At Hollow Developers, we use Rackspace Cloud for this website, and have started to move over our gaming and education websites to this host. Today, they have announced public availability of their Rackspace Cloud Load Balancing API. We have been waiting for this since November when they first announced a public beta, and are even more excited about what this means for our clients in the future.
What is Load Balancing?
Load balancing allows websites to split up the work of hosting pages and images to multiple machines. Take a site like Amazon. There’s no way that one server would be able to keep up with all those visitors! So, Amazon tells some of its customers to use Server A, and some of its customers to use Server B (in reality, there’s probably thousands of machines at Amazon).
There are a few benefits to this. First, with multiple machines, you have redundancy – your data is stored in multiple locations, and in case one server goes down, your website can still stay online. Second, suppose one server is being overloaded with a very complex request. With load balancing, the other server can pick up the slack until the resource-intensive task is complete. Load balancing also allows you to take servers out of the rotation and perform maintenance, without bringing down your website. The wikipedia article has a long list of other benefits.
Load Balancing For Small Businesses
In the past, load balancing has been out of reach for many small businesses. If your dedicated server that hosted your website went down, your customers would be met with a dreaded 404 page. However, with load balancing coming soon to the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel, this is going to get much easier very soon. Starting at $20/month, Rackspace’s solution is poised to be one of the first easy-to-use and inexpensive cloud load balancers.
Interested in getting your site on Rackspace Cloud? Contact Hollow Developers for a consultation.