Azure load balancer and traffic manager

In this blog, we will see about Azure load balancer and Azure traffic manager.

If you host a website/ application in Microsoft Azure, you want to make sure that your website always runs and you do not want to face down-time. But how will you keep your website always Up and smooth.

A website could be un-responsive in below cases-

  • Planned/ Un-planned maintenance activities
  • Natural Disaster
  • Spike in website traffic
  • Network Latency
In spite of all this you would like your website to always be up and running without any latency. To solve this type of problem, Microsoft Azure has given the facility of Azure Load Balancer and Traffic Manager.

What is Azure Load Balancer

A load balancer is used to distribute the traffic among available Virtual Machines. Load balancer is the entry point for any request,and from there load balancer decides which Virtual Machine to hit.

But do you know, how load balancer decides where to route the request? Load balancer is designed in such a way that if a one Virtual machine goes down then load balancer doesn't navigate the request to this Virtual Machine. Or if a Virtual Machine is serving too many request then also load balancer will not route the request to that Virtual Machine. So, the summary is - A load balancer receives the requests and distributes the requests among available Virtual Machine (VM) to make your service in high-availability mode.

Azure load balancer is a cloud computing service given by Microsoft to provide high-availability mode for your web applications. It supports in-bound and out-bound scenarios. Azure load balancer privileges your web application with low down-time and that too without maintaining any software or infrastructure for this. You have to define the forwarding rules to set an end-point IP address or Port.

What is Azure Traffic Manager?

You get high availability mode for your service with Azure Load Balancer. But, what about network latency?

What is network latency?

Network latency is the time taken to travel the data over the network. Consider below scenarios -

  • Scenario 1 - Data server is in Asia and user requests the service from Europe region
  • Scenario 2 - Data server is in Asia and user requests the service from Asia region
In which of the above two scenarios do you think that the request will be completed soon. Of-course, in scenario 2. Reason is that, server is in Asia and request is also made from Asia region so time taken to travel data over network will always be lesser compare to Scenario 1.

To resolve this network latency issue in Azure, Microsoft has given Azure Traffic Manager. Azure Traffic Manager reduce latency by routing users request to nearest endpoint.

Azure Load Balancer and Azure Traffic Manager both helps you to achieve high-availability mode for your service. Azure Load Balancer distributes the traffic among available VMs while Azure Traffic Manager works at DNS level to route the request to nearest data center.

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