Load Balancing Techniques

Virtual Server via NAT

NAT Routing is used when the Load-Balancer (or LVS Router) has two Network Interface Cards (NICs), one assigned an outside-facing IP address and the other, a private, inside-facing IP address. In this method, the Load-Balancer receives requests from users on the public network and uses network address translation (NAT) to forward those requests to the real servers located on the private network. The replies are also translated in the reverse direction, when the real servers reply to the users’ requests.

As a result, an advantage is that the real servers are protected from the public network as they are hidden behind the Load-Balancer. Another advantage is IP address preservation, as the private network can use private address ranges.

The main disadvantage is that the Load-Balancer becomes a bottleneck. It has to service not only requests but also replies to and from the public users, while also forwarding to and from the private real servers.

Virtual Server via Tunneling

In Tunneling mode Load-Balancer sends requests to real servers through IP tunnel in the former, and the Load-Balancer sends request to real servers via network address translation in the latter.

The main advantage with this metho is scalability, Load-Balancer will forward incoming request to farm nodes, latter nodes will then respond directly to the client requests without having to proxy through Load-Balancer. It offers you a way to locate nodes in differents networking segments.

The main disadvantage is the cost you will put into it to finally get a working env since it is deeply dependent uppon your network architecture.

Virtual Server via Direct Routing

In Direct Routing, users issue requests to the VIP on the Load-Balancer. The Load-Balancer uses its predefined scheduling (distribution) algorithm and forwards the requests to the appropriate real server. Unlike using NAT Routing, the real servers respond directly to the public users, bypassing the need to route through the Load-Balancer.

The main advantage with this routing method is scalability, as the Load-Balancer does not have the additional responsibility of routing outgoing packets from the real servers to the public users.

The disadvantage to this routing method lies in its ARP limitation. In order for the real servers to directly respond to the public users’ requests, each real server must use the VIP as its source address when sending replies. As a result, the VIP and MAC address combination are shared amongst the Load-Balancer itself as well as each of the real servers that can lead to situations where the real servers receive the requests directly, bypassing the Load-Balancer on incoming requests. There are methods available to solve this problem at the expense of added configuration complexity and manageability.