One egg, many baskets

How load balancing is helping deliver on the promise of application virtualization.

From systems and storage to networks, virtually every nook and cranny of the IT environment these days is being virtualized. Applications, of course, are no exception, and for good reason. By isolating applications from the underlying operating system and from other applications, then streaming them from a centralized location into an isolated environment on a laptop or other target device to be executed, virtualization makes it a snap to run applications on different computers – not to mention, previously incompatible applications can now be run side by side.

In other words, application virtualization is a game changer in terms of increasing compatibility and manageability. It also:

  • uses fewer resources and saves hardware and software costs
  • simplifies operating systems migrations
  • accelerates application deployment through on-demand application streaming
  • improves security by isolating applications from OS
  • simplifies license usage tracking

Optimizing application performance and ensuring security.

But of course, as with almost any technology such as this, application virtualization has its own set of potential pitfalls, a big one being that by removing applications from the physical device and having them reside on an application server somewhere, you run the risk of that server becoming a single point of failure when, say, too many users try to access the application at the same time or a nasty application-layer bug infects the server and wreaks havoc across your organization. In other words, the old too-many-eggs-in-one-basket dilemma.

Load balancing helps mitigate those sorts of risks by intelligently and dynamically distributing and optimizing incoming traffic among servers hosting the same application content. By balancing application requests across multiple servers, particularly during a surge in traffic, load balancing prevents that single point of failure nightmare scenario and ensures that virtualized applications are always available and responsive. Load balancing even monitors the health, or availability, of servers so as to avoid [Read more…]

The network balancing act.

Of virtual domains and load balancing: some benefits of network virtualization.

 It’s a common problem: by underutilizing their resources, most data centers end up deploying more servers than they need to. Those additional servers increase costs, of course, but they also create more disparate environments that are tough to manage. But now IT has the capability to buy single device items that, through virtualization, they can carve up into separate logical devices that look physically separated.

 That means you can create a virtual domain for a company or entity or line of business that’s run and managed separately, discreetly from other things in the environment even though each is sharing the same physical device.

 It also means increasing the value of your network devices and leveraging your infrastructure.

 Yet virtualization of data center infrastructure can bring with it an increase in security issues — around privacy, compliance, and business continuity, for example. So a lot of technology is being offered by vendors that can make sure, for instance, that devices coming on the network are trusted and that you don’t end up accidently putting something online or in a place where it shouldn’t be and create security issues.

 Another challenge when it comes to network virtualization centers around [Read more…]