[unisog] Dell LoadBalancer's?

Steve Bernard sbernard at gmu.edu
Thu Mar 20 01:01:09 GMT 2003

I'm curious, does anyone know of a free, open source load balancing 
solution that provides something more than simple round-robin request 
redirection? I'd love to find a usable, free lb tool but, plain vanilla 
round-robin redirection is too simplistic. There don't seem to be any 
tools for tasks like client IP pass-through, connection multiplexing, 
SSL offload, cookie/token insertion, weighting of nodes or pools, 
health/availability checking, advanced load balancing methods, Layer 7 
decision making capability, a bridging-mode, or the tools to manage 
everything effectively. I'm aware of individual capabilities within 
Apache, Tomcat, and Squid to balance HTTP requests using various 
methods, and of using round-robin DNS as well but, none of these provide 
what I consider to be an "enterprise" load-balancer.


STeve Andre' wrote:
> This really sounds like something OpenBSD's pf packet filter
> system could do very well.  The Altq package has been rolled
> into pf, making it a really interesting tool for firewalls and
> controling packet flow in general.  I've watched pf's growth
> since it first came out in OpenBSD 3.0 (dec 2001 if I remember
> right) and the version for the forthcoming v3.3 will have the
> flow control mechanism.  
> If you are looking at something to control packets, pf is very
> worth a good look.  OpenBSD is an outstanding system too,
> with really good documentation for it.
> --STeve Andre'
> On Wednesday 19 March 2003 14:59, John Stauffacher wrote:
>>Not to put a damper on your recent purchase, but... After a couple of years
>>of working in many .bombs and using a plethora of F5's products (from
>>BigIPs to their DNS caching product), I can say this: You can get the same
>>effect out of doing what they do, grab an x86 box -- slap BSD on it and go
>>out and search for a nice software solution. Other than the web interface
>>and their custom kernel patches there is nothing special about the F5
>>boxen. You pay a lot and get a little. If you want to look at some nice
>>load balancers, look at Alteon (or what is now Nortel
>>[www.alteonwebsystems.com]), you can still find a bunch of Alteon switches
>>on e-bay. The switches provide wire-speed asic based load balancing and
>>content directing. To me, they seem a little bit better and a little bit
>>more robust than the F5 equivalents.  And they are quite a bit more
>>expandable and scalable. Anyways, that's my 2 cents...
>>John Stauffacher
>>Network Administrator
>>Chapman University
>>stauffacher at chapman.edu
>>"If the only tool you've got is an axe, every problem looks like fun!"
>>"it's a lot harder to ask permission than forgiveness."
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Ed Gibson [mailto:egibson at uwo.ca]
>>Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 8:20 AM
>>To: unisog at sans.org
>>Subject: [unisog] Dell LoadBalancer's?
>>Sorry for the potentially off topic question! But here it goes.....
>>We will be purchasing a load balancer in the near term and had narrowed
>>the search down to F5 or Radware. We however recently noticed that Dell
>>sells the F5 stack on there 2650 server platform as an Appliance
>>(PowerApp.BIG-IP). Indications from both Dell (lot's of marketing gloss)
>>and F5 sales rep indicate that there is basically no functional
>>difference between the F5 540 Server Appliance platform and Dell's
>>So my question is.... Are any of you using the Dell Appliance? If so are
>>you happy with it?
>>Thanks in advance
>>Ed Gibson
>>University of Western Ontario
>>Network Operations

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