I wanted to try HAProxy/Linux Virtual Server like front-end load-balancers, but as far I know, they're Linux-based software. I don't have any experiences with Linux yet. so there're quite many questions to ask:

  • What is the best Linux distro(s) for load-balancing?
  • I plan to use VirtualPC to run some virtual machines. How much RAM is the best for each machine run that distro? I want to simulate a load-balancer which can handle about 100 hits/second, is it possible?

Thank you very much!


The best distro for anything is the one with which you have the most experience configuring and administering. Beyond that, they're all pretty similar.

I'd say use something like Ubuntu server LTS release, or CentOS 5.4. Both good stable distributions, with good community support, and a regular release pattern.

You should probably look at a better virtualization solution than VirtualPC. If you're already using linux, then KVM is a pretty natural choice. As for RAM utilisation, think about how much you want for the base system (2-4G), then add how much you want for however many virtual machines you want (say, 4 VMs, 2G each => 8G additional RAM)

I've just re-read your question, and notice that you don't have any linux experience so far. In this case, you'll probably find Ubuntu the most easy to get started with, it has the most comprehensive forums, IRC Channels and HowTo pages. I've been using Ubuntu for a good number of years on desktops and servers and still find apt-get package management hard to beat.

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  • I expected a small-fast distro, because they not actually run the web server. Can you suggest me more? :) – Vimvq1987 Apr 3 '10 at 3:11
  • Ubuntu or CentOS can be small fast distros. I can get ubuntu to boot in less than a minute, by carefully tuning the configuration not to include any unnecessary packages. – Tom O'Connor Apr 3 '10 at 8:29

For a load balancer, debian installed off the netinst sources, minimal installation. Install ssh, ipvs and configure.

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Though I don't have any experience with it yet, for someone who is complete new to Linux and has no idea how to set this stuff up from the ground up, I've heard good things about the Zen Load Balancer which is a debian based distro that has web management and all that. Again, I haven't used it but you can find more info about it at http://www.zenloadbalancer.com/

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