NLB stands for Network Load Balancing. Network Load Balancing has the ability to balance traffic across two WAN links. It is a clustering technology offered by Microsoft as part of all Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 family operating systems.

NLB uses a distributed algorithm to load balance network traffic across a number of hosts, helping to enhance the scalability and availability of mission critical, IP-based services, such as Web, Virtual Private Networking, streaming media, terminal services, proxy and so on. It also provides high availability by detecting host failures and automatically redistributing traffic to operational hosts.

NLB is IP load balancing (it spreads network connection load across several systems). With Network Load Balancing, you can spread incoming requests across as many as 32 servers.

It is a clustering technology offered by Microsoft as a part of all Windows 2000 and 2003 family operating systems. Main function of NLB is to balance the load among multiple hosts. NLB uses its own distributed algorithm to load balance the network traffic across number of hosts called as servers.

It helps to enhance the scalability and availability of mission critical, IP based services like Web, streaming media, terminal services etc. It also provides high availability by detecting host failures and automatically redistributing traffic to other operational host.

By combining resources of two or more hosts running Windows 2000/2003 Operating System into a single cluster, NLB can deliver the reliability and performance that some important servers require.

What Does NLB Add ?

1] Availability

– Heartbeat – a mechanism to determine the state of the hosts

2] Load balancing/performance

– Algorithm
– Convergence

3] Scalability

– Quickly add node

System Requirement :

  1. Microsoft® Windows® 2000/2003/2008 Advanced Server or Data Center
  2. TCP/IP protocol
  3. Ethernet LAN
  4. Cluster hosts have to reside on the same physical subnet/Private Lan
  5. Services that you want load balance like Web, IIS etc.

Network Load Balancing clusters enables you to manage a group of independent servers as a single system for greater scalability, increased availability and easier manageability. One can use Network Load Balancing to implement enterprise-wide scalable solutions for the delivery of TCP/IP based services and applications. It is not a service based application, it only redirects traffic on a particular protocol so that the load between the server is easily distributed.

Companies whose web sites get a great deal of traffic usually use windows network load balancing servers.

Load balancing is dividing the amount of work that a computer has to do between two or more computers so that more work gets done in the same amount of time and, in general, all users get served faster. Load balancing can be implemented with hardware, software, or a combination of both.

Typically, load balancing is the main reason for computer server clustering.

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