Ironport Cluster Load Balancing

Unanswered Question
May 16th, 2007

Anyone knows if it is possible to configure a load balancing of two C100 in a cluster.
I configured the second machine in the cluster two weeks ago. when I look in the stats, the second machine does nothing. the first machine is on 3% CPU and whe have about 120000 mail per day.

is there any way to configure the cluster that the two machine share their work ? or is the cluster only for fail-safe ?

I have this problem too.
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Rayman_Jr Wed, 05/16/2007 - 09:42

The IronPort cluster is more like configuration cluster, the appliances are sharing the same settings in the cluster but not balancing the load.

If you want load balancing you can do that on DNS level with MX or A records by giving equal weight to both hosts

m.claassen_ironport Wed, 05/16/2007 - 09