January 2, 2018

Introduction to Modern Network Load Balancing and Proxying

It was brought to my attention recently that there is a dearth of introductory educational material available about modern network load balancing and proxying. I thought to myself: How can this be? Load balancing is one of the core concepts required for building reliable distributed systems. Surely there must be quality information available? I searched and found the pickings are indeed slim. The Wikipedia articles on load balancing and proxy serverscontain overviews of some concepts but not a fluid treatment of the subject, especially as it pertains to modern microservice architectures. A Google search for load balancing primarily turns up vendor pages that are heavy on buzzwords and light on details.

In this post I attempt to rectify the lack of information by providing a gentle introduction to modern network load balancing and proxying. This is, frankly, a massive topic that could be the subject of an entire book. In the interest of keeping this article (somewhat) blog length, I try to distill a set of complex topics into a simple overview; depending on interest and feedback I will consider more detailed follow up posts on individual topics at a later point.

With a bit of background on why I wrote this out of the way — here we go!

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