Although cloud computing environments have been around for the better part of two decades, recent studies indicate that its adoption into businesses and eCommerce ventures started picking up back in 2018. And it hasn’t stopped growing since.

Recent surveys reveal that 90% of companies are already on the cloud. 60% of workloads have been running on hosted cloud services in the year 2019 alone. What’s more is, according to the latest reports, the international cloud computing market is estimated to reach USD 791.48 billion by 2028.

These numbers only go to show how crucial cloud-based services are for businesses the world over and how the steps you take to improve efficiency and lower costs of managing cloud environments will boost the prospects of your business exponentially.

To that effect, let’s look at what load balancing is all about and how it is vital to cloud computing environments.

What is Load Balancing?

what is load balancing

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Load balancing can be defined as the process in which there is a methodical and efficient distribution of network or application traffic across various servers in a server/cloud computing environment.

As a result, the weight of server requests and traffic will not fall on just one single server. The workload will be categorically spread between existing servers such that the load balancer enhances application responsiveness.

Load balancers do this by seating themselves between client devices and backend servers, receiving incoming server requests as they come, and distributing them to servers that are available as well as capable of fulfilling the said requests.

The Two Kinds of Load Balancers

#1 Hardware load balancer – This kind of load balancing came into existence (1990’s) way before cloud was even a thing. They are typically hardware appliances that run on closed-source software (such as Amazon Web Services) built specifically to run on customized processors. The more traffic a server gets, the more load balancing appliances a vendor uses to meet the demand.

#2 Software load balancer – Software-defined load balancers function on much more economical hardware (standard intel x86, for example). As such, software load balancers are what modern businesses, especially SaaS cloud service providers, use. You simply have to install the software in cloud computing environments like Amazon’s AWS, effectively ridding the need for a physical appliance.

Why Cloud Load Balancing is Vital to Cloud Environments

example of load balancing in cloud computing

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When it comes to cloud computing environments, load balancers, specifically, software-defined load balancers, come with several benefits, of which managing network traffic (as discussed earlier) is just the tip of the iceberg. As such, let’s look at the topmost benefits of cloud load balancing, especially in terms of how it can be of use to businesses the world over.

Automation Made Easy

Cloud load balancing allows companies to identify traffic bottlenecks much in advance with the aid of predictive analytic tools. As a consequence, businesses can gain actionable applications insights almost instantly, often influencing business decisions — All of which are crucial for automation.

Manages Sudden Surges in Traffic Seamlessly

When cloud-based services have massive workloads to manage, it could lead to single servers being overburdened by requests. In such a scenario, cloud server load balancing software is able to ensure high levels of service availability with quick response times in cloud computing environments. Since load balancers manage these sudden upsurges seamlessly, businesses can resume crucial business processes and operations without a hitch.

Scalability is no Longer an Issue

Although it is true that cloud infrastructures are built to ensure scalability, such that whenever there’s a high volume in application or website traffic, cloud computing environments are immediately able to scale up, there’s a significant downside to it.

This is because when a cloud environment scales up (automatically), it is built to spin up several virtual servers while also running many application instances at the same time. The problem here is that the newly spun virtual servers will be unable to receive the surge in traffic in a categorical, organized and coordinated manner. Instead, a few virtual servers will end up having little to no traffic, while others could end up being overcome with requests.

But with the aid of load balancers, the upsurge in traffic will be seamlessly distributed between the newly spun servers and application instances, effectively becoming the central network component of the cloud.

Load Balancers are Better Equipped to deal with Emergencies

Cloud-based service providers are equipped to pinpoint servers that are unavailable and consequently redirect requests and traffic to ones that are still operational. Cloud service providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform can even span network traffic across various geographical regions as well.

In cases of emergencies or when a specific geographical area is affected by natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods resulting in cloud servers becoming in operational, cloud server load balancers can direct traffic to other geographical locations (that have been unaffected by such calamity).

In other instances, when cloud load balancers support certain load balancing algorithms, it can ascertain (beforehand) whether a specific server or a group of servers have chances of being overburdened far more rapidly than usual. In such a scenario, load balancers will quickly redirect server traffic to nodes that it considers healthier and more equipped to manage requests.

As a result, the chances of cloud service platforms being deemed unavailable decrease considerably.

Wrapping Up

If you want to maintain your level of service at such a stage, investing in a load balancer will become crucial to the smooth functioning of your business. You will have to manage the same level of responsiveness, availability and ensure that no one leaves dissatisfied, and load balancers are key to this.