Can Your Packet Aggregator Support Multi-Cluster Load Balancing?

In today’s evolving IT environment, most organizations have many different types of monitoring tools to oversee network performance. Moreover, most organizations are also investing in specific types of monitoring tools to ensure the security of their networks. However, as network traffic continues to grow, how can they ensure full visibility into all parts of the network? How can companies efficiently utilize their existing monitoring tools, invest in new tools, and remain cost effective?

The pressure to achieve accurate network visibility and maximize tool utilization continues to grow as companies evolve. To overcome these challenges, many organizations purchase costly monitoring tools in hopes of optimizing their networks and distributing the workload in the most efficient way possible. Unfortunately, these tools often fall short in solving some of these challenges.

It is not uncommon for Network Packet Brokers (NPB) to use load balancing to improve the distribution of workloads across multiple resources. The primary reasons for load balancing is to optimize resource use, minimize response time and avoid overloading other tools. One can essentially split the traffic by bandwidth and distribute it to various devices to process the required data. If the right tools are implemented and the process is completed correctly, the result is increased device utilization and reliability.

Today’s data centers and networks require accuracy and reliability to improve productivity and reduce cost. As mentioned above, one method to achieve this is load balancing, which offers the following benefits:

  1. Reduce network downtime
  2. Improve device utilization by spreading the load data across multiple tools
  3. Improve reliability and reduce costs

Common challenges with load balancing

Oftentimes, network operators struggle to distribute the workloads across multiple resources. And now, with the advent of virtualization and cloud computing, it is becoming increasingly challenging to deliver the scalability and high performance needed to compete in today’s complex network environments.

For example, how can one use two tools requiring the same data but one of these tools requires four servers and the other tool needs three servers to parse the same amount of data? It becomes a balancing act to intelligently distribute the data in the most efficient way possible. The key is to optimize the delivery of the data to the best server as quickly as possible without compromising network performance.

How can cPacket’s cVu devices help?

The need for balance and optimization is essential to avoid undue strain on the network. cPacket’s cVu devices are intelligently designed to solve common load balancing problems. Using the example situation above, cVu devices can balance the same amount of data to three different clusters, with each cluster having a different number of nodes or elements. Essentially, one can have up to three tool clusters, each with a different number of servers all receiving the same data. By providing multi-cluster load balancing, cVu devices can easily solve the issues encountered with unequal tool capabilities.

Configuring the multi-cluster balance in a cVu device is a simple process. First, the user would navigate to the topology page to configure the paths by selecting the “multi-balance” option and map the input port to the relevant output ports. For example, figure 1 below shows port 32:

Figure 1: Port 32

The second step would be to adjust the load-balancing mode in the filters → port → balance seen below in figure 2.

Figure 2: Port 32: Balancing Configuration

Finally, the user would configure the relevant filters to use for the balance seen below in figure 3.

Figure 3: Configuring the relevant filters

Clearly, multi-cluster load balancing makes for an important business case. Today’s enterprises want high performing and highly scalable networks but to achieve this, there needs to be minimal network downtime and more efficient use of resources. cPacket’s cVu devices are a cost-effective solution for enterprises looking to reap the benefits that load balancing can provide.

To learn more about cPacket’s cVu, click here.