An Overview of Load Balancing Techniques for Database Servers

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Written By Naomi Porter

Naomi Porter is a dedicated writer with a passion for technology and a knack for unraveling complex concepts. With a keen interest in data scaling and its impact on personal and professional growth.

Scaling your data, empowering your growth.


As businesses grow, so does the volume of data generated, and it becomes increasingly important to handle the data efficiently. One solution to this problem is load balancing, which involves distributing incoming network traffic and workload to multiple backend servers. Load balancing ensures that computing resources are utilized optimally, throughput is maximized, and downtime is minimized.

This article provides an overview of load balancing techniques used for database servers. You will learn about:

  • Software and hardware-based load balancing solutions
  • Database replication methods
  • Load balancing techniques for server farms
  • Factors to consider when choosing a load balancer

Load Balancing Techniques for Database Servers

Database servers require load balancing solutions that can distribute the workload across backend servers in the most efficient way possible. Here are some of the load balancing techniques for database servers:

Software-based Load Balancing

Software-based load balancing solutions use software algorithms to distribute workload across multiple backend servers. The most common algorithms include:

  • Round-robin: Distributes traffic evenly across all available servers.
  • Weighted round-robin: Assigns different weights to each backend server, effectively giving greater weight to more powerful servers.
  • Least connection: Sends new traffic to the backend server with the least number of connections.

Hardware-based Load Balancing

Hardware-based load balancing solutions use specialized hardware to perform load balancing. This involves creating a server pool of backend servers and distributing incoming traffic across them. The load balancer mediates the connection between the client and the backend server by acting as a proxy. The advantages of using a hardware solution over a software-based one include:

  • Better performance
  • Onboard SSL acceleration
  • Session persistence
  • Health check and failover

Regardless of the type of load balancing solution used, its ultimate goal is to ensure that computationally intensive tasks like database operations are carried out efficiently and effectively.

In the next section, we’ll discuss database replication methods.##Database Replication Methods

Database replication involves copying data from one database to other databases. The purpose of replication is to ensure that data is available in multiple locations, which helps to improve availability and reliability. Here are some common database replication methods:

Asynchronous Replication

With asynchronous replication, the primary database continues to process queries even if the secondary database fails. The primary database writes data to its transaction log, which is then transferred to the secondary. As a result, there may be some time lag between the time the data is written to the primary and the secondary database. Asynchronous replication is best suited for large databases and environments where replication delay is acceptable.

Synchronous Replication

With synchronous replication, the primary database halts processing until all data has been written to the secondary database. This ensures that the primary and secondary databases have the same data at all times. Synchronous replication is best suited for environments where high availability and minimal data loss are critical.

Semi-sync Replication

Semi-sync replication combines features of both asynchronous and synchronous replication. This ensures that updates are written to the secondary database immediately after they are applied to the primary database. As a result, there is little or no lag time between replication, and it provides better protection against data loss.

Load Balancing Techniques for Server Farms

Load balancing techniques for server farms involve distributing client traffic across multiple servers to optimize performance, reduce downtime, and improve scalability. Here are some of the load balancing methods used for server farms:

Round Robin

Round Robin is a simple yet effective load balancing method that distributes client traffic evenly across all available servers.

Weighted Round Robin

Weighted Round Robin assigns different weights to each server to more effectively distribute client traffic.

Least Connection

Least Connection sends incoming requests to the server with the least number of active connections, helping distribute traffic more efficiently across servers.

Weighted Least Connection

Weighted Least Connection assigns different weights to each server based on their computing resources and workload, ensuring that traffic is distributed fairly among servers with varying capabilities.


Resource-based load balancing jobs distribute clients across servers based on the amount of server resources available.

Fixed Weighting

Fixed Weighting involves assigning one server a higher priority for handling requests than other servers.

Weighted Response Time

Weighted Response Time assigns weights to servers based on their response time, ensuring that the server with the fastest response time receives the highest traffic.

Source IP Hash

Source IP Hash distributes client traffic across a server group based on their source address.

Url Hash

Url Hash distributes client traffic based on a pre-defined URL hash, ensuring that identical requests are sent to the same server.

The choice of which method to use depends on your specific requirements. However, each method provides a way to distribute traffic effectively across multiple servers, optimizing performance and improving reliability.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Load Balancer

Before deciding on a load balancer, there are several factors to consider. These factors include:

Total Cost of Ownership

Consider the total cost of owning the load balancer, including licensing, maintenance, upgrades, and support costs.

Centralized Management

Look for a load balancer that offers centralized management, which simplifies administration and reduces errors.


Choose a load balancer that can scale with your business, ensuring that it can handle increased traffic volumes.


Ensure that the load balancer provides security features to protect your network infrastructure from cyber threats.

Insights and Monitoring

Choose a load balancer that provides detailed insights into traffic patterns and usage, and offers monitoring tools to help detect and diagnose problems.


Look for a load balancer that offers reporting tools that can help you track usage, troubleshoot issues, and optimize your web applications.


Choose a load balancer that provides automation features to save time and reduce administration.

Support and Training

Ensure that the load balancer vendor provides adequate training and support to ensure that you can deploy and manage the load balancer effectively.

Popular load balancing products include HAProxy, ScaleArc, MariaDB MaxScale, Huawei Cloud Elastic Load Balancer, and Hitachi Tiered Storage Manager. Pricing for load balancing varies, but organizations should expect to pay at least $1,500 per year.


Load balancing is an essential technique for improving efficiency and reducing downtime in database servers. The choice of load balancing technique depends on the needs of the user, their budget, and the required features. A good load balancer should provide centralized management, scalability, security, insights, monitoring, reporting, automation, support, and training.

Through lode balancing, businesses can ensure that their web applications and databases can handle growing volumes of data and increasing demands without compromising performance or reliability. With a load balancer in place, businesses can empower their growth and scale their data to meet the demands of the growing digital landscape.