The state of load balancing in 2021 and beyond

Chris Knight
4 min readMar 15, 2021

Whether servers are on-premises or in the cloud, the need to balance the ever-growing workloads that target them requires careful management. Enter the load balancer, one of the unsung heroes of the cloud revolution and a booming IT market that plays a key role in keeping firms operational.

Load balancers are a key part of any digital business

The endless juggling by high-growth firms and enterprises needing to meet the demand from users for finite IT resources continues to play a significant part in any IT planning and spending considerations.

The latest market statistics from Allied Market Research highlight that the load balancer market is expected to reach $8.90 billion by 2027, representing a compound annual growth rate of 12.9% from 2020 to 2027. The report highlights that:

  • The outbreak of COVID-19 made most industries incorporate digital infrastructure. This, in turn, has fast-tracked the process of digital transformation, thereby boosting the global load balancer market to a significant extent.
  • Service providers have also embraced remote working to carry on with their services. This has helped load balancer providers to remain constant in terms of revenue.

The rise of load balancing and ADCs

Load balancers (and their grander cousins, Application Delivery Controllers [ADCs]) improve application availability and response by distributing your users’ requests and the subsequent network or application traffic across your servers. Load balancers sit between business applications and your users. Initially, they simply routed traffic between servers but quickly became more complex, routing responses and supporting more services, like SSL, content caching and intelligent traffic management. Recent innovations include security capabilities such as pre-authentication and application firewalls.

As more services become automated, like the Internet of Things devices reporting in, RPA processes operating at scale, that volume of requests increases, pushing services to their limits. While traditional load balancers and ADCs were complex beasts requiring close IT scrutiny to install and manage, the new generation of tools like those from EdgeNexus offers ease of use while providing advanced features for busy teams who don’t have the time for complexity.

Load balancers provide the ability to scale, report stresses across servers and systems, and support the growing number of object-based workloads in an automated fashion. Supporting multiple on-premises or cloud locations, load balancers can help mitigate service or hardware failures, and manage traffic across local or global businesses.

As growing numbers of deployments are virtualised or delivered in the cloud, they are deployed by application-led teams who often lack specific ADC knowledge. To them, an ADC is just part of their application stack to manage. New ADC solutions are intuitive and easy to use, making them more accessible.

For infrastructure and operations leaders, the good news is that as more network services move from hardware to software through virtualization and as-a-service delivery, it is easier to improve the quality or bandwidth of a firewall, VPN, load balancer or another asset without great cost.

Buyers need to consider their current and future traffic demands. Consideration of routes and zones between servers ánd services will also help decide on the features that a load balancer should offer.

Cloud vs on-premises and the rise of digital business

In an increasingly cloud-focused digital business environment, load balancers make the jump between on-premises hardware and cloud-server workloads with ease. As a company shares the workload between local servers or cloud, or moves wholesale to SaaS, PaaS or IaaS workloads, services provided by load balancers are ADCs are still an essential part of It and services planning.

This is especially true in situations with hybrid clouds, where a mix of data between cloud and data center creates a higher level of operational risk. Load balancers provide strong product value for buyers and impact multiple parts of business operations, providing reliance and assurance for workloads and users.

Where are load balancers and ADCs headed next?

Load balancers will follow the workloads that businesses and enterprises set out as part of digital business growth and cloud plans. When it comes to delivering stability and performance, reducing downtime and providing IT with flexibility, their value to the business and return on investment puts them high on the shopping list for IT buyers.

As load balancers become smarter, classed as ADCs, they deliver powerful services with cutting-edge features that reduce the owner’s workload and ensure that users are at their most efficient. With vendors like Edgenexus, the era of the Application Delivery Platform (ADP) is here and will improve digital efficiency and reliability.

As workloads change and become more elastic, expect the load balancer to become an increasingly visible part of the IT infrastructure, even as the benefits it provides become an accepted, almost invisible benefit to the business. End-users will expect the benefits provided by ADC and load balancers, but they will only be at their most visible when there are serious issues that might impact the business in other ways, even as the load balancer maintains services.

As IT and DevOps teams aim for the best-effort approach to maintaining their services, infrastructure and service managers will be relying on load balancers to maintain services just as they do on security apps to protect the business from other threats.

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Chris Knight

Tech writer interested in mobile, digital business, automation, IT, smart homes and gadgets - anything with a GHz pulse.