I've been reading/researching load balancing for a project and some guides talk about having a load balancer and a backup load balancer which use heartbeat to check on each other. When one goes down the other takes over etc...
However, if the amount of traffic is enough to take down your first load balancer how much of a chance does your second one have? It doesn't make sense to have a second beefier machine waiting around in case the first one goes down. I'm sure this is fairly naive question, I'm guessing that the amount of work the load balancer does is so trivial that you will be able to see an upswing of traffic and be able to take care of that as necessary etc..
Also, is using a backup load balancer pretty typical?
I'm using the latest version of Ubuntu with Apache 2 on the rackspace cloud for my servers.