NLB Basics

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 with SP1

Q. What is Network Load Balancing?

A. Network Load Balancing is a clustering technology offered by Microsoft as part of all Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 family operating systems. NLB uses a distributed algorithm to load balance network traffic across a number of hosts, helping to enhance the scalability and availability of mission critical, IP-based services, such as Web, Virtual Private Networking, Streaming Media, Terminal Services, Proxy, etc. It also provides high availability by detecting host failures and automatically redistributing traffic to operational hosts.

Q. What is a Cluster?

A. A cluster is a group of independent computers that work together to run a common set of applications and provide the image of a single system to the client and application. The computers are physically connected by cables and programmatically connected by cluster software. These connections allow computers to use problem-solving features such as failover in Server clusters and load balancing in Network Load Balancing (NLB) clusters.