As we all know, bandwidth demands are more and more increasing. In December 2019 the world largest IXP, DE-CIX, measured a peak transfer rate of 8.1 Tbit/sec, that has been a new world record.
10GbE networking becomes more and more widespread, the infrastructure components as switches, routers and NICs are now in an affordable price range, even for smaller companies that have limited budget.
But there’s a critical infrastructure component, the load balancer, which obviously needs to follow this trend at the same time.
If you make a quick market analysis trying to determine which 10GbE capable load balancer to buy, you probably will get frustrated among our competitors. Their pricing is far away from being acceptable and any testing data is kept hidden in almost all cases.
The solution: BalanceNG allows you to build your own enterprise class 10GbE load balancer at an unbeatable price/performance ratio. This is what this article is about: It points you to the right direction with no risk of spending any money in vain. Just consider the following: If you decide not to use BalanceNG for whatever reason, the hardware that you selected and may be the 10GbE NICs that you have purchased will never become wasted money. You also don’t need to purchase any licenses within 30 days of your testing.
With over 1000 installations worldwide, BalanceNG is proven technology. The major part is deployed with Telco installations, but also larger hosting companies, satellite operators, medical data centers and even the NASA rely on it.
Whether you are planning to use already existing machines or if you are purchasing a new one, there are several guidelines that can be recommended:
When selecting a machine, focus on Intel NICs and the PCIe x8 availability. Select a modern CPU with a minimum of 4 available cores, more are better. Intel Xeon is a good choice, but also Intel Core i7 and i9 CPUs are perfect. Keep in mind that the Xeon family provides ECC RAM support (which the i7/i9 does not). Which Linux distribution you prefer does not matter at all, just operate the system without a graphical frontend.
When testing your machine, focus on the number of threads started for the packet processing 10GbE interface. You need to find the optimal value for your specific machine. BalanceNG can be configured to run a maximum of 8 processing threads per physical interface. Keep an eye on the cooling airflow inside the case and examine the syslog regarding PCI messages and especially in case of problems.
As soon as you are satisfied with your test results, you can now setup an HA BalanceNG configuration with two identical nodes.
Don’t hesitate to contact at firstname.lastname@example.org, even if it is just for double checking your final configuration. Usually we will ask you to provide a BalanceNG snapshot of each of both nodes, this is easily generated with “snapshot /tmp/snapshot.txt” in the “bng control” CLI (for example).