6 Top Load Balancing Metrics you Need to Keep an Eye On

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Introduction

Cloud computing is one of the latest technological advancements in computing. With cloud computing, users can access information technology services at any time from any location. The flexibility and ease of functioning it offers have led to various organizations shifting to the cloud. With cost-effective execution of tasks and the right resource utilization, using cloud computing systems has led to improved performance and resource utilization. 

All the assets concerning your business’ internal employees, potential clients visiting your website, texts, downloads, application data, images, and videos are stored in cloud service for easy access. Users across the world access websites simultaneously and it is incumbent that their requests are correctly, quickly, and reliably met. Any hindrance in this process will result in the loosing of confidence in your business processes, the decline in traffic and revenue.

Overloading/underloading in virtual machines is the most common challenge in the field of cloud computing. Load balancing in the cloud aids in avoiding this. A load balancer is a hardware or software that directs client requests to the appropriate host. Processed requests are routed through the load balancers and returned to the client. It ushers in parallel and distributed cloud environments. Load balancers distribute incoming network traffic that takes the burden off of a single server. This ensures faster and more reliable response times. 

The reliability and efficiency of the cloud infrastructure can be measured by monitoring load balancers. Monitoring load balancers help in providing a better user experience. Here are some top metrics that can be monitored to determine the efficiency of your load balancer.

1. Request counts

Request counts denote the sum of all requests that come in from all your load balancers or the number of requests that can be handled per minute/second by your load balancer. The incoming requests need to be handled in the same efficient manner regardless of whether the incoming request load can be hardware, software, or resource constraints.

This metric can also be used to correlate the total sum of all the requests with the number and type of users your services support within its range. This will indicate the issues with routing or network connections. Requests per minute/second indicate how well and fast the load is balanced.

2. Active connection or active flow count

The active connection or active flow count metric is closely linked to the request count metric. It indicates the active connections between the clients and the target servers. This information helps in checking that the right level of scaling is in place and that work is appropriately spread across the network. The smooth running of outbound and inbound flows can also be monitored using this metric.

3. Error rates

The uninterrupted and flawless performance of your service can be monitored with this metric. Based on your requirements, you can set the tracking of error rates over a specific period or based on a per-load-balancer level. Configuration errors can be identified with tracking of error rates in the requests returned to clients. Communication errors between the server and the balancers can be noticed by monitoring back-end error rates. In simple, error rates is an indicator of how well your cloud service and the load balancer are running.

4. Latency

Latency refers to the amount of time that it takes for a request to be processed by your server. It specifically denotes the time taken from when a request leaves the load balancer till it returns. The lower the time is taken, the better it is, especially when many users are reaching your website. High latency denotes slow response times or even timeouts. Using SSL encryption in your load balancer will increase the time taken due to the additional processing overhead in SSL.

Although there is no particular value for latency, as it is only an indicator of your service and the problems that your service intends to solve, it is ideal to have a latency rate close to zero. However, if your services demand more time to process a request, then that specific time should be the latency target.

It is important to keep track of latency as it directly reflects user experience. High latency rates will result in frustrated users, loss of productivity, and push users to opt for services other than yours.

5. Number of healthy/unhealthy hosts

The risk for service outrages can be identified and prevented by monitoring the number of healthy, active hosts per load balancer. System health checks can reveal the limit of the number of unhealthy hosts. This metric can help in setting alerts to maintain and troubleshoot such issues even before the users notice the unavailability or latency of the servers.

6. Rejected or failed connection count

Users trying to reach your website might be rejected or turned away due to various reasons. This can happen when your system reaches its capacity of user requests or if there are insufficient healthy load balancers. Monitoring the number of failed or rejected connections can reveal if the right level of scale is present or if abnormal activity on your network should be probed into. It also sheds light on the various reasons due to which users were rejected and can be insightful.

Going to the next level with your load balancer monitoring and metrics

Load balancers are pivotal to the smooth functioning of cloud systems, the handling of traffic routing, and their distribution across multiple servers. Load Balancers directly influence the performance of your services, making it crucial to keep an open eye for certain metrics that ensure the smooth running of your website. 

The metrics to monitor the performance of load balancers determine the user experience and aid in functioning cost-efficiently. Metrics are a convenient and sure place to start monitoring load balancers. With more experience with your website and a better understanding of your traffic patterns based on your clientele, you will have to refocus on the metrics you might choose initially.

Thus, it is extremely important to pick the right metric weighing like the service you provide, your requirements, and customer expectations. This will ensure that you have the right set of information to make apt decisions regarding the functioning of your cloud infrastructure, which will improve the customer experience.


Srushti Vachhrajani is an ambitious, passionate and out of the box thinking woman having vast exposure in Digital Marketing. Her key focus is to serve her clients with the latest innovation in her field leading to fast and effective results. Working beyond expectations and delivering the best possible results is her professional motto. Other than work, she loves traveling, exploring new things and spending quality time with family.

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