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Cloud Balancers now available in beta!

Today, we’re excited to announce Brightbox Cloud Balancers – our new distributed load balancing service which is available right now as part of the cloud beta programme.

Cloud Balancers make it effortless to add fault tolerance and horizontal scalability to your systems by distributing traffic across a pool of Cloud Servers – even within separate Zones.

  • Scalable – Cloud Balancers use our high performance distributed cloud infrastructure
  • Resilient – automate fault tolerance by balancing across Cloud Servers in separate Zones
  • Flexible – map Cloud IP addresses onto your balancers
  • Familiar – point domain names at your balancers using standard DNS A-records or CNAMEs
  • Simple – use our intuitive commandline interface (or REST API) to configure balancers
  • Fast – instantly reconfigure any aspect of your existing balancers
  • Customisable – configure custom healthchecks for your pool of Cloud Servers
  • Extendable – add as many HTTP or TCP listeners you need per balancer

If you’re already part of the cloud beta programme you’ll simply need to install the latest version of the CLI tool (0.10.1) and you’ll be able to create Cloud Balancers straightaway (see the documentation for instructions).

If you’re not on the beta programme and would like to be, why not submit a beta request today? :)

Check out the screencast…

Cloud Balancer Q & A

How does it work?

Cloud Balancers are managed via the Brightbox API (or using the CLI tool, which uses the API). You create a new balancer, specifying which services should be balanced and to which back end Cloud Servers. The Cloud Balancer is then automatically built, within a minute or so, on top of the Cloud Balancing layer which spans each Zone within a Region. You can then map a Cloud IP onto the balancer and traffic is distributed across your servers according to the policy you define (the default is “least connections”). The Cloud Servers are continuously monitored according to a “healthcheck” you specify. Should one of your Cloud Servers become unresponsive it is removed from the active pool of servers until it is “up” again.

How does this compare to Amazon’s ELB (Elastic Load Balancing)?

Brightbox Cloud Balancers offer a number of advantages over Amazon’s ELB – here’s a few important ones…

  1. Brightbox Cloud Balancers work with Cloud IPs so you can easily map and remap public IP addresses between servers and load balancers.
  2. With Amazon ELB you are restricted to using only CNAME dns records, so you can’t use root domains (e.g http://example.com) – whereas with Brightbox you can use A-records and use domain names however you wish.
  3. With Brightbox you can instantly reconfigure any aspect of your existing balancers, whereas in some situations you’d need to recreate a new ELB load balancer from scratch.

How will pricing work?

We plan to announce pricing information on both this and other Brightbox Cloud services within the next month.

There will be a standard fixed hourly rate for each Cloud Balancer plus a charge for load balanced internet data (per GB).

How quickly are load balancers created?

Load Balancers are normally created and handling traffic within 90 seconds.

How much traffic will a Brightbox Cloud Balancer handle?

Exactly how much traffic a single balancer can handle depends largely on your application, but they can comfortably handle 6000 concurrent connections as standard. This will also increase dramatically in the near future as we add new scaling features to the Cloud Balancing layer.

What kind of traffic can we balance?

You can balance most TCP-based protocols. Specifying an HTTP listener adds an “X-Forwarded-For” header.

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