Network Load Balancing Technical Reference

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Network Load Balancing Technical Reference

Network Load Balancing is a network driver that distributes the load for networked client/server applications across multiple cluster servers. It is part of the Windows scale out functionality and is one of three Windows Clustering technologies. Server clusters, ideal for applications requiring stateful connections, and Component Load Balancing, ideal for stateless COM+ applications, are the other two technologies. Component Load Balancing is a feature of Microsoft Application Center 2000. It is not a feature of the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 family.

Network Load Balancing distributes client requests across a set of servers. It is particularly useful for ensuring that stateless applications, such as a Web server running Internet Information Services (IIS), can be scaled out by adding additional servers as the load increases. Network Load Balancing allows you to easily replace a malfunctioning server or add a new server, which provides scalability.

Network Load Balancing clusters provide scalability for services and applications based on Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Data Protocol (UDP) by combining up to 32 servers running the following operating systems into a single cluster:

  • Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition

  • Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition

  • Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition

  • Windows Server 2003, Web Edition

By using Network Load Balancing to build a group of identical, clustered computers, you can enhance the scalability of the following servers over your corporate local area network (LAN):

  • Web and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers

  • Proxy servers and firewall services, such as computers running Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server

  • Virtual private network (VPN) servers

  • Servers running Windows Media technologies player

  • Terminal servers

The sections in this subject include an overview of Network Load Balancing, an in-depth description of how it works, and information about tools and settings.

In this subject