NetRoute – Use Network PC As TCP/IP Router To Achieve Server Load Balancing

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There are certainly endless ways in which server load management techniques can be implemented on network. Before applying any of the techniques, system administrators have to consider the total number of nodes connected in the network, server response time, and in some cases, the rate of data transmission between nodes acting as member servers and main servers. In server-member server-client network architecture, load balancing methodologies can’t be applied unless we know how much data has to pass through routers and what type of response clients are seeking when data send and receive requests are made.

One of the widely used server load balancing technique is backed by Round-Robin algorithm which is assigned to homogenous servers having same processing capability and size of jobs to perform. This technique ensures that each data packet which are being requested for routing or processing gets somewhat equal number of job slots and CPU time. Whereas, in heterogonous environment, one of the recommended technique is Weighted Round Robin where size of jobs to be performed are submitted by clients. Another basic policy to apply load balancing is Least Connection policy which refers to routing requests to those servers which are working on least number of clients’ requests in order to shorten the time involve in processing requests.

Apart from how data is being distributed among the servers and member servers, routing requests play a vital role to achieve load balancing. Since the main focus remains primarily on load balancing techniques which deals with allocating time a server takes to spawn threads for initiating service of requests from clients, one major factor which is often overlooked is re-organization of data transmission paths. If load balancing techniques have already been applied and you’re looking for a way to redirect traffic without having to redefine routing tables, NetRoute will help you manage server(s) load with ease. It’s an open source application for Windows which turns you machine into TCP/IP router, as well as, load balancer to redirect and balance the load of requests. The application doesn’t require you to configure anything; it runs as a Windows Service and enables you to rout traffic to specified host or IP address. Beside managing traffic load, it comes with a simple yet effect fail-over configuration to manage traffic routing in worst scenarios. It also includes options to configure session persistence, HTTP header manipulation, buffering, and troubleshooting.

This GUI based routing application provides a convenient management interface which lets you remotely administer its services. The main screen shows all the configure local ports with active number of connections. The first step it to specify server login details. Once verified, from Server menu, add a new route.

net router console

The Route Settings deals with specifying all the information it may require to properly balance the traffic load. After entering name and description of routing in Basic tab, head over to Routing to enter local port, max number of connections allowed followed by destination host names/IPs. The Local IP Bindings tab allows you to listen on all IPs or on user-specified ones. Under HTTP Header, you can define manipulation method according to specified HTTP header text, which may includes, Server.CPU.Count, Server.CPU.Speed, Server.OS.Name, Server.Software.Name, Server.User.Name, etc.

The Load Balancing tab lets you select Fail-Over, Round Robin, or Least Connection Policy technique to efficiently manage the server load. Generally, there is no thumb rule to follow in choosing the balancing technique, so you have to decide it according to your network architecture and number of active nodes connected.

load balance

Both the number of Data-Pump threads with its respective spawn threshold and connection threads and its spawn threshold can be defined from Threading tab. It’s advisable to enter most suitable number of threads and spawn ranges to make load balancing seamless. The Advanced tab contains options to enter the send and receive buffer and set maximum connection timeout duration.

monitor

After adding all the required information, click OK to return back to main screen. You will see new routing listed there. The Server menu lets you view service console to view messages and set password with facility to enable remote access. NetRoute automatically saves currently used server’s routing settings. However, if you want to define routing for some different server, Connect to option is always available in File menu.

NetRoute seems useful for small and medium size network having multiple servers to route requests. It can also be used to switch between load balancing techniques according to volume of traffic that pass through all the active servers. It is an open source application that works on both client and server editions of Windows. Versions for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows OS are also available.

Download NetRoute (No longer available)

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  • BODHost Ltd

    NetRoute seems good for load balancing, but have you been heard about HAProxy? It is also reliable and fast solution for load balanced servers. It offers high availability, and Proxying for TCP and HTTP based applications to spread out the traffic between the servers. However, it consists to reverse proxy which is specifically suitable for high availability environments.

  • Miya

    Interesting topic, though a bit dense.
    Will it need 2 NIC for WAN and LAN connections?

  • Bolshwire

    Great post! routing data requests always help balance the load. Will definitely try Netroute.