Real World Uses for Application Traffic Managementby Greg, June 28th, 2018
Load Balancers have evolved to deliver a wealth of application optimisation features that go beyond simple high availability and resilience. Often when it comes to traffic management, there is a list of complex features that a Load Balancer can deliver. However if like me, you don’t know every IT acronym under the sun, then you might find yourself lost to these terms.
Implementing a solution that integrates with your live application services is a daunting prospect and vendors often fail to provide real-world explanations and useful guidance on how you can actually deploy and benefit from the functionality offered. “Oh we do dynamic routing at layer 7”, that is all well and good, but what does that mean for you?
First Up: Load Balancing Policies to Enhance Service Delivery
Load balancing algorithms or rules are used to determine how your application traffic is distributed. With the edgeNEXUS load balancer, we give you an array of different policies for a really easy setup, all accessed via a simple drop down menu. This determines the way each connection is distributed to the servers, so choosing “round robin” will simply send each new request to servers in sequence. We can use “least connections” to send data to whichever service has the least amount of concurrent connections, however this does not take into account some of those connections that may be using much more CPU that others.
Using our “fastest” setting means that the LB will automatically calculate the response time for all requests per server smoothed over time and weight the server accordingly. Clever huh? All of these load balancing algorithms are explained in depth in our user guide.
Keeping Your Workers Connected
We have various options for managing cookies, depending on what you require for each service. For example, RDP cookie persistence ensures that even if the IP address of the client changes, the request will be sent to the same back end server to maintain the same session without loss of data. This is perfect if you have colleagues out on the road using remote desktop access because it helps maintain continuity and protects against loss of work, even if there are connectivity issues.
Now to the Cool Stuff – Master Your Application Delivery
If your traffic is HTTP, which the majority of data is, we can perform a lot of smarts using our unique web-traffic manipulation engine called flightPATH. flightPATH is effectively a clever and configurable rule engine that inspects incoming requests and outgoing responses to manipulate traffic to enhance service delivery. We offer a library of the most commonly used policies for easy setup, including url redirects, content replacement and content switching.
How does this work in real life? Your marketing and web team can hugely benefit from implementing routing policies on website traffic. Perhaps you want to redirect a 404 error to a branded custom page, rather than serve the standard one delivered from the server. We can do this. We can even set up an email alert for when a 404 is generated, so that the issue is known and can be resolved efficiently by your web team. Or perhaps you wish to send a customer in Germany to the German version of your website that will have the relevant content in the correct language for them. We can do this using flightPATH to offer a unique and tailored service to your customers which in turn helps to generate brand loyalty and repeat business.
flightPATH can also be used to produce security rules to force the use of HTTPS for certain directories. So for instance, if a client is accessing anything containing the /secure/ directory then they will be redirected to the HTTPS version of the URL requested. This is useful for connections that you want to encrypt from your client’s browser to the website, protecting sensitive information such as passwords.
Perhaps you want to see what kind of content people are looking for. We can use flightPATH to log spider requests, which effectively traces what people are looking at on search engines. Sales and marketing teams can use this consumer Intelligence to keep up-to-date with market interests and trends and use this info to influence product strategy.
This blog covers just a couple of useful implementations of traffic management but flightPATH provides a comprehensive toolkit for creating bespoke rules, so the only limit is your imagination.
That’s not to say it’s complicated and complex to manage. We are all about simplicity at edgeNEXUS and our marketing team regularly create and manage flightPATH rules. Believe me, they are not technical! If you are keen to put us to the test and see how easy it is to offer a customised service to your clients using traffic management get in touch.
Take a look at our web-traffic manipulation engine flightPATH here.