HAProxy Review

Provides High Availability Through VRRP And Configuration Synchronisation


What is most valuable?

Carers ACT operates a Skype for Business based call centre, which requires the use of a load balancer and reverse proxy for HTTP traffic for the front-end pools. HAProxy is able to fulfill both of these requirements.

In addition to these basic functions outlined above, Carers ACT also requires high availability and ease of configuration. HAProxy fulfills these additional requirements through providing high availability through VRRP and configuration synchronisation.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the core services that Carers ACT provides carers within the ACT region is both an advisory and respite support telephone service. Carers use this service to be connected to services, access both advice and support, as well as accessing respite services to assist them in their caring role. The Carers ACT Skype for Business implementation is being progressively re-architected to remove single points of failure, of which the load balancing role was one.

Carers ACT is also exploring innovative approaches to delivering services to carers who are unable to physically attend events, such as live streaming and providing online face to face contact. These new approaches are likely to be supported by the Carers ACT Skype for Business infrastructure. The implementation of the HAProxy load balancing solution will allow Carers ACT to begin to deliver these new services.

For how long have I used the solution?

Under a month.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No. Carers ACT deployed a pair of clustered ALOHA Load Balancers and were able to migrate from our existing load balancing solution in under a week.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No. The implementation that Carers ACT undertook is focused on reliability over scalability. The throughput required is low, but reliability requirements are high.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

From initial approach to the donation of licenses to Carers ACT was a short and a pleasant experience. HAProxy appear to have a solid customer service team who are able to escalate quickly and appropriately.

Technical Support:

Carers ACT did not require technical support during our deployment.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Yes. As a non-profit charitable organisation, Carers ACT aims to reduce costs where possible to enable finances to be redirected to services for clients as far as possible. A reduction in overhead allows for an increase in value for our clients.

Carers ACT was facing a significant renewal cost for our existing load balancer solution, and approached HAProxy who generously offered a donation of this product for our use.

How was the initial setup?

HAProxy is definitely a power-user tool. It is enormously scalable and flexible, but this can come at the cost of usability. For anything other than a simple topology, editing configuration files rather than using graphical tools will be required.

This, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing, but rather for the scenarios that HAProxy excels, an administrator should have intimate knowledge of their environment and have undertaken appropriate planning. The ability to have very low-level access to configuration within each load balancer allows for configuration and deployments that could be limited by GUI configuration tools.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

What was our ROI?

Instant due to the donation of licensing from HAProxy.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes. HAProxy was chosen as it met our needs and because of the generous donation of an HA license pair by the HAProxy team.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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