Desired features?

From: Brantley Hobbs (
Date: Mon Apr 08 2002 - 23:05:32 CEST


My shop is considering the use of Pen to replace the built-in load balancing software that comes with Windows server editions (WLBS/NLBS).

We would be running Pen on UNIX boxes (FreeBSD specifically), however we have a few questions that maybe someone could answer.

1. Can you gracefully drop a server from the cluster? WLBS has a function where you perform a "drainstop" command on a server. The server will continue to service the client IP's that were already associated with it (to maintain session states for web applications, etc.), but it will not get any new connections. In this way, you can gracefully remove the server from the cluster to perform maintenance, etc. Does Pen have the same functionality? (If you reissue the Pen command with new args, setting that server's max connections to 0, can you get the same functionality?)

2. Does Pen simply direct all the connections to one server until it's max connections have been reached, and then start directing traffic to the next one in the list? Or does it truly "load balance", trying to keep all servers evenly loaded?

3. What hardware/Pen-setup combination would be required to create a load balancing server that is capable of handling peak loads in excess of 500,000 hits per day? Has Pen been used in environments like this before? (This last question is to placate the PHB's when they ask why some open source software should be used instead of the free piece of junk that comes with Windows. "If it's free, it can't be worth that much!" You know the mentality. ;-)

Thanks in advance for the help,
Brantley Hobbs
Application Developer
ITOS - University Of Georgia

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