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Benefit of F5 BigIP Local Traffic Manager

Posted on 2011-03-02
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Hello Experts,

We are in the middle of choosing the right F5 product for our hosted services we provide to our customers.

LTM (local traffic manager) is one of the features that I am not so sure about. I know it mainly provides load balancing, but what makes it so different from for example Windows load balancing. What benefits does LTM give me for my environment?

Your kind input and advice will be much appreciated.

Jimmy
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Question by:jimmy1829
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torvir earned 500 total points
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There are a few big differences. I list some of the most important from the top of my head, that made us choose F5.
- Scalability. F5 doesn't have the limit of 8 servers as windows NLB has.
- SSL offload. If you have a https service you can make the F5 take care of SSL, which it does really well. The servers runs ordinary http and don't have to care about encryption to spare the load of the CPU.
- NLB loadbalancing works in a way where all requests to a server is sent to all servers in the serverfarm, or even to all servers in the same subnet, depending on which method you use. This isn't a good solution in big datacenters where the servers are spread out in the switch network for renundancy. That results in unnecessary network load on links in the datacenter, and in worst case, unnecessary load on the NIC:s of other servers.
This is the main reason for us to choose an external loadbalancer from start.
- Full control of traffic flows. You can controll the traffic to the servers in almost every way you can think of thanks to F5 iRules which is a relativly simple but powerful programming language.
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by:torvir
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I read an article on MS technet today and learned two useful things about the drawbacks of WNLB.
-WNLB can't test if certain services are up and running on the servers. If the IP address is alive WNLB is happy.
  F5 on the other hand can do tests on protocols, on specific url:s, try to log in and much more.
  This is a very important function that by itself would have made me coose something other than WNLB.
-WNLB can do source IP affinity while F5 can do that and a few more persistence moethods. Like cookie-insert, cookie-learning, SSL-session... and more.
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