Recently we had an issue with one of our hosting providers load balancing (LVS), which resulted in some very small outages. As a result we decided to setup our own load balancing that we had full control over, and could manage ourselves. In addition to choosing a better suited weighting algorithm.

Each webserver is setup using ucarp an implementation of Common Address Redundancy Protocol (CARP) allowing failover of a single Virtual IP (VIP) for high availability. We bound multiple VIPs for each host as we noticed some HTTP 1.0 clients incorrectly sending the host address to the server.

There are many ways you can then proxy the webservers and load balance, however we decided to use haproxy. This can also be acheived by pound, apache mod_proxy, mod_backhand etc.

In order to setup ucarp & haproxy:

apt-get install -y haproxy ucarp

Modify /etc/network/interfaces giving each interface a unique ucarp-vid and adjust ucarp-advskew for weighting on each server (increment by one for each server) and set ucarp-master to yes if it is to be the master. Modify the configuration below appropriately.

# The primary network interface
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
        address   10.10.10.2 # IP address of server
        netmask   255.255.255.255
        broadcast 10.10.10.10
        gateway   10.10.10.1
        ucarp-vid 3
        ucarp-vip 10.110.10.20 # VIP to listen to
        ucarp-password password
        ucarp-advskew 10
        ucarp-advbase 1
        ucarp-facility local1
        ucarp-master yes
iface eth0:ucarp inet static
        address 10.10.10.20# VIP to listen to
        netmask 255.255.255.255

To bring the interface up, simply run the following:

ifdown eth0; ifup etho0
ifdown eth0:ucarp; ifup eth0:ucarp

In order to configure haproxy:

sed -i -e ‘s/^ENABLED.*$/ENABLED=1/’ /etc/default/haproxy

Reconfigure apache to listen only on local interfaces (/etc/apache2/ports.conf):
So replace “Listen 80″ with
Listen 10.10.10.20:80
Listen 10.10.10.2:80

edit /etc/haproxy/haproxy.cfg

listen web 10.10.10.20:80
        mode http
        balance leastconn
        stats enable
        stats realm Statistics
        stats auth stats:password
        stats scope .
        stats uri /stats?stats
        #persist
        server web1 10.10.10.2:80 check inter 2000 fall 3
        server web2 10.10.10.3:80 check inter 2000 fall 3
        server web3 10.10.10.4:80 check inter 2000 fall 3
        server web4 10.10.10.5:80 check inter 2000 fall 3
        server web5 10.10.10.6:80 check inter 2000 fall 3

Then restart haproxy with /etc/init.d/haproxy restart

Carp & HA Load Balancing

After changing your DNS to point to 10.10.10.20 you will be able to see the traffic balanced between the servers by going to the URL http://10.10.10.20/stats?stats with the credentials assigned above and see the bytes balanced between the servers listed.

Some other alternatives are: