Top 5 Best Software Load Balancers In 2021

What is a Software Load Balancer?

Load Balancing software assists virtual appliances in monitoring and distributing excess traffic. It helps network administrators and data centers maintain constant loading speed. The load balancing software is used to convey network traffic to specific servers with accurate configurations.

This balancing software eases the distribution process of the network traffic. The software receives data from various sources and redistributes it across the data servers. Not only that, the load balancing application is used to optimize network traffic. As the software systematically routes to the right location, preventing any extra pricier bottlenecks. This type of security and performance is highly required for IT environments.  

Importance of Load Balancing Software 

Load balancing is essential for deploying the cloud environment in traffic management. 

The two key points of having a load balance software are:

  • To achieve high availability and sustainability: The more you grow, the stronger network coverage is required. You might need at least two backends servers for high availability, and your load balancer will back up the other servers if the first one is down for any reason. 
  • To put the control point ahead of the services: It is good to have a control point that enables to change backends while deploying, adding filtering rules, and manage traffic flow. 

How does Load Balancing Software work 

The load balancer is Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) that helps modern web applications to work seamlessly. The load balancing is performed on a virtual machine or a customary server. Normally it is paired with a Hardware Load Balancing Device (HLDs) to distribute traffic among servers, leading to an efficient and reliable network with maximum uptimes. 

Different Types of Load Balancer 

When talking about various sorts of load balancers, it’s also important to know about hardware load balancers, software load balancers, and virtual load balancers. 

Hardware Load Balancer: 

Because the name implies, a hardware load balancer relies on physical, on-premises hardware to distribute the application and network traffic. These devices can handle an outsized traffic volume but often carry a hefty tag and are fairly limited in terms of flexibility. 

Software Load Balancer: 

A software load balancer has two further types. One is a Commercial software load balancer, and the other is an open-source load balancer. These are more cost-effective than hardware-based load balancing. 

Virtual Load Balancer: 

A virtual load balancer is quite different from software load balancers, as it deploys the software of a hardware load balancer through a virtual machine. 

Different Types of Load Balancing Algorithms 

Load balancing algorithms determine how traffic is distributed across different servers. There are different kinds of load balancing algorithms that are briefly discussed below: 

  • Round-robin Algorithm – The simplest method involves moving the requests within the same order to available servers. 
  • Least-time Algorithm – It selects servers supported by the smallest amount of active requests and the fastest processing speed. The algorithm integrates with powerful algorithms to give the server higher memory, capacity, and power. 
  • Least-connections Algorithm – This algorithm sends requests to servers with the smallest amount of workload. The algorithm sends requests to the smallest amount of busy servers. 
  • Hash-based Algorithm – It assists a hash key to the client and server IP addresses. The algorithm ensures that users’ requests are sent to the identical servers containing data from the previous sessions. This ends up in an efficient network resource delivery.
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Why is Software Load Balancing used? 

Software load balancing is very popular nowadays and more preferable than hardware load balancing. These are the causes for it: 

Scalability: 

The most important advantage that software load balancers have over hardware load balancers is the high-performance scaling. The software load balancers can increase and decrease the virtual servers consistent with demand, responding automatically and in real-time to fluctuations in network traffic. 

Flexibility: 

Software load balancers are more flexible than hardware load balancers because they’re compatible with various environments. They will be programmed to figure with standard desktop operating systems, cloud environments, bare metal, virtual servers, and containers. Hardware load balancers aren’t as flexible because they’re not programmable. 

Cost: 

Organizations and enterprises can save money by using software load balancers, especially if they select LBaaS. Whether or not an IT organization purchases its software load balancers, the value is usually considered OPEX rather than CAPEX, where hardware load balancers would be classified. 

Ease of Deployment: 

Hardware load balancers are often difficult and expensive to put in, but software load balancers can easily deploy on-demand, retrench money, and save hours. 

Safety and Protection:

Finally, load-balancing software, which acts as a safety cop between the client and the server, offers an additional security layer with the flexibility to reject suspicious packets before they reach the server. When properly configured and managed, any style of load balancing can make a network more efficient and reliable. 

