When multiple web servers are present in a server group, the HTTP traffic needs to be evenly distributed among the servers. In the process, these servers must appear as one web server to the web client, for example an internet browser. The load balancing mechanism used for spreading HTTP requests is known as IP Spraying. The equipment used for IP spraying is also called the ‘load dispatcher’ or ‘network dispatcher’ or simply, the ‘load balancer’. In this case, the IP sprayer intercepts each HTTP request, and redirects them to a server in the server cluster. Depending on the type of sprayer involved, the architecture can provide scalability, load balancing and fail-over requirements.
HAProxy is a free, very fast and reliable solution offering high availability, load balancing, and proxying for TCP and HTTP-based applications. It is particularly suited for very high traffic web sites and powers quite a number of the world’s most visited ones. Over the years it has become the de-facto standard opensource load balancer, is now shipped with most mainstream Linux distributions, and is often deployed by default in cloud platforms.