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Best Practices from Oracle Development's A‑Team

Comparing OCI Load Balancers: Quickly and Easily

Overview

Load balancing is a critical component in any infrastructure and plays a pivotal role in the end-user experience. Load Balancers serve as gateways between users and applications. Load balancers enable the availability, scalability, and agility that a business needs.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers two load balancing solutions the Oracle Load Balancer Services and the Network Load Balancer Service.    

Oracle Load Balancer Service 

The Oracle Cloud Load Balancer service provides a Layer 7 load balancer that routes network traffic in a more complex manner, applicable to TCP-based traffic like HTTP. First, the load balancer terminates the network traffic and reads the message within. Then, it makes a decision based on the content of the message or header.  In addition, it offers an elastically scalable regional VIP address that can scale up or down using a flexible shape up to 8000 Mbps.

Layer 7 load balancing operates at the high‑level application layer of the OSI Model, which deals with the actual content of each message. HTTP is the predominant Layer 7 protocol for website traffic on the Internet. A Layer 7 load balancer terminates the network traffic and reads the message within. It can make a load‑balancing decision based on the content of the message (the URL or cookie, for example). It then creates a new TCP connection to the selected backend server or reuses an existing one, by means of keepalives and processes the request.

Benefits of Layer 7 Load Balancing

Layer 7 load balancing enables the load balancer to make smarter load‑balancing decisions and apply optimizations and changes to the content. It uses buffering to offload slow connections from the upstream servers, which improves performance. Application layer load balancers analyze each message's actual content, which means they can analyze the incoming header and make decisions based on the content of the header.  

Oracle Network Load Balancer Service

The Oracle Network Load Balancer is a non-proxy load balancing solution that performs pass-through load balancing of layer 3 and layer 4 (TCP/UDP/ICMP) workloads. In addition, it offers an elastically scalable regional VIP address that can scale up or down based on client traffic with no minimum or maximum bandwidth configuration requirement.

It also provides the benefits of flow high availability, source and destination IP address, and port preservation. It's designed to handle volatile traffic patterns and millions of flows, offering high throughput while maintaining ultra-low latency. This ideal load balancing solution for latency-sensitive workloads includes real-time streaming, VoIP, Internet of Things, and trading platforms. The Network Load Balancer is optimized for long-running connections in the order of days or months, which makes it best suited for your database or WebSocket-type applications.

The Network Load Balancer operates at the connection level and balances incoming client connections to healthy backend servers based on IP protocol data. The load balancing policy uses a hashing algorithm to distribute the client flows. The default load balancing distribution policy is based on a 5-tuple hash of the source and destination IP address, port, and IP protocol information. This 5-tuple hash policy provides session affinity within a given TCP or UDP session, where packets in the same session are directed to the same backend server behind the Network Load Balancer. In addition, you can use a 3-tuple (source IP, destination IP, and protocol) or 2-tuple (source and destination IPs) load balancing policy to provide session affinity beyond the lifetime of a given session.

Benefits of Layer 4 Network Load Balancing

Layer 4 load balancers forward network packets to and from the upstream server without inspecting the content of the packets, which makes them more secure. They don't need to decrypt the content of the packets; they can merely forward them. Stream only a single connection between the client and the servers so the network load balancer can serve a maximum number of connections. Overall, the Network Load Balancer is built for speed and efficiency.  

Oracle Load Balancer Services Feature Comparison

Features

Load Balancer

Network Load Balancer

Layer 4 Load Balancing 

No

Yes

Layer 7 Load Balancing

Yes

No

Cipher Suite Support

Yes

No

TLS Support

1.0, 1.1, 1.2

No

HA

Yes

Yes

Session Persistence

Yes

No

Application Cookie Stickiness

Yes

No

Load Balancer Cookie Stickiness

Yes

No

SSL Termination

Yes

No

Web Application Firewall Protection

Yes

No

Bandwidth 

Flexible

Flexible

IPv6 Support

Yes

No

Client Header Preservation

No

Yes

Request Routing

Yes

No

Summary

For more information, see OCI Network Load Balancer or the OCI Load Balancer in the OCI documentation. We want you to experience these new features and all the enterprise-grade capabilities that Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers. It’s easy to try them out with a US$300 free credit

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