Experience with Open Source load balancers?

Brent Jones brent at servuhome.net
Wed May 18 01:12:01 UTC 2011

On Tue, May 17, 2011 at 11:57 AM, LaDerrick H. <nanog at lacutt.com> wrote:
> 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.
> LaDerrick
>> TIA, replies off list are welcomed.
>> Regards,
>> Bryan

+1 for Zeus. Use it in our production network with great success.
Magnitudes cheaper than a solution from F5, and doesn't hide the inner
workings of the product if you want to do some things outside the
scope of support.
Zeus also does licensing just based on throughput, not arbitrary
transactions per second like F5 does/did. If you're hardware can push
the traffic, theres no limitations on the number of transactions or

Brent Jones
brent at servuhome.net

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