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Old 05-29-2005, 12:06 AM   #1
jzimmerlin
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Load Balanced Web Servers


Let me apologize in advance, I'm a newbie to Linux. I have a few questions and I'd appreciate any guidance.

First, I have four Dell PCs on the way (350mhz). I'd like to use the four to load balance a home web server. Can this be done with Red Hat 9?

Also, I'd like to make sure all of the servers have identical content. Is there a package that will automatically copy files from a Windows PC to each of the Linux or Redhat servers?

Also, I'd like to set up the servers to operate so that if one goes down it doesn't effect the overall product of what the browser sees.

I kind of don't know where to start. So, any help is appreciated.
 
Old 05-29-2005, 12:34 AM   #2
btmiller
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Why don't you use something more modern than RH9? It's ancient and out of support. I'd suggest CentOS if you'd like to stay on the RedHat route.

Anyhow, yes you can do load balancing. You can buy a hardware load balancer or if you don't want to do that, I think there's an iptables module that you could put on the network gateway that could do that. Depending on what your router setup is, simple round robin DNS could also work (you give your site name 4 different IPs so each should resolve about 1/4 of the time -- of course this nixes your reliability requirement, since if one of the 4 goes down it will still be resolved to). My advice: buy a hardware load balancer or use a combination of iptables/remote monitoring scripts on your gateway to route traffic.

Also, you can look into rsync for keeping files synchronized or devote one box to being an NFS server and have the other machines just mount its drives.
 
Old 05-29-2005, 06:54 AM   #3
runlevel0
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Re: Load Balanced Web Servers

Quote:
Originally posted by jzimmerlin
Let me apologize in advance, I'm a newbie to Linux. I have a few questions and I'd appreciate any guidance.
First, I have four Dell PCs on the way (350mhz). I'd like to use the four to load balance a home web server. Can this be done with Red Hat 9?
Also, I'd like to make sure all of the servers have identical content. Is there a package that will automatically copy files from a Windows PC to each of the Linux or Redhat servers?
Also, I'd like to set up the servers to operate so that if one goes down it doesn't effect the overall product of what the browser sees.
I kind of don't know where to start. So, any help is appreciated.
You can do load balancing using the IP Virtual Server.
This can should be enabled in the kernel (Device Drivers > Networking Support > Networking Options > IP virtual Server)
Info about this linuxvirutalserver.org.

What it does is making a network appear as a single machine for outbound connections. I don't know what kind of load balancing algorithms it uses.


Another approach would be creating a mosix-cluster with your 4 machines. This can be done using OpenMosix which is a quite stable and proven software which migrates loads among the processors on your network: [url=http://openmosix.sourceforge.net/]OpenOmosix.org[URL].

The pros and cons:

* IP VS:
PRO: You only need one machine acting as load balancer, this machine can also be running a server. This means that you only have to alter one kernel, no 'client' software or he like is needed on the rest.
CONS: This has less documentation as Omo6. It's a great unknown for me.

* Omo6
PRO: All your machines will act as one, software is proven and there is a real big community around. Moshe Bar is a quite friendly guy and he explains stuff himself when asked in the Omo6 mailing list (very active, be careful or you will get your hardisks stuffed with messages). You will have a more extended control over some aspects of the cluster.
CONS: You need a special Omo6 kernel on each machine and also some extra software to monitor and work with your cluster. Not every filesystem can be used with Omo6, so you are stuck with EXT3 and JFS (ask in the mailing list, perhaps this has changed since I last visited it).

Hope this helps. A
 
Old 05-29-2005, 01:30 PM   #4
jzimmerlin
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Thanks for all of the good advice. What do you think the best distribution would be for a low power group of servers that use the IP tables method of load balancing? I'm looking for something that would be popular enough so that it has a lot of packages availalbe, but efficient enough to run on 350mhz machines.

Thanks again.
 
Old 05-29-2005, 04:21 PM   #5
runlevel0
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Quote:
Originally posted by jzimmerlin
Thanks for all of the good advice. What do you think the best distribution would be for a low power group of servers that use the IP tables method of load balancing? I'm looking for something that would be popular enough so that it has a lot of packages availalbe, but efficient enough to run on 350mhz machines.
Thanks again.
If you aren't allergic to a console installation I would say Gentoo : it has tons of available packages (it's based on sources so almost any package which exists is there) , you have a minute control of anything you install and after installation the system is very easy to maintain. Gentoo gives it's best in a network and you can use distcc to compile and if you use the same architecture on all machines you can simply use the same binaries for all machines, so that you only have to compile once.
 
Old 05-29-2005, 06:56 PM   #6
jzimmerlin
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I've read a lot from http://www.linuxvirtualserver.org/. It seems complicated. Would it be more practical to use a network gateway and ip tables to distribute the load? Would the network gateway be able to detect if a server went down? Thanks again in advance for the advice.
 
  


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