An Intro to Azure Load Balancers

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An Intro to Azure Load Balancers
Overview
Difficulty
Intermediate
Duration
1h 23m
Students
513
Ratings
4.7/5
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Description

This course will provide you with a foundational understanding of the different ways you can load balance traffic in Microsoft Azure. It includes guided walk-throughs from the Azure platform to give you a practical understanding of how to implement load balancing in your Azure environments.

We start by introducing the different types of load balancers, their components, and their use cases. You'll learn how to deploy a load balancer on Azure. Then we'll dive into Application Gateway and you'll learn about its features and components.
You'll also learn about Azure Front Door and how to create a Front Door instance.

We'll also take a look at Web Application Firewall, when it's used, and how to use it in conjunction with Application Gateway, Azure Front Door, and Azure CDN. Finally, you'll learn about Traffic Manager, how it works, and when to use it, as well as how to create a Traffic Manager profile.

Learning Objectives

  • Get a solid understanding of load balancing on Azure
  • Deploy a load balancer
  • Understand the features and components of Application Gateway and how to deploy it
  • Learn about Azure Front Door and how to create a Front Door instance
  • Learn about Web Application Firewall and how to deploy it on Application Gateway
  • Learn how to use Traffic Manager and how to create a Traffic Manager profile

Intended Audience

This course is intended for those who wish to learn about the different ways of performing load balancing in Azure.

Prerequisites

To get the most out of this course, you should have a basic understanding of the Azure platform.

Transcript

Hello and welcome to Azure load balancers! In this brief lecture, you will learn what Azure load balancers are and why they are used.

In the context of networking, the term “load balancing” refers to the process of distributing incoming network traffic across multiple backend resources. Such backend resources are typically virtual machines that are deployed in a “backend pool” but can also be instances in a virtual machine scale set.

The Azure Load Balancer operates at the Transport Layer, which is layer 4 of the OSI model. When you place a load balancer in front of an application running on VMs or on a scale set, the load balancer serves as the single point of access for that application. As users hit the load balancer to access the application, the load balancer balances that incoming traffic across however many backend VMs or resources you’ve deployed in the backend pool.

Azure load balancers come in two varieties. There are public load balancers and internal load balancers, which are also known as private load balancers.

A public load balancer is used when you need to load balance incoming internet traffic to your virtual machines. This type of load balancer requires you to assign a public IP address to the frontend of the load balancer. It’s also important to note that public load balancers can provide outbound connections to the internet for VMs that are located inside your Azure virtual network. To make this happen, what public load balancers do is translate the private IP addresses of the virtual machines to public IPs. This allows them to communicate externally even though the VMs themselves have no public IP addresses.

Internal load balancers can be used in situations where only private IP addresses are required on the frontend. This means that internal load balancers are limited to use cases where you only need to load balance traffic within your Azure virtual network, or from an on-prem network that has been connected to your virtual network through a VPN or ExpressRoute connection.

The image on your screen depicts a typical use case for both internal and public load balancers.

When you deploy a load balancer, you’ll have a choice of two SKUs: Basic and Standard. The standard load balancer can support any scenario that a basic load balancer can support – and then some.

For example, while the basic load balancer can support up to 300 instances, the standard load balancer can support up to 1000 instances. Another benefit of the standard load balancer over the basic load balancer is the support for availability zones. While the standard load balancer supports zone-redundant and zonal frontends for inbound and outbound traffic, basic load balancers do not offer any support at all for availability zones.

The table on your screen shows the key differences between Basic and Standard load balancers.

So, why would you ever use a load balancer? Well, there are many use cases for load balancers, both public and internal. The most common use case for a load balancer is when you wish to increase availability of your application by distributing it across multiple VMs and across multiple zones. You might also want to deploy a load balancer if you wish to provide outbound connectivity for your VMs without assigning them their own public IP addresses.

As far as security goes, while the basic load balancer is open to the internet by default, the standard load balancer is built upon the zero-trust model. This means that the standard load balancer is inherently secure. As a matter of fact, the standard load balancer is part of your virtual network.  Unless you explicitly allow inbound traffic via a network security group, traffic is not allowed.

Because of the built-in security and better features Microsoft recommends using standard load balancers over basic load balancers whenever possible.

 

About the Author
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Thomas Mitchell
Instructor
Students
33256
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Tom is a 25+ year veteran of the IT industry, having worked in environments as large as 40k seats and as small as 50 seats. Throughout the course of a long an interesting career, he has built an in-depth skillset that spans numerous IT disciplines. Tom has designed and architected small, large, and global IT solutions.

In addition to the Cloud Platform and Infrastructure MCSE certification, Tom also carries several other Microsoft certifications. His ability to see things from a strategic perspective allows Tom to architect solutions that closely align with business needs.

In his spare time, Tom enjoys camping, fishing, and playing poker.