Jeff Gorman, Business Unit Director
For most organizations today, Internet connectivity is no longer a luxury or a secondary consideration to operational efficiency. Many businesses’ critical applications and functions require uninterrupted, scalable Internet connectivity. They also have specific performance requirements to allow them to carry out their functions in a manner that facilitates improved business processes. When organizations experience Internet outages, or even Internet performance or reliability issues, this dependency becomes readily apparent. The approach of increasing the amount of bandwidth (capacity) of the current Internet connection does not always mitigate the issue sufficiently. The approach of adding a secondary Internet connection to bring redundancy to the environment tends to either be viewed as excessively expensive, too complex, or lacking with respect to the ability to selectively determine how the multiple links should be used to best serve business needs. Luckily, there are solutions designed specifically to address these concerns.
The Barracuda Link Balancer combines active Internet link health checking and load balancing technology that provides an economical solution for organizations of all sizes to meet high bandwidth requirements while maintaining a high level of Internet reliability. It also provides transparent switching and fail-over across multiple Internet links based on active monitoring of link health, availability of resources, and customer defined policies. Link balancing allows organizations to maintain the highest bandwidth possible while eliminating concerns about link availability, link contention, and over-subscription. The increased reliability allows for a reduction in both IT overhead and productivity losses due to Internet downtime.
In order to provide maximum reliability, the Barracuda Link Balancer uses several techniques to check the health of Internet links. These techniques allow it to detect link issues due to physical failures or configuration errors so traffic can be immediately rerouted to minimize disruption in connectivity. The product also offers real-time monitoring and system alerts over the availability and throughput of each WAN link. Using the simple graphical interface, network administrators can gain insights into their network traffic and budget resources as necessary.
The Barracuda Link Balancer employs a variety of techniques to balance outbound traffic across available links. By analyzing traffic load and throughput, the it prevents congestion or link over-utilization. Moreover, the Barracuda Link Balancer enables organizations that maintain unused backup or passive Internet connections to actively employ their primary and backup Internet connections simultaneously to maximize throughput while intelligently managing resources.
The Barracuda Link Balancer also enables organizations to provide multiple inbound paths to reach their host machines from the Internet. This happens through fail-over and load balancing on inbound traffic. With certain design considerations, inbound traffic to host machines can be balanced across multiple links without the overhead of using specialized routers, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), or additional ISP support.
Beyond balancing traffic and monitoring the health of Internet links, the Barracuda Link Balancer can regulate bandwidth usage based on application type, client, or link. Moreover, administrators can customize bandwidth policies to ensure that a higher priority is given to mission-critical applications while lower priority is given to other traffic such as Web browsing. The Barracuda Link Balancer includes bandwidth shaping and Quality of Service control to assign specific links and bandwidth priorities to built-in or user defined applications.
As Internet connectivity becomes more critical with the ongoing proliferation of cloud based services and hosted application offerings, solutions like the Barracuda Link Balancer are worthy of consideration. If your organization is considering ways to improve Internet availability or performance and would like more information on the Barracuda Link Balancer, or other alternatives to increase Internet performance, contact your Keller Schroeder Sr. Account Manager and schedule a time to talk through your business needs with our team.