This week’s Whiteboard Wednesday saw Jason, one of our hosting infrastructure experts, take marker to wall with an introduction to clusters: what they are, how they work, and why they may be right for you. Here’s our summary of what Jason’s 30-minute session revealed.
A cluster is an enterprise level hosting solution that provides the necessary infrastructure for high traffic sites that need flexibility. They manage this by spreading the hosting load across what are called nodes. This increases performance and improves concurrent user capacity.
How Does a Cluster Work?
As already covered, Cluster’s work by spreading incoming requests and hosting load across several different nodes. These nodes are also known as web application servers and they primarily store your website.
A load balancer is responsible for making sure that the nodes and their content are managed and served accurately and quickly. By using multiple nodes, server clusters are able to eliminate single points of failure and increase the availablity of a website beyond that of other single server hosting solutions.
In addition to nodes, clusters can also include a range of other add-ons and elements. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Additional Web Application servers
- Caching server
- Search server
- Staging server
How Does Load Balancing Work?
Think of load balancing like the line into your favorite venue. There are a lot of people wanting to get in but there isn’t enough capacity inside. The venue is your website.
Instead of trying to get as many people into the venue as possible – causing a cramped and less enjoyable experience – you start to split each of those lines up and send them to different parts of your venue (send them to different nodes).
If you still find the venue filling up, then it’s very easy to expand the size of your venue. This means that you’re not restricted by a set number of nodes and add-ons, and can keep expanding as much as you need to meet your capacity requirements.
Clusters are a great option for larger businesses with sites that need to meet high-volume traffic requirements and reliability standards. They are also flexible and capable of growing with your website and your business.
If you like the flexibility of Clustered hosting but don’t think you need such a large solution, why not explore the promise of our cloud solutions.
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