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Load Balancing Guide for WCS DCAs

Introduction to Load Balancing

Load balancing is a technique used to distribute network or application traffic across multiple servers. This ensures no single server becomes overwhelmed, leading to improved performance, increased reliability, and high availability of services. Implementation of a mininum of two load balancers in your network architecture is always best practice to eliminate having any possible single points of failure. Load balancers can be implemented in hardware, software, or a combination of both.

    flowchart TD
    nt["Load Balancer / Reverse Proxy"] --> G["WCS DCA"] & A["WCS DCA"] & no["WCS DCA"]
    ne["Load Balancer / Reverse Proxy"] --> G & A & no

Note: The graph above illustrates proxying in front of your DCAs. Similar implementations can and should be carried out behind your DCAs in large deployments. Illustrations on these implementations can be found in the NFS and MySQL Management sections of the documentation.

Types of Load Balancers

1. Hardware Load Balancers

Hardware load balancers are physical devices dedicated to distributing traffic among servers. They are often used in large-scale environments due to their high performance and advanced features but can be costly.

2. Software Load Balancers

Software load balancers run on standard servers or virtual machines. They are more flexible and cost-effective than hardware load balancers and can be deployed in various environments, including on-premises and cloud.

3. Cloud Load Balancers

Cloud providers offer load balancing services as part of their infrastructure, providing seamless integration with other cloud services. Examples include AWS Elastic Load Balancer (ELB), Google Cloud Load Balancing, and Azure Load Balancer.

Load Balancing Algorithms

1. Round Robin

Distributes requests sequentially across all servers. Simple and effective for evenly distributed traffic.

2. Least Connections

Routes traffic to the server with the fewest active connections. Ideal for environments where connections vary significantly in duration.

3. Least Response Time

Directs traffic to the server with the lowest response time, ensuring the quickest handling of requests.

4. IP Hash

Uses the client’s IP address to determine which server will handle the request, ensuring consistent routing for clients.

5. Weighted Round Robin

Assigns weights to servers based on their capacity. Servers with higher weights receive more traffic.

6. Least Bandwidth

Routes traffic to the server currently serving the least amount of traffic measured in Mbps.

Setting Up Load Balancing

Step 1: Identify Your Requirements

  • Traffic Volume: Estimate the amount of traffic your application will receive.
  • Redundancy: Determine the level of redundancy and failover required.
  • Performance: Define performance metrics and goals.

Step 2: Choose a Load Balancer

  • Hardware vs. Software: Choose based on budget, scalability, and flexibility.
  • Cloud Integration: Consider cloud-based load balancers for cloud-native applications.

Step 3: Configure Your Load Balancer

  • Define Backend Servers: List the servers that will handle the traffic.
  • Select Load Balancing Algorithm: Choose the appropriate algorithm based on your traffic patterns.
  • Health Checks: Configure health checks to ensure only healthy servers receive traffic.

Step 4: Deploy and Test

  • Deployment: Implement the load balancer in your environment.
  • Testing: Conduct thorough testing to ensure proper distribution of traffic and failover functionality.

Step 5: Monitor and Optimize

  • Monitoring Tools: Use monitoring tools to track performance metrics and server health.
  • Optimization: Adjust configurations and algorithms based on performance data.

Best Practices

  1. Regularly Update and Patch: Ensure your load balancer software is up-to-date to protect against vulnerabilities.
  2. Implement Health Checks: Regular health checks can prevent routing traffic to unhealthy servers.
  3. Use Redundancy: Deploy multiple load balancers to avoid a single point of failure.
  4. Monitor Performance: Continuous monitoring helps identify and resolve bottlenecks.
  5. Optimize Configuration: Periodically review and optimize load balancing rules and algorithms.

Applying Load Balancing to WCS DCA


The White Cloud Security Dynamic Content Architecture (WCS DCA) benefits significantly from load balancing due to its need for high availability and performance. Load balancing can distribute traffic among multiple DCA servers, ensuring consistent access to security services and data.

Example Setup with Nginx

Step 1: Install Nginx

  1. Install Nginx on your load balancer server:
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install nginx

Step 2: Configure Nginx

  1. Edit the Nginx configuration file, typically found at /etc/nginx/nginx.conf:
    http {
        upstream wcs_dca {
        server {
            listen 80;
            listen 443 ssl;
            location / {
                proxy_pass http://wcs_dca;
                proxy_set_header Host $host;
                proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
                proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
                proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
    stream {
        upstream ssh_backend {
        server {
            listen 22;
            proxy_pass ssh_backend;

Step 3: Enable and Start Nginx

  1. Enable and start Nginx:
    sudo systemctl enable nginx
    sudo systemctl start nginx

Example Setup with HAProxy

Step 1: Install HAProxy

  1. Install HAProxy on your load balancer server:
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install haproxy

Step 2: Configure HAProxy

  1. Edit the HAProxy configuration file, typically found at /etc/haproxy/haproxy.cfg:
        log /dev/log    local0
        log /dev/log    local1 notice
        chroot /var/lib/haproxy
        stats socket /run/haproxy/admin.sock mode 660 level admin
        stats timeout 30s
        user haproxy
        group haproxy
        log     global
        mode    http
        option  httplog
        option  dontlognull
        timeout connect 5000
        timeout client  50000
        timeout server  50000
    frontend http_front
        bind *:80
        bind *:443 ssl crt /etc/haproxy/certs/
        default_backend http_back
    backend http_back
        balance roundrobin
        server dca1 check
        server dca2 check
        server dca3 check
    frontend ssh_front
        bind *:22
        default_backend ssh_back
    backend ssh_back
        balance roundrobin
        server dca1 check
        server dca2 check
        server dca3 check

Step 3: Enable and Start HAProxy

  1. Enable and start HAProxy:
    sudo systemctl enable haproxy
    sudo systemctl start haproxy

Example Setup with Caddy

Step 1: Install Caddy

  1. Install Caddy on your load balancer server:
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install -y debian-keyring debian-archive-keyring apt-transport-https
    curl -1sLf '' | sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/caddy-stable.asc
    curl -1sLf '' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/caddy-stable.list
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install caddy

Step 2: Configure Caddy

  1. Edit the Caddy configuration file, typically found at /etc/caddy/Caddyfile:
    http:// {
        reverse_proxy * {
    https:// {
        reverse_proxy * {
    :22 {
        reverse_proxy * {

Step 3: Enable and Start Caddy

  1. Enable and start Caddy:
    sudo systemctl enable caddy
    sudo systemctl start caddy

Setting Up Health Checks

Each load balancer configuration above includes basic health checks. Ensure that your WCS DCA servers return appropriate health check responses (e.g., HTTP 200 OK).

Monitoring and Optimization

  • Use Monitoring Tools: Implement monitoring tools like NetData and/or Prometheus and Grafana to track the performance of your load balancers and WCS DCA servers. WCS DCAs currently support NetData for not only health but security event exportation.
  • Adjust Load Balancer Configuration: Based on the monitoring data, adjust the load balancing algorithm, weights, and other configurations to optimize performance.