How to select a Software Load Balancing Application

When determining how to select a load balancer, your existing infrastructure is the primary thing to think about. Many load balancing solutions work with the VMs (Virtual Machines) and other sources. So, if you are an experienced Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google operator, you may likely want to stay there with the vendor’s respective load balancer to avoid a big overhaul. 

Moreover, most global server load balancing is specifically designed to support multiple infrastructures. Price is additionally a crucial thing to count. There are many such as high-cost enterprise-level load balancing solutions. But beginners and little to medium-sized businesses are also happier choosing free, open-source solutions with calculated features but strong enough to fulfill their needs. 

Software Load Balancer vs. Hardware Load Balancer 

Software load balancing is usually offered as a function of the Application Delivery Controller (ADC) that runs on a typical server or a virtual machine. A hardware load balancing device (HLD) could be a stand-alone piece of hardware that runs load balancing software. it’s traditionally deployed as a part of a pair, just if one load balancing device fails. Software load balancing offers the identical functionality of an HLD, but it doesn’t require a frenzied load balancing device. The load-balancing software can run on an everyday server or maybe virtual servers. 

The most obvious difference between the hardware load balancer and the software load balancer is that hardware load balancing needs proper hardware application and needs to be installed properly. In contrast, software load balancers are easy to install on the standard x86 servers or virtual machines (VMs).

Network load balance is often over-provisioned as they’re sized to be ready to handle occasional peak traffic loads. Additionally, each hardware device must be paired with an extra device for prime availability just if the opposite load balancer fails. 

In addition to that, hardware load balancer configuration may be complex. Software load balancers are built in such a way that it crosses multiple data servers and multi-cloud environments. Hardware appliances aren’t compatible with cloud environments, whereas software load balancers are compatible with bare metal, virtual, containers, and cloud platforms. 

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List of Top 5 Best Load Balancer Software

I agree with you; choosing the right load balancing software is a very daunting task. Don’t worry! We got you covered. In this article, we have provided you the best balancing apps that are super-efficient and value for money. After reading this review, you will have an easier time picking the right software for you. 

  1. Nginx
  2. Citrix ADC
  3. Avi Vantage Software Load Balancer 
  4. HAProxy 
  5. Kemp LoadMaster 

Here goes the list of the best software that can be used for implementing load balancing.

1. Nginx 

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NGINX Inc. is the brand company behind the popular open-source application, Nginx. More than 400 million sites trust it. Nginx offers a series of technology for developing and delivering modern apps. This platform helps enterprises for performing digital transformation to modernize monolithic applications and deliver microservice software. Popular companies like Netflix, McDonald’s, and Starbucks use Nginx for better performance, low cost, speed innovation, and improve resiliency.  

Nginx would be a one-window solution for network resource management. The appliance allows load balancing and microservices management on cloud web and app platforms. Deploying the app may end up in improved security and traffic management. 

Features:

  • Automatic configuration 
  • Load balancing 
  • API Gateways 
  • Gzipping 
  • Content caching and routing 

Best Used For: 

  • Load balancing 
  • Content caching
  • Web Server
  • API gateways
  • Microservices management for contemporary cloud web and mobile applications

Price: 

You can get Nginx either annual subscriptions or hourly subscriptions with different package options. The annual subscription charges start from $2500. For the current price, details refer to this page.

Verdict: 

Nginx is best suitable for medium and large enterprises. The load balancing software intensifies the performance, security, and reliability. The load balancing software is easy to use and has good customization options. 

2. Citrix ADC

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Citrix ADC is a reliable application delivery controller that is best for calculating application deployment and round-robin data center operation. Citrix ADC’s outcome is very high-quality load balancing services in cloud deployments. 

Features:

  • App Expert Rate Controls
  • Advanced L3 – L7 security
  • Dynamic routing protocols
  • App compression for HTTP

Best Used For: 

Enterprise network traffic management for web applications. It is ideal for enterprise and medium-sized businesses.

Price: 

The pricing of the Citrix ADC load balancing app begins from $2,440.

Verdict: 

Citrix ADC simplifies the delivery of network resources in cloud balancing infrastructure. This cloud platform has fulfilled the client’s request. Customers have been satisfied by the user experience features, reverse proxy, effective load balancing, and secure remote access features. 

