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What are my application server load balancer options with HPE Helion OpenStack?


Guest Post: Tim Cuddy, Sr Product Manager, HPE Helion

Deploying a load balancer is a very common method of providing a scalable and elastic infrastructure for supporting user access to application servers.  As access demand grows, additional application servers can be brought online and added to the load balancer pool either via manual commands or via automated scripts that are triggered based on server utilization monitoring and event notifications thus ensuring high application server availability and minimal access latency.  In turn, if demand slows down, application servers can be removed via similar methods thus reducing overall infrastructure costs. 

Helion OpenStack provides a variety of load balancer options via the OpenStack Neutron networking service.  Neutron provides core networking services and supports user accessible sub-services like Load Balancer, Virtual Private Network (VPN), and Firewall via a RESTful API.  The Load Balancer sub-service itself further supports a backend driver mechanism that provides a single API interface to a wide variety of both hardware and software load balancer options.   

Load Balancer drivers are now available for a variety of both commercial, hardware and software load balancer products including F5, Citrix, Brocade, Radware, A10 Networks and Kemp and an open source, software load balancer called HA Proxy.  All Helion OpenStack user access to the installed load balancer driver is provided through the common Load Balancer API thus removing the requirement for a user to have to use a specific API or other interface for each type of load balancer.  The drivers process the Load Balancer API requests and convert these requests into their specific, native commands. 

System administrators can choose which drivers will be available to users during a Helion OpenStack installation.  A particular driver is selected by the user as part of the API or OpenStackClient CLI command to create a new load balancer.  The available drivers will also be selectable via a dropdown menu list in a future version of the Horizon web interface for Helion OpenStack. 

A new driver called "Octavia" was included as a default in Helion OpenStack v3.  The Octavia driver was developed based on the public cloud experience of multiple organizations including HPE, IBM, and Rackspace.  The Octavia driver automatically installs a copy of the open source, software load balancer called HAProxy into a VM on behalf of requesting users.  The Octavia driver also provides active monitoring and future failover of the deployed load balancers in a future Helion OpenStack release. 

There are a variety of load balancer options available that can be created by users in Helion OpenStack including both hardware and software options.  We encourage our customers to test their desired options with their target workloads and application servers to measure both desired functionality and performance prior to deploying in production. 

Instructions for creating, configuring and testing a Helion OpenStack load balancer are available at:

Senior Manager, Cloud Online Marketing
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About the Author


I manage the HPE Helion social media and website teams promoting the enterprise cloud solutions at HPE for hybrid, public, and private clouds. I was previously at Dell promoting their Cloud solutions and was the open source community manager for OpenStack and at Rackspace and Citrix Systems. While at Citrix Systems, I founded the Citrix Developer Network, developed global alliance and licensing programs, and even once added audio to the DOS ICA client with assembler. Follow me at @SpectorID