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What Is Global Server Load Balancing?

Sep 24, 2019

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What Is Global Server Load Balancing?

By Tobias Geisler Mesevage

Let's Get Technical

Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) distributes web traffic across a network of servers located in multiple locations around the world. This not only creates a more efficient and reliable user experience, but it is most often used as part of an organization’s disaster recovery plan.

The technology behind GSLB monitors site responsiveness and directs client traffic to the best site.

In this article, we’ll explain the importance of establishing a GSLB, breakdown the components of how it works and reveal the benefits.

What Is Load Balancing?

To fully understand GSLB, let’s break down load balancing. Companies with substantial web traffic rely on load balancing to evenly distribute traffic between multiple servers.

In “dumb” load balancing, incoming traffic is randomly dispersed to a different server. With “smart” load balancing, the system analyzes incoming requests and sends the traffic to the optimal server. Load balancing helps prevent web traffic jams and enables the system to run smoothly and quickly.

Load balancing, achieved via software or hardware (and sometimes both), is the simplest and fastest method to scale your application server infrastructure.

What Is Global Server Load Balancing?

Technopedia describes Global Server Load Balancing as the use of multiple servers over multiple geographic locations “to route traffic and spread workloads over an entire IT architecture.”

This type of smart distribution not only creates a more reliable user experience but it also protects the system from a partial or complete crash.

GSLB is a key component of a disaster recovery plan for many companies. Distributing servers in multiple locations helps prevent total infrastructure failure. A GSLB continuously monitors the health and responsiveness of each server location. As soon as it detects a failure point, it automatically diverts traffic to an alternate site.

How Does Global Server Load Balancing Work?

When a website that uses GSLB receives an HTTPS request, the master server concurrently inspects the client’s IP address and assesses the health of each server. Within seconds of this analysis, the main server chooses the ideal server for the client – based on geography and response time.

Techopedia explains a GSLB can assign requests to the optimal server through strategies like Domain Name Systems (DNS) or HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) redirects.

Benefits of Global Server Load Balancing

As web traffic volumes increase and applications more complex, a GSLB help companies meet growing demands while also improving performance and security.

GSLB provides the following benefits:

  • Disaster recovery and business continuity: If a server fails, GSLB determines the appropriate redirect, preventing catastrophic infrastructure failure.
  • Scalability: Provide services from multiple data centers around the world.
  • Performance gains: Distributes client requests across multiple sites, directing the user to the most responsive and appropriate server, reduces network latency.
  • Continuity of service: Both data migrations and updates can be done one at a time with little to no impact on client requests.
  • Customized content: Companies can host content on local servers that are aimed at a particular geographic region and language – or specific regulatory and security requirements.
  • Ongoing monitoring: GSLB continuously monitor the health, availability and responsiveness of each data center.

Overall, GSLB not only improves a client’s experience by increasing responsiveness, it also boosts service availability and site health, and plays a key role in a company’s Disaster Recovery Plan.

To learn more about Global Server Load Balancing and creating a disaster recovery plan, contact Datto.