Not All Software Load Balancers Are Created Equal


According to findings by InformationWeek and Interop ITX, 50% of organizations have implemented DevOps methodologies or plan to implement them soon. But DevOps methodologies require solutions that deliver the agility and flexibility required to rapidly achieve scale and high feature velocity.

In a recent blog, NGINX CEO Gus Robertson described how load balancers are a critical component in DevOps tooling, but only if they’re the right kind: hardware‑based load balancers are in fact roadblocks to agile development. A software approach is mandatory.

But not all software‑based load balancers are created equal. Broadly speaking, there are two varieties:

Most software appliances began as integrated hardware devices, with proprietary (single‑purpose, closed) hardware, operating system, and user interface. When vendors created software versions of their load balancers, they adapted the operating system and software to run on a hypervisor (or cloud) that provided a standard, virtualized hardware instance.

On the other hand, software‑first load balancers such as NGINX are portable, lightweight applications able to run on a wide range of general‑purpose operating systems.

Why Is a True Software Load Balancer Better?

Does a true software load balancer have advantages over a software appliance? We at NGINX believe so. Let’s explore four dimensions where these two approaches differ:

The limitations built into software appliances mean they cover only a small subset of the architectures used in enterprise application delivery environments. A true software load balancer encompasses all of them:


A true software load balancer is well suited for the broadest range of compute infrastructure and breadth of application types. Software appliances are limited to a traditional IT infrastructure environment supporting legacy applications. As you modernize your infrastructure and applications, true software load balancers are key to achieving your DevOps objectives. At the same time, they work well across the full breadth of your legacy compute infrastructure and existing set of applications; thus they’re the only choice that actually simplifies your architecture.

Are your software appliances keeping you from achieving your DevOps objectives? Are you finding that you even have to deploy true software load balancers to supplement your appliances? Or have you invested in true software load balancers? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. In the meantime, get started with a free 30‑day trial of NGINX Plus and enjoy the advantages of a true software‑based load balancer.

Retrieved by Nick Shadrin from website.