As businesses scale today it’s not uncommon for high traffic websites to serve hundreds of thousands, or sometimes millions, of simultaneous requests. To meet this demand organizations spin up new servers to provide bandwidth, redundancy and fault tolerance, but which server should respond when a client makes a request?
The industry standard solution to this challenge is to use load balancers that can listen for client requests and then route them to a pool of servers where the request can be served quickly and reliably. Unfortunately, the industry standard solution has also been to use hardware load balancers which are expensive and inflexible. If more servers are needed or if an environment changes (a common scenario in today’s fast paced environments) then new hardware usually needs to be purchased.
How is this solved today?
Savvy companies today have started shifting to software based load balancers which can address the challenges of elasticity, automation and cost. These new load balancers can be deployed on commodity hardware to reduce costs and built in automation can scale up the number of load balancers as needed. Unfortunately, many of these load balancers still require expensive annual licenses in order to unlock the futures enterprises truly need. Some software based load balancers offered by cloud providers do have lower license / usage fees, but that typically comes at the cost of vendor lock in where you’re required to use their instances for your servers. Many of today’s applications that have high demands (e.g. voice & video chat, real time game streaming) also utilize UDP as the communication protocol.
Load Balancing with Marconi
With the Marconi Protocol organizations can gain many of the benefits of software based load balancers without the expensive per instance licenses or vendor lockin. Marconi’s open source platform can be deployed on any number of systems as needed without any additional costs and the robust development platform means these load balancers can be easily updated with new configuration or functionality as needed. More importantly, a Marconi based load balancer, leverages the built in connectivity & security features so that the upstream servers for the load balancer can live in a multiple data centers or cloud providers without any additional connectivity headaches. Due to the low level at which Marconi is implemented, almost any protocol (including UDP) is supported.