Keeping the Balance: Load Balancing Demystified

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - 11:00 am11:45 am

Murali Suriar, Google, and Laura Nolan


Can you explain the entire path that an IP packet takes from your users to your binary? What about a web request? Do you understand the tradeoffs that different kinds of load balancing techniques make? If not, this talk is for you.

Load balancing is hard, and it is made up of many disparate technologies. It cuts across network, transport and application layers. We'll describe different flavours of load balancing (network, naming, application) and how they work.

We will then discuss example use cases, and which load balancing approaches are most appropriate in each case. We'll also relate these to several design patterns for high-availability services that have developed over the years. Finally, we'll relate the techniques we've been discussing to well-known open source technologies and to the major cloud load balancing services.

Murali Suriar, Google

Murali Suriar is lapsed computer science graduate, turned network engineer, turned SRE. Currently working at Google running cluster filesystem and locking services. Left Google to get on a boat. Got bored and came back.

Laura Nolan, N/A

Laura Nolan’s background is in Site Reliability Engineering, software engineering, distributed systems and computer science. She wrote the 'Managing Critical State' chapter in the O'Reilly ‘Site Reliability Engineering’ book, and is co-chair of SREcon18 Europe/Middle East/Africa. Laura is currently enjoying a well-earned sabbatical (and tinkering with some of her own projects) after 15 years in industry, most recently at Google.

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Presentation Audio

@conference {221770,
author = {Murali Suriar and Laura Nolan},
title = {Keeping the Balance: Load Balancing Demystified},
year = {2018},
address = {Nashville, TN},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},