When we first started helping clients launch their web applications on AWS in 2008, Amazon hadn't yet launched their Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) service, so we developed our own load balancing stack using open source software (Nginx + HaProxy).
It was exciting to see Amazon launch a ready to use service in 2009 - we generally advised our clients to use ELB where it met their needs, but in some cases it didn't offer the features required.
At the time of initial launch, ELB had some limitations (as would be expected with a brand new offering) with respect to load balancing algorithm options, sticky sessions, URL parsing, virtual hosts, SSL/TLS connections, and multiple backend pools.
Amazon has since solved many of those issues, but a good number of use cases still exist that require a more advanced load balancing solution (which we provide to some of our clients). However ELB remains a great solution for many use cases, as it integrates terrifically with auto scaling groups and saves our clients a great deal of work at a price that's a fraction of traditional load balancing solutions.
With that all said, we're super excited to see Amazon launch a new generation of load balancers, the Application Load Balancer (ALB). With this launch Amazon finally adds support for URL parsing and multiple backend pools. Many of our clients are particularly excited for WebSocket and HTTP/2 support.
We're still evaluating ALB for use in container-centric environment, as we're still recommending open source solutions (e.g., haproxy and Traefik), but Amazon has designed ALB to support these work loads, and we expect that it will fit many of our clients’ needs.
Anybody running web applications on AWS would benefit from exploring Amazon’s ALB as a potential load balancing solution - you can learn more from the official announcement, or feel free to reach out as we’d love to help guide you along the way.
Load balancing is just one of the tools available on AWS that facilitates scaling applications to the largest of sizes. Brandorr Group is an Advanced AWS Consulting Partner with decades of experience architecting and scaling applications, please contact us today about your scaling needs.
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Brandorr Group LLC is a one-stop cloud computing solution provider, helping companies manage growth and ship new projects using cloud and scalability best practices.