Realistic Testing of Server Load Balancers

October 13, 2009 by Ixia Blog Team

Realistic server load balancer testing is now critical, as load balancers have become a key network device. Lack of proper testing has unfortunately resulted in serious performance and security issues. One primary example would be the recent problems for Google's Gmail. Testing load balancers means hitting them with realistic and actual network scenarios, rather than the "ideal scenario", in order to assure their resiliency. BreakingPoint has published an updated Server Load Balancer Test Methodology and I took this opportunity to sit down with BreakingPoint CTO Dennis Cox to talk server load balancer testing.

You can download the BreakingPoint Server Load Balancer Test Methodology, which includes multiple test scenarios including:

  • Testing the number of TCP connections per second the load balancer is able to handle to provide a baseline test of the device’s performance capabilities.
  • Determining the overall bandwidth the load balancer can support through testing the number of HTTP/HTTPs connections per second the device can handle.
  • Emulating blended application traffic to validate the load balancer can handle a true network scenario.
  • Simulating dynamic pages and image files to validate HTTP Caching performance.
  • Confirming the load balancer can handle malformed packets or errors with the packet through application fuzzing.
  • And more...