Easy Scalability and Reliability

We get to implement a lot of great technology at Applied Innovations that helps our customers drive their bottom line and increase revenues.  One such example that’s been a favorite of mine is the Application Request Routing (ARR) module for IIS 7.  In short, ARR is a high quality, cost effective load balancing solution that helps customers quickly scale out their website while increasing site availability and performance.  Let’s take a closer look!

Prior to ARR, Windows hosting users had few alternatives to address site scalability and reliability issues.  Common examples were:

  • DNS (round robin) requests
    • Easy to implement, but does not address reliability concerns
  • Windows Network Load Balancing (NLB)
    • Limited control and functionality and doesn’t fully address reliability concerns
  • Dedicated load balancing appliance
    • Cost prohibitive for most customers

Built on top of IIS 7, ARR provides a feature rich and robust environment including support for caching, compression, web service (application) health monitoring and SSL offloading. ARR is quick to setup (typically minutes) and can be deployed using either a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server.  Further, ARR can be combined with NLB to provide a truly fault tolerant and highly available solution.

How can ARR work for you?

Let’s say you’ve got a big promotion, sale or seasonal event coming up (hint hint). You want to make sure your site is online and available for all your customers.  It’s easy to do with ARR!

A typical ARR implementation:

ARR

ARR is placed in front of two or more application (WEB) servers.  These servers can be comprised of any mix of shared, VPS or dedicated hosting.  VPS’s are very popular because they utilize our highly available and clustered Hyper-V Powered VPS Hosting.  These are a perfect fit for web and application servers like ARR that need to be able to quickly scale up or out.

ARR offers different load balancing algorithms to distribute traffic such as round-robin, total traffic and least server response time along with custom distribution options. Once deployed, ARR monitors the health of the servers within it’s web farm.  Should the web service fail or degrade, ARR stops sending traffic to that server until the issue has been resolved.  This health checking functionality, previously only available on high end dedicated load balancing appliances, overcomes the limitations and drawbacks of other methods like DNS round-robin and NLB.

Additionally, ARR provides content caching, compression and SSL offloading.  This means commonly accessed web pages (dynamic or static) are served from cache by the ARR server and the web servers providing a significant performance boost! To further augment performance, all SSL requests can also be handled by the ARR server.

Customers have been using ARR with great success!

They love the flexibility, reliability, cost and most importantly the increased revenues they typically see since their site is available for their customers.  Because ARR is built on top of IIS 7 it requires no additional licenses or fees and is very easy to manage.  Once setup, typical interaction with ARR is minimal. Be sure to check out this story.

If you’d like to discuss your needs and how we can help you scale your website, please contact us any time!

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