A Radware Alteon load balancer is a hardware device that acts as a reverse proxy and distributes network or application traffic across a number of servers. Load balancers are used to increase capacity (high-availability) and reliability of application. Load balancers ensure reliability and availability by monitoring the health of applications, and only sending requests to servers and applications that can respond in a timely manner. They improve the overall performance of applications by maintaining application and network sessions, as well as by performing application-specific tasks.
Load balancers are generally grouped into two categories: layer 4 and layer 7. Layer 4 load balancers act on data found in the network and transport layer protocols like TCP/IP, FTP, and UDP. Layer7 load balancers distribute requests based on data found in application layer protocols like HTTPS, HTTP.
Requests are received by both types of load balancers and they are distributed to a particular server based on a configuration algorithm.