IBM System Networking Solutions
Optimise Workloads with IBM System Networking Load Balancing and Layer 2/7 Switches
In a computer network, load balancing is a technique to spread work between two or more computers, network links, CPUs, hard drives, or other resources, in order to get optimal resource utilisation, maximise throughput and minimise response time. Using multiple components with load balancing, instead of a single component, may increase reliability through redundancy. The balancing service is usually provided by a dedicated program or hardware device (such as a multi layer load balancing switch). It is commonly used to mediate internal communications in computer clusters, especially high-availability clusters.
According to IDC's, Making the Business Case for Blade Servers with Embedded Layer 2/7 Switches (US) (PDF, 261KB):
In the past decade, organisations have dramatically increased the number of network devices in their data centres, adding critical functionality but complicating data centre management. The Internet boom, in particular, fueled an explosion of single-function network appliances, creating a highly complex and inefficient data centre topology that is difficult and expensive to manage and vulnerable to security threats. In today’s competitive business environment, CIOs are seeking to simplify their data centre topology to cut costs and create a network infrastructure that is secure, easy to manage, always available, and capable of adjusting to unpredictable workloads and changing business needs.
In rearchitecting their infrastructure for greater efficiency and flexibility, many organisations are consolidating their rack-optimised, data centre servers into a blade server chassis and then integrating the storage fabric and Layer 2 switches into the chassis. Blade servers were originally viewed as a means of conserving data centre space and power, which were at a premium during the Internet boom. However, they are now valued more for their ability to increase availability and manageability and to lower acquisition and ownership costs. Integrating Layer 2 switches into the chassis further enhances the consolidation and manageability benefits of a blade server and provides the necessary backplane to support basic server workloads.
While this consolidation is an important first step, organisations can go further in simplifying their data centre topology by integrating and embedding Layer 3-7 switching functionality within the blade server chassis. This LAN switch consolidation opens the door for tasks performed by function-specific appliances to be consolidated into the blade centre chassis. In addition, adding switching intelligence to the blade server allows server capacity to be allocated dynamically to handle changing application loads.
IBM System Networking offers advanced load balancing capabilities in its switches.
Layer 2/7 load balancing (US) capabilities within IBM BNT switches provide:
10GbE Statistical flow balancing (US) addresses the current market need for handling:
IBM iFlow Director (US) software addresses the market need for: