Load Balancing for Web Servers


We are going to be launching an internal web site at the end of the year - https://corp-intranet.mydomain.com

There will be three web servers that will host this site for redundancy and performance (load balancing) reasons.

We're planning that In front of the web servers will be a Load Balancer fronting the URL. We use F5.

Any recommendation on how this should work? What sort of settings we should use and so on?

The web servers themselves will be Windows 2012 R2. The second part of the question is whether we can save money on the Load Balancers and use some form of Windows technology.
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The F5 certainly will take care of the load balancing needs, it pretty much does that out of the box. With the F5 there are a lot of different load balancing methods that you can use as well, I think it defaults to round robin last time I checked.

Since you mentioned that you use F5, I'm not sure how to answer your question of "Any recommendation on how this should work?". But basically you would create a VIP (virtual server) and in that would would create a pool that contains your three nodes (the 3 web servers). Within that Virtual server/pool you would have many options that you can use for load balancing those web servers, as well as monitoring the web servers on different protocols, among other things.
Most people that implement F5 Big-IP use them as a hardware cluster for redundancy where one is active and the other unit is in standby.
It depends on your network setup where they would be placed (inside or dmz, etc). Typically the virtual server for the 3 nodes will be on a different subnet than where the 3 nodes reside, this being the case you would most likely use "autonat" on the virtual server, so the destination ip is translated and incoming traffic to the 3 web servers will always return back through the destination ip.
If you mention more about what you plan on doing specifically maybe I can give more advice. You'll find this website very helpful where you can post similar questions for advice https://devcentral.f5.com

You can even have the F5 inspect the ssl traffic so it does all the work and keeps the resources free on the web servers, thats what the F5 was built to do.

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Anand PrabhuSenior Infrastructure EngineerCommented:
You need provide more information on what type of application server are you trying to load balance SharePoint or Weblogic or any other? Give us more information if you want to share our knowledge on your deployment.

I use F5 on day to day basis, it has plenty of features - very efficient in load balancing (various techniques), acceleration, compression, persistence, ssl-offloading and many more, so in my view, it is uncomparable with Windows failover clustering.

read here for various F5 load balancing methods http://www.hackandsecure.com/category/f5-big-ip-ltm/
If you are using Hardware load balancer for load balancing \ failover, no reason to look for windows NLB technology

If you are in stage where budget is concerned and you have to make decision based on budget, then you can think of Windows NLB. But you already have F5

There are  number of benefits of HLB over NLB
The major one is HLB can identify service level failures (NLB can't) in addition to all standard failure detection methods
SSL offloading is one another feature available with HLB
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