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I provide hosting service for about 250 clients to date, and this is increasing on a monthly basis. For each client, I have 2 "services" configured for L4 balancing / persistence .. one on port 80, another for port 443 which redirects to another internal port as well as 4 servers per service.

This equates to a total of 500 "services" and 2000 "servers".

I'm currently running with a couple CoyotePoint load balancers, and have had a look at some Barracudas but so far I'm really not impressed by those.

Could anyone recommend some good load balancers which would be able to support this sort of load ? And which offer a good API, or shell access to automate management.

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3 Answers 3

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Have a check of http://www.loadbalancer.org -- they are essentially physical boxes running HAProxy, a superb piece of software. It will cost a lot less than an F5 box. I haven't tried their API though.

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We (Smoothwall) use these for loadbalancing web proxies. I like them, the guys there are switched on, the prices are good, and there's plenty of options. Don't know about an API, but we've been able to do all we want with them, and I know they're used in a lot of fairly hardcore situations :) –  Tom Newton Feb 12 '11 at 11:02
1  
Alright not only are these loadbalancer.org devices pretty cool, but they also come on a variety of hardware, don't lock you out of the OS, and the people working there are definitely helpful. –  delerious010 Feb 19 '11 at 23:47

Check out F5. Don't know what your budget is, and I'm sure those F5s are a king's ransom, but, often times, you do get what you pay for.

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I also recommend F5. We use them, and they've been rocks. They have cli access for many things, and their irule framework allows truly custom configs. –  sysadmin1138 Feb 12 '11 at 3:23

It's worth looking at F5, Citrix Netscaler, and A10. All of them have GUI, ssh-able CLI, and API to monitor and manage. All of them have a wide range of throughput/capacity. A10 has the worst documentation of them, but also the lowest prices. I've only purchased Citrix, and I've done a bit of management on A10.

You may be able to find some great deals on Foundry ServerIron, as several companies I know of have been getting rid of them.

You may find it worthwhile to contact an established used network gear vendor (like Network Hardware Resale http://www.networkhardware.com/ ) and see what they have available. Used gear off eBay and the like may be very economical but hard to get support/software upgrades for. Some more established resellers have relationships that can provide those benefits (and yes, some of them do sell on eBay too). To be honest, I have not done used gear through these companies with OEM support, and I have no relationship to them, but I have heard positive reports from others. Your mileage may vary.

And finally, pretty much anything should handle the number of VIPs/services and back-end servers that you specified; the more useful metrics will be number of concurrent connections, throughput/bandwidth requirements, and if applicable, compression and SSL offload requirements. See what your Coyotepoint machines can tell you about these metrics and that will help you size the right model of whichever brand you choose.

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Hi Robert, the reason I mentioned the VIPs/Services is due to the fact that both by current Coyote Point LB, and the Barracuda I'd looked at can't support that amount of Services/Servers. The coyote point's Web UI refuses to start now, but I can CLI so I could care less. And Barracuda mentioned that, even for L4, their 2 top solutions wont suppoort more than 50 and 250 "servers". Anything more and it wont be supported ! –  delerious010 Feb 12 '11 at 15:01
    
On another note, thanks for the informative information on second hand hardware. I've no plans to go that route for work, but I can think of a few other uses for it. –  delerious010 Feb 12 '11 at 15:02

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