Server Load Balancing
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: August 2001
Pages: 194

Load balancing improves network performance by distributing traffic efficiently so that individual servers are not overwhelmed by sudden fluctuations in activity. Server Load Balancing is a guide to this critical component of high availability, clustering, and fault tolerance, all of which provide the infrastructure for reliable Internet sites and large corporate networks.

Much of the information on load balancing comes from vendor-specific manuals that use inconsistent terminology and are often biased toward the products they cover. Server Load Balancing explains to engineers and technicians the concepts and terminology of load balancing and offers practical guidance for planning and implementing it in almost any environment. It includes a configuration guide with diagrams and sample configurations for installing, configuring, and maintaining products from the four major vendors:

  • Alteon WebSystems
  • Cisco's CSS Series (formerly ArrowPoint)
  • F5's BIG-IP
  • the Foundry ServerIron series

By comparing several load balancing products, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the technology and how best to use it to improve your network performance. No system administrator responsible for traffic management should be without this practical guide.

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oreillyServer Load Balancing
 
1.9

(based on 12 reviews)

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Reviewed by 12 customers

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3.0

decent conceptual tutorial, but dated now

By Dave Kitabjian

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Server Load Balancing:

Years ago, I actually found this book to be a rather handy, conceptual overview of the principles behind load balancing. While it has some vendor-specific details, its greatest asset is helping the IT architect understand the topological options for layout out his redundancy. The diagrams are particularly helpful.

The biggest problem is that it's now rather dated. It has no treatment of SANs or storage virtualization in general. I don't believe it covers CPU virtualization either, such as offered by Parallels. To round things out nicely, a chapter on database clustering would be welcome as well.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Server Load Balancing Review

By R Cooley

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Server Load Balancing:

I suppose this book would have been a fair read if I knew nothing at all, and was soon going to begin shopping for a load balancing/failover solution...

It explains things in very general concepts... Large pieces of information are left out of the explanations of how these systems really work, and some concepts are simply wrong.

Even forgiving the low-brow content, it is written horribly. What should be a one-paragraph explanation, turns into several pages, because the author chooses to introduce concepts, piece by piece, in the middle of any other concept that even vaguely applies. Imagine reading a novel where each paragraph had 2 trailing pages which defined each word.

Also, even if you just want to know the basics, it still leaves much out. In the Direct Server Return (DSR) section, the author explains each step, and then skips what happens between the time a packet hits the loopback interface, and when it is returned to the client.

The same section is a great example of another problem with the book. The author says that D.S.R. is wonderful because only about 1/8th the processing is done. Not only did the author screw up the ratio that he gave (essentially saying it would cause 8x the load, which contradicting himself in the following text) but he completely left out the fact that the 8x processing load is not gone, but rather shifted to the important servers, rather than the SLB box.

If you have any idea what load balancing is, what a heartbeat is, and what NAT is, you have nothing to learn from this book, except what not to do if you are an author.

If there is some way that I can get a refund for my book, which is in like-new condition, please contact me.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Server Load Balancing Review

By Boda Gyorgy

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Server Load Balancing:

The worst O`Reilly book of my life. It's full of mistakes. The IP addresses in the diagrams are absolutely wrong.

Sentences like this are common:

The SLB device translates normal routed IP addresses (represented by the nonrouted 192.168.0.0/24 IP space) into nonrouted IPs.

Please, send me the address where i could send the book back.

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Server Load Balancing Review

By Wade Savage

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Server Load Balancing:

I came here purposely to express and warn other O'Reilly readers to avoid this clunker of a book. I see I'm not the only one who felt this way. Just my two cents.

 
4.0

Server Load Balancing Review

By Cara Carver

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Server Load Balancing:

Having been thrusted into a consulting position with a company who uses Alteon-based products, this book has been like a bible to me. I recommend this book to anyone who does not know much about server load balancing but has a need to.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Server Load Balancing Review

By #NAME?

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Server Load Balancing:

I had high hopes for this title. Tony's O'Reilly article on bridge-path versus

route-path return traffic was interesting and informative. However, the book

is unable to substain any high level of instruction. A few discussions in the book are confusing, and quite a bit of information is repeated too many times (better editing might have helped on these points). However, I'm not sure Tony had a target audience well thought out while writting this book. The small chapter on performance would definitely not be useful for an experienced network admin, and would be little help to someone just starting to work with server load balancers. More in-depth discussion of load balancing setups for particular protocols (POP, SMTP, HTTP, streaming, FTP, etc) would have been helpful. Real world examples, case studies, and "gotchas" about the major vendor's products would have all made this a more useful book. At least a chapter on open source solutions might have been helpful (example, using apache's mod_rewrite and mod_proxy to reverse-proxy CPU intensive parts of a web site to multiple back end machines, leaving the main server to handle basic web file serving).

Unlike the 20 or so O'Reilly titles on my shelf at work, this one will be staying home or returned to the bookstore.

-adam

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Server Load Balancing Review

By calvin

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Server Load Balancing:

the book is good if you know little about load balancing. But if you look at actual Alteon manual for example, It covers more ideas about load balancing and how it solves problems on different situation but lack a bit of basic theory which it covers well by this book.

It will be good if this book can explain more than those written on the vendors manual.

 
1.0

Server Load Balancing Review

By Peter Wallen

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Server Load Balancing:

This book might be good if you run across a cheap load balancer on Ebay and can't get the manufacturer to send you a manual.

Otherwise, don't waste your time.

 
5.0

Server Load Balancing Review

By Bill Bradford

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Server Load Balancing:

This is absolutely the best oreilly title i have ever owned. It is a MUST read for advanced systems admins and solaris gurus like myself. Kudos to the author on this fantastic gem!

 
1.0

Server Load Balancing Review

By S. Simpson

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Server Load Balancing:

A waste of good paper. About a half of book is regurgitation of configuration information for four vendors SLB products. In places the exact same paragraphs have been printed twice. For example page 107 discussing VIPs is identical to the page 111 discussion of VIPs.

There is next to no discussion of Open Source solutions or software techniques.

I am disappointed that O'Reilly would publish a book like this. I hope this isn't a negative trend for O'Reilly.

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