.com/)  It's a software
solution which you can deploy on your own hardware.  It's been very
solid in my experience.  You can deploy the software in a clustered
configuration if needed, though I've only used it in an HA pair.


> TIA, replies off list are welcomed.
> Regards,
> Bryan

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