3. Avi Vantage Software Load Balancer 

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Avi Vantage software load balancers belong to Avi Networks’ Internet-based software, ensuring highly accurate application delivery to global infrastructures. It supports fast and scalable performance while giving a secure application experience. Avi Vantage offers multiple cloud application services, including load balancer, elastic service mesh, and intelligent Web App Firewall (WAF). Avi networks provide elasticity and intelligence to any environment. 

Features:

  • Predictive autoscaling with RESTful API 
  • App analytics integration – Grafana, 
  • Cisco Tetration Platform 
  • AppDynamics, and Splunk 
  • End-to-end timing for real-time telemetries and resource utilization
  • Controls anomalous behavior and app performance 
  • Record and replay traffic events 

Best Used For: 

Load balancing for multi-cloud native on-premise environments. 

Price: 

You can know the cost by simply sending the request. Plus, you also get a 30-days free trial and a complete refund option. 

Verdict: 

Avi Vantage Software Load Balancer is perfect for enterprise-level work. Such as content routing and caching, redundancy checking, data compression, reverse proxy, and SSL offload. It has received positive ratings from users for its low-cost delivery across multiple infrastructures. 

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4. HAProxy

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Do you want to know which world’s fastest software load balancer? The answer is none other than HAProxy. 

It is the widest open-source software load balancer and the best application delivery controller. This load balancer is a reliable TCP/IP load balancer. It optimizes web traffic using Linux based platforms. HAProxy is built with enterprise-class features and services with premium support. The application has extensive features with flexible configuration and supports intelligent request routing depending upon URL.

Features:

  • HTTP/1.1 compression
  • Reverse proxy
  • Data sampling
  • Dedicated VNF load balancer

Best Used For: 

Speed and reliable load balancing for TCP/HTTP-based applications up on Linux platforms.

Price: 

Free Load Balancer

Verdict: 

HAProxy is best suitable for high traffic across multiple websites that are based on Linux platforms. The application is easy to integrate with existing infrastructure.

5. Kemp LoadMaster

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Kemp is the globally most popular virtual load balancer. It has more than 100,000 deployments in more than 130+ countries. Kemp LoadMaster powers the Application Experience (AX) for enterprising, successful results. Kemp is a dedicated load balancer software that optimizes and secures network traffic. Kemp redefined the load balancer by adding world-class technical support, simplified deployments, and flexible licensing options. This application is used for web and application delivery services. 

Features:

  • Content caching and routing
  • Data compression
  • Predefined protocols
  • Reverse proxy
  • Automatic configuration

Best Used For: 

Basic app load balancing all around the cloud and online environments. 

Price: 

The cost of the software is $2500 with a one-time payment. You also get a free trial of the product for 21 days. 

Verdict: 

Kemp LoadMaster is the best load balancer for its cost. Users worldwide have given a positive response, as it is easy to operate and value for money. But there are some cons like the absence of advanced features as compared to its competitors. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen if the Software Load Balancer goes down?

If one software load balancer fails, the back-up balancer will kick in and become active. All the load balancers are heartbeat linked with each other. Even if all the load balancers fail, the web servers will be knocked down to offline, and a manual route will be required. 

Which is the best software load balancer?

Here is the list of the best software that has good load balancing capabilities. 
Nginx
Citrix ADC
Avi Vantage Software Load Balancer 
HAProxy 
Kemp LoadMaster 

Why do I need a load balancer?

There are two reasons why you need a load balancer. The first one is to achieve high availability and sustainability. You might need at least two backends servers for high availability, and your load balancer will back up the other servers if the first one is down for any reason. The second one is to put the control point ahead of the services. It is good to have a control point that enables to change backends while deploying, adding filtering rules, and managing traffic flow. 

Is load balancer a web server?

A load balancer is a tool that directs the user to the least buy and most appropriate web servers. The user accepts this as a virtual server. 

Does the load balancer have an IP address? 

Classic load balancers and Application load balancers have private IP addresses for their network interface while the source IP address is forwarded to your web servers. 

Conclusion

In this guide cum review article, we had detailed information about load balancing. With that, we have reviewed the best software load balancing solution suiting various cloud platforms and having protected IP addresses and disaster recovery. 

Embrace the knowledge and choose the right load balancing solution for you, based upon your needs and meets your network traffic requirements. After all, Software load balancers are a part of the ecosystem of the web world. 

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