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CHAPTER 1: Introduction > Load Balancing, Finally

Load Balancing, Finally

Yes, you’re on page four and we haven’t as yet really talked about load balancing, which might seem somewhat odd considering that’s what this book is all about. But fear not, we’re getting into the juicy stuff now! And you’re also going to look at caching, which (honestly) goes hand in hand with load balancing and can give you an insanely big performance boost!

But first, back to load balancing. As mentioned, the biggest challenge in load balancing is trying to make many resources appear as one. Specifically, how do you make three servers look and feel like a single web site to your customer?

What Makes the Web Tick?

The first stop in this journey is to look at how the Web holds together. When you click the Go button on your browser, what happens under the covers? This book will go into quite a bit of detail, even looking briefly at the TCP (Transmission Control Protocol, the protocol that powers the web) layer. It has been our experience that while someone might be able to produce the most awe-inspiring web applications, they’re not necessarily very clued up on the lower level things that make it all possible. In reality this isn’t an issue because, by design, you don’t need to know the innards of the Internet in order to write kickass software. However, if you want to make your software scream past the competition at high speed, you need a much better appreciation of how it all hangs together.


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