How to Start Fixing Your Slow Network With Load Balancing

How to Start Fixing Your Slow Network With Load Balancing

Slow network performance can really hamper a company’s operations, while simultaneously resulting in a very negative user experience – an issue that can be extremely problematic if those are paying users or subscribers. 

A slow, sluggish network – technically known as network server performance degradation – can usually be traced back to the server level. Network server performance degradation can occur for no apparent reason after long periods of stability. Network administrators may discover the problem when their network server monitoring panel displays anomalous metrics such as unusual TCP connection times. ICMP tests such as pings often reveal increases in network latency. Beyond the alerts and alarms being generated by the network admin’s network server monitoring panel, you also have the user-generated reports of poor performance. It’s clear: it’s time to take action and start fixing your slow network with load balancing.

Network load balancing works by establishing a single, centralized hub server – the load balancer – that works as a gatekeeper of sorts by intercepting incoming server requests. Under normal circumstances, those client requests would go directly to a server where they may potentially overload it. The result is network slowness and even downtime due to server crashes. But with a load balancer in place, those incoming client requests are distributed across multiple servers in a server pool or cluster. This reduces the burden on a single server in a way that maximizes both performance and speed. But where do you begin fixing your slow network with load balancing technology?

Selecting a Network Load Balancer for Your Servers

Network load balancers are designed specifically for use in conjunction with network servers. Operating at OSI Layer 4 (also known as the transport layer), these load balancers evaluate incoming client server requests by examining network information. This is a more “superficial” protocol for assessing incoming client requests when compared to the more in-depth evaluation that occurs with an application load balancer but it’s still quite effective. 

Finding the right network load balancer can be challenging, even for those who are extremely tech savvy. It’s a task that’s often complicated by the existence of load balancer subtypes like geographic load balancers and elastic load balancers which automatically scale resources to meet demand. Geographic or global server load balancers leverage data centers across different regions so if one location is impacted by an adverse event, server traffic can be routed to network load balancing resources in another location. Beyond this, though, global server load balancers can benefit a network’s performance by calling upon resources that are closest to the user’s location in a way that speeds response times.

Start Fixing Your Slow Network By Reducing Congestion at Peak Times

A slow network is often the result of congestion and bandwidth overload. Load balancers can help by preventing any one server from becoming overloaded. This, in turn, helps you to avoid the incoming server traffic backlogs that can adversely impact performance. But even with these measures in place, slowness may still be an issue and that is where strategy comes into play.

Take some time to evaluate the traffic on your network and determine if high-demand processes are placing a strain on the system. For example, backup and recovery systems can place a tremendous strain on a network server. Therefore, it may be beneficial to adjust the timing for scheduled backups so they are using the network during off-peak times. This sort of bandwidth de-congestion strategy, when combined with load balancing, can bring about a much higher level of performance than you may otherwise enjoy. 

Fixing Your Slow Network By Choosing the Best Load Balancer Algorithm

There are numerous network load balancing algorithms to consider and it’s important that you choose one that aligns well with your network and your future goals and objectives for that network. 

Network load balancer algorithms are used to determine the precise approach for evaluating incoming server requests. The load balancer algorithm also determines precisely how those incoming server requests are distributed across the server pool. 

Load balancing algorithms have a major impact on load balancer performance and this, in turn, affects network server performance. As such, it’s easy to see the importance of choosing a suitable algorithm. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to load balancing algorithms and your selection will have a significant impact on performance. For this reason, it may be beneficial to try a few different algorithms to determine which one brings the maximum benefit in terms of network speed and performance. 

A slow network server can have a very adverse impact on operations and even employee morale, as there are few things more frustrating than error messages and sluggish performance whereby it takes you twice as long to do what needs to be done. This frustration can have a trickle down effect into the IT department as the network administrator(s) are confronted by a stream of user complaints – complaints that join the symphony of network monitoring panel alarm bells. Fortunately, though, deploying the right network load balancer technology in conjunction with the right load balancing algorithm can provide a much-needed performance boost. The operative word here though is “right,” underscoring the importance of researching your options and selecting the one that aligns best to your technology, needs, and users. 

Network load balancing options are many and varied, which can leave even the most experienced network administrators to struggle as they seek out the right technology for their needs. But you’re in luck because  the Resonate team is here and ready to help you find the ideal load balancing solution as you work to speed-up and optimize a slow, ailing network. 

At Resonate, we provide cutting-edge load balancing solutions that deliver exceptional performance, speed, and reliability – everything you need for a positive user experience and maximum productivity. Contact the Resonate team today and let’s get started discussing your objectives as we help you find the best network load balancer for your needs.