Load Balancers 101: The Difference Between Virtual and Hardware Load Balancers

Load balancers, defined simply, are stress-reducers for your host servers. Load balancers are machines that help you manage all incoming traffic effectively, reduce the load time, and enjoy scalability.

While there are different load balancers, let’s talk about virtual load balancers in this blog. We’ll also touch on the topic of virtual load balancers vs. hardware load balancers, and finally, learn its benefits.

What is a virtual load balancer?

Everyone in the industry is looking for a solution to accommodate incoming traffic, manage traffic spikes, scale over time, and yet preserve unparalleled performance. Not to forget: a solution that is cost-efficient and can be managed easily. That’s where virtual load balancers come into play.

Virtual load balancers are virtualized application delivery controller software that helps to distribute network traffic load amongst backend servers. They are typically used by larger companies with constant spikes in traffic and capacity needs.

VLBs are software-based machines of hardware load balancers. It ensures your website and applications are running smoothly, regardless of the size of your company or the incoming traffic. It does so by effectively distributing traffic to a group of servers, machines, or other types of loads.

Let’s understand it with an example. Imagine an educational institute builds a portal to help its students to connect with faculties, have the flexibility of selecting their course, and for the staff to upgrade and configure the portal regularly. Naturally, the website is made to accommodate a high volume of traffic. In the said case, it’s integral for the website not to experience any downtime but provide good performance, security, and stability for a flawless user experience. Virtual load balancers help split out this traffic to various IP addresses and manage the load on the back end with no hiccups on the clients’ end. Your virtual load balancer will act, look and function just like the hardware one, only with improvised flexibility and scalability.

Virtual Load Balancing vs. Hardware Load Balancing

The virtual load balancer is a software-based load- balancing system that distributes incoming traffic across multiple targets such as servers, services, backend applications, etc. It’s software installed on the host machine that enables remote monitoring and controlling of the hosts. Virtual machines possess the same code that of hardware load balancers. A software version of a very complex hardware device, your virtual load balancer is the solution to a problem made obsolete by the advent of cloud computing.

On the other hand, hardware load balancers are on-premise, physical hardware machines that can serve a large amount of traffic. Unfortunately, one of the most significant drawbacks of hardware machines is limited flexibility.

What are the benefits of virtual load balancing?

Here are some of the benefits of virtual load balancers:

  1. A virtual load balancer can handle traffic loads and spikes and increase your website’s overall capacity.
  2. It gains an edge over hardware machines as it’s scalable and flexible.
  3. It improves the performance of your website, simplifies your network, and reduces costs.
  4. It speeds up the delivery time of your website by effectively distributing traffic over multi-server hosts.
  5. It relieves stress from an application server by switching between various servers automatically.
  6. It helps the server not exceed its capacity while still managing low-traffic requests efficiently.

Virtual Load Balancer: Key Highlights

Virtual load balancers are software-based load balancing solutions that help enterprises manage load effectively while still offering exceptional performance and scalability.

Array’s virtual application delivery controller provides server load balancing, link load balancing, and DDoS protection. It smartly reduces the load to reduce costs and enhance the performance of your critical business applications.

For more information on our virtual ADCs, please contact us at https://arraynetworks.com/contact-us/

Learn more about what load balancers are, along with their type and benefits, here.