As explained in the knowledge base of VMware, in the case of Microsoft NLB multicast mode, you need to manually configure static ARP resolution at the switch or router for each port that connects to the cluster. Deployment of the Microsoft NLB multicast mode in an unknown network environment can prove to be a complex and strenuous task.
With Microsoft NLB unicast mode, you must configure the ESXi/ESX host to not send RARP packets when any of its virtual machines is powered on. That's why, VMware recommends configuring the cluster to use NLB multicast mode with the previously mentioned problems.
With the SafeKit software, network load balancing is implemented by filtering packets in the network stacks as with Microsoft NLB. The virtual IP address is set as an alias IP address on the NIC card of each physical or virtual machine. A single network is sufficient to implement network load balancing.
The virtual IP address configuration does not require any special network configuration and the network load balancing can run in any environment (thanks to the vmac_directed technology). An important feature when the solution must be deployed in an unknown infrastructure: unknown switches or routers, physical servers or virtual servers.
Note that the solution is available on Windows and Linux (even on Windows editions for PCs).
Evidian SafeKit farm cluster with load balancing and failover
|No load balancer or dedicated proxy servers or special multicast Ethernet address|
The solution does not require load balancers or dedicated proxy servers above the farm for imlementing load balancing. SafeKit is installed directly on the application servers in the farm. The load balancing is based on a standard virtual IP address/Ethernet MAC address and is working with physical servers or virtual machines on Windows and Linux without special network configuration
This is not the case with network load balancers
This is not the case with dedicated proxies on Linux
This is not the case with a specific multicast Ethernet address on Windows
|All clustering features|
The solution includes all clustering features: virtual IP address, load balancing on client IP address or on sessions, server failure monitoring, network failure monitoring, software failure monitoring, automatic application restart with a quick revovery time and a replication option with a mirror module
This is not the case with other load balancing solutions. They are able to make load balancing but they do not include a full clustering solution with restart scripts and automatic application restart in case of failure. They do not offer a replication option
The cluster configuration is very simple and made by means of a high availability application module. There is no domain controller or active directory to configure on Windows. The solution works on Windows and Linux
If servers are connected to the same IP network through an extended LAN between remote sites, the virtual IP address of SafeKit is working with load balancing at level 2
If servers are connected to different IP networks between remote sites, the virtual IP address can be configured at the level of a load balancer. SafeKit offers a health check: the load balancer is configured with a URL managed by SafeKit which returns OK on the UP servers and NOT FOUND else. This solution is implemented for SafeKit in the Cloud but it can be also implemented with a load balancer on premise. Thus you can implement load balancing but also all the clustering features of SafeKit including an easy administration of the cluster through the SafeKit web console
|Uniform high availability solution|
SafeKit imlements a farm cluster with load balancing and failover. But it implements also a mirror cluster with replication and failover. Thus a N-tiers architecture can me made highly available and load balanced with the same solution on Windows and Linux (same installation, configuration, administration with the SafeKit console or with the command line interface). This is unique on the market
This is not the case with an architecture mixing different technologies for load balancing, replication and failover
High availability architectures comparison
(click on the feature for more information)
|Feature||SafeKit cluster||Other clusters|
|Software clustering vs hardware clustering|| |
A simple software cluster with the SafeKit package just installed on two servers
Complex hardware clustering with external storage or network load balancers
|Shared nothing vs a shared disk cluster|| |
SafeKit is a shared-nothing cluster: easy to deploy even in remote sites
A shared disk cluster is complex to deploy
|Application High Availability vs Full Virtual Machine High Availability|| |
SafeKit application HA supports hardware failure, software failure, human errors with quick recovery time
Full virtual machines HA supports only hardware failure with a VM reboot and an unknown recovery time if the OS reboot does not work
|Synchronous replication vs asynchronous replication|| |
SafeKit implements real-time synchronous replication with no data loss in case of failure
With asynchronous replication, there is data loss on failure
|Byte-level file replication vs block-level disk replication|| |
SafeKit implements real-time byte-level file replication and is simply configured with application directories to replicate even in the system disk
Block-level disk replication is complex to configure and requires to put application data in a special disk
|Heartbeat, failover and quorum to avoid 2 master nodes|| |
To avoid 2 masters, SafeKit proposes a simple split brain checker configured on a router
To avoid 2 masters, other clusters require a complex configuration with a third machine, a special quorum disk, a special interconnect
|Network load balancing|| |
No dedicated server and no special network configuration are required in a SafeKit cluster for network load balancing
Special network configuration is required in other clusters for network load balancing
Deploy a farm module on N servers.
And implement a network load balancing cluster with application failover.
The target is an application with web services to load balance between servers and with an automatic restart in case of failure.
Click on the blue buttons for a full description of the solution and a step-by-step installation procedure
Farm modules (load balancing and failover)
|Generic farm module for any application|
Deploy a mirror module on 2 servers.
And implement a mirror cluster with real-time file replication and application failover.
The target is an application with a database or flat files to replicate and with an automatic restart in case of failure.
Mirror modules (replication and failover)
|Microsoft SQL Server||-|
|Milestone XProtect (based on Microsoft SQL Server)||-|
|Hanwha SSM (based on PostgreSQL)||-|
|Generic mirror module for any application|
This video shows a mirror module configuration with synchronous real-time replication and failover.
The file replication and the failover are configured for Microsoft SQL Server but it works in the same manner for other databases.
This video shows a farm module configuration with load balancing and failover.
The load balancing and the failover are configured for Apache but it works in the same manner for other web services.