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If I put a reverse proxy in front of a load balancer Then does it take thrice the bandwidth to do requests?

E.g. request 100mb video from gets request from proxy <- load balancer <- server

  • server returns data to load balancer (100 mb sent)
  • load balancer passes to proxy (another 100 mb sent)
  • proxy to client (final 100mb sent)

is that how it works?

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It depends on at what point you measure the bandwidth usage. In many cases the only place worth measuring is where it leaves your internal network. – sciurus Mar 14 '11 at 22:42

Your question is a bit vague, but I'll try my best to explain.

Load balancers, depending on the implementation, generally just forward requests to the servers. Sometimes they act as a proxy, but that's not how they're usually intended. Think of normal load balancers as a traffic cop that divides the requests between multiple servers.

Proxies do increase the overall number of packets sent across a network for a single unique request, yes. Generally, a proxy is put in a place where it can consolidate requests so that 100 people asking for a specific file do not all have to download it from the original server. The real benefit in this is making a proxy keep a copy of a dynamic page for a set amount of time. Wikipedia has a very good implementation of this, which is partially described on Wikipedia's Meta site

So, in your example, a 100Mb file would generate ~200Mb of total network traffic plus overhead. 100 users, on the other hand, would generate only 10100Mb (100Mb * 101) of traffic, and only 100Mb of it would ever reach the original server.

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