Distribute global traffic with ultra-low latency using Azure Load Balancer
Published Jul 10 2023 09:00 AM 14.8K Views

Today, we are so excited to announce the general availability of Azure cross-region Load Balancer in all Azure public and national cloud regions. Since the preview, this product has been used by so many of you, our customers, whose valuable feedback has helped further improve the product. Our Global tier of Azure Load Balancer is ready for you to use in your production workloads.  It is backed by the same 99.99% availability SLA.

Azure Load Balancer’s global tier is a cloud-native global network load balancing solution. With cross-region load balancer, you can distribute traffic across multiple Azure regions with ultra-low latency and high performance.



Key Features

Ultra-low Latency

Azure cross-region Load Balancer is optimized for ultra-low latency traffic distribution. This ultra-low latency is achieved through two mechanisms, geo-proximity routing and layer 4 distribution.

IP Controls

Each instance is given a static global anycast IP address that you own and control. With a static IP address, you don’t have to worry about your frontend IP changing. In addition, cross-region load balancer preserves the original IP of the packet. The original IP is available to the code running on the virtual machine. This preservation allows you to apply logic that is specific to an IP address.

Ability to scale up/down behind a single endpoint.

When you expose the global endpoint of a cross-region load balancer to your end-users, you can add or remove regional deployments behind the global endpoint without interruption. This also enables easy scaling for high traffic events.

High Availability

Under a single global anycast IP, you can add all your application’s regional load balancers to achieve high availability. If one region fails, traffic is automatically routed to the closest healthy regional load balancer to a user, with no intervention from you. With automatic health probes and failovers, you can achieve high availability and regional redundancy for your applications.

What’s New

Azure Load Balancer’s Global tier provides the following additional capabilities as part of the general availability release:

SLA backing

Azure cross-region Load Balancer is now backed by a 99.99% availability SLA just like the regional tier. This means that you can count on the SLA for your production workloads.

UDP support

During preview, UDP traffic was not supported via Global tier Azure Load Balancer. With this release, UDP traffic is supported for IPv4.

Floating IP

You can also set up floating IP at the cross-region load balancer level. With floating IP, you can reuse backend ports across multiple frontend IP addresses and rules. 

An example real world scenario

To better understand the use case of Azure’s cross-region Load Balancer, let’s explore an example customer scenario. In this scenario, we’ll learn about a customer, their use case, and how Azure Load Balancer came to the rescue.

Who is the customer?

In this scenario we will be learning about an example customer called Contoso. Contoso is a large utility company based out of North America. Contoso has over 6 million internet of things (IoT) devices spread across North America, Asia, and Europe. These IoT devices constantly send data back every hour to an application hosted on Azure. Contoso has deployed their applications into multiple Azure regions across all 3 continents, to support their low latency requirement. To support high availability at a regional level, Contoso places each instance of the application behind an Azure Load Balancer.

What are the issues with the customer’s current set-up?

By having the application deployed in multiple regions across the globe, Contoso’s IOT devices can send their data with low latency to the backend application. However, this set-up has led to a few issues that need to be dealt with as Contoso scales up their operation.

  • First, each deployment of Contoso’s application is deployed with an Azure Load Balancer, and each load balancer has its own public IP address. Contoso needs to ensure that each IOT device is sending its data to the correct IP address. IP management and overhead is becoming a growing concern for Contoso as they are looking to expand into additional Azure regions.
  • Second, in the off chance that an Azure region fails, then Contoso will need to manually failover all the affected IoT devices to the next available Azure region. Manually redirecting traffic isn’t a feasible solution for Contoso as they are looking to scale to over 10 million plus IoT devices in the next 4 years. They could add another product on top but do not want to incur the added complexity.

Given the concerns with their current set-up, Contoso is actively looking for a solution that provides a single IP address, multi-region support, and automatic fail-over in case a region is down.

How did Azure’s cross-region Load Balancer help?

Azure cross-region Load Balancer is a perfect solution to Contoso’s problems! With Azure cross-region Load Balancer, Contoso will get a single globally anycast IP address in which all the IoT devices can send their data. Contoso can add and remove backend regional load balancers with zero interruption to their operations. Also, cross-region load balancer provides automatic fail-over to the next available regional load balancer in the event that a regional load balancer is unhealthy. With this feature, Contoso no longer needs to manually fail-over impacted IoT devices during an incident, since high availability is achieved without any intervention required.

With all the benefits of Azure cross-region Load Balancer, the team at Contoso decided to integrate the product with their overall application. After running a small-scale test, Contoso rolled out Azure cross-region Load Balancer into full production and experienced the benefits immediately.

Learn More

Visit the Cross-region load balancer overview to learn more about Azure’s cross-region Load Balancer and how it can fit into your architecture. 

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‎Jul 11 2023 09:30 AM
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