March 7, 2012
amazon-web-services-logo-largeAmazon Web Services has released a free whitepaper entitled “Best Practices in Evaluating Elastic Load Balancing.” The article is intended for partners and developers with little or no experience with Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), and will also be relevant to those who leverage software and hardware load balancers. The authors assert that “to best evaluate Elastic Load Balancing you need to understand its architecture.” The article describes the features and architecture of ELB, and outlines the best practices to avoid pitfalls while testing and evaluating the service.
For aspiring cloud integrators, Amazon’s guidance could be valuable.
Elastic Load Balancing is one of the features of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). EC2 is an essential part of AWS offerings, providing resizable Cloud compute capacity in a fully virtual environment. EC2 allows users to deploy an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), creating a virtual machine, or what AWS calls an “instance.” Pricing is based on the actual compute capacity that the client uses.
Another feature of EC2 is to ability to place instances in multiple locations, across AWS regions and availability zones. Currently ECS has eight defined regions: Northern Virginia, Oregon, Northern California, Ireland, Singapore, Tokyo, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and AWS GovCloud.
According to the Amazon EC2 webpage, “Elastic Load Balancing automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple Amazon EC2 instances. It enables you to achieve even greater fault tolerance (i.e. a system’s tolerance to hardware or software failure) in your applications, seamlessly providing the amount of load balancing capacity needed in response to incoming application traffic.”
They add that ELB, “detects unhealthy instances within a pool and automatically reroutes traffic to healthy instances until the unhealthy instances have been restored. You can enable Elastic Load Balancing within a single Availability Zone or across multiple zones for even more consistent application performance.”
In addition to fault tolerance, other common uses for Elastic Load Balancing include Auto Scaling, and integration with Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).
The main sections of the Amazon ELB Best Practice whitepaper are:
Overview of ELB
Architecture of the ELB Service and How it Works
Planning Your Load Test Scenario
Selecting a Testing Framework
Recommended Testing Approach
Common Pitfalls When Testing ELB
Finally, the report provides additional links to pages on ELB, CloudWatch (monitoring AWS Cloud resources and applications), Auto Scaling, and Distributed Testing Solutions.
The “Best Practices in Evaluating Elastic Load Balancing” report is freely accessible at the following URL: http://aws.amazon.com/elasticloadbalancing/.
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