Over the years some rudimentary traffic distribution methods have been found wanting when something goes wrong and a relatively small investment is all that’s needed to obtain extensive capability.
Protecting services means less outages, less impact, and a quicker ROI. Load Balancing is a no brainer!
Consider this - if you’ve got AD, DNS and other traffic in your services, why not load balance them? And who doesn’t have AD or DNS?!
Even in a basic DaaS solution I would always strongly recommend using NetScaler VPX and load balancing to protect and distribute load for critical services, including LDAP, DNS and StoreFront. In doing so, you’re protecting your own services, preventing unexpected outages and providing a premium service to your customers that you can charge a premium price for. Face it, no one wants to see this sort of message…
The message here is simple; load balancing is very easy to implement, very affordable and will help to significantly reduce the risk of a customer being impacted when unexpected issues occur. And let’s face it, unexpected issues will occur.
Citrix NetScaler is a product designed from the ground-up as a Load Balancer. It has comprehensive options for monitoring (probes) and managing traffic based on metrics and algorithms which the administrator can configure to suit their specific needs.
XenApp and XenDesktop Load Balancing Scenario
A great example of how this can help in a XenApp or XenDesktop deployment is with the use of a NetScaler specific probe that can look at your Citrix server site and ensure that not only are critical services running, but that they are working as designed.
In the above example, the NetScaler load balancing monitor logs on to your Citrix XenApp/ XenDesktop site and enumerates applications. In doing so the appliance has tested that numerous Windows services are running and working correctly and that there are no issues with other critical aspects of the solution including networking, SQL, DNS and authentication. The NetScaler administrator can configure load balancing to manage traffic based on any of the many potential outcomes of a probe – this level of control and assurance is in my opinion, priceless.
A few examples of content that can be load balanced:
- Skype for Business
- Protocols: TCP, UDP, FTP, HTTP, HTTPS, SQL, DNS, SIP, RTSP, RADIUS, and RDP
Load Balancing SharePoint and other Web Content
A basic load balancer may only probe a port, for example, and if you had multiple sites on a web server sharing a port it’s obvious that even if port 80 or 443 is working it doesn’t mean that one or all of the web sites is also working.
NetScaler in this instance can look at content in the sites or load a page on the site. It can even process a page with pre-defined content to ensure backend processing and connectivity is also working. This is called an Extended Content Verification probe or ECV Probe. I’ve given this example to highlight just how comprehensive Load Balancing using NetScaler is – remember to look beyond a Citrix platform and consider how NetScaler could help protect your existing and future services.
Hopefully this gives you some insight in to Load Balancing with NetScaler. The topic is much more than I’m blogging about now, so if you’d like to know more please contact me!
The next blog is about Global Server Load Balancing – data centre load balancing no less… And if that’s not for you, skip to Single Sign-On which is part 9 – If you’re consuming Office 365 and any other SaaS applications, SSO should not be missed!
By Darren Bennett, Partner Enablement Specialist (Citrix), rhipe