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Scalable Internet Architectures by Theo Schlossnagle

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Load Balancing Basics

Load balancing is intended to mean evenly balancing the workload across the machines in a cluster. Specifically, in a web-based environment, work is short—very short. Typical requests can take as little as a few milliseconds to complete, and a server can handle thousands of static page requests per second and almost as many dynamic pages per second. The nature of these transactions makes the concept of system load inappropriate.

Imagine a cluster of servers equally utilized. A new server is brought online and initially has a system load of 0. Balancing on system load alone would cause all subsequent requests to be directed to this new machine. Thousands will arrive in the first second, and the load will be zero. Thousands ...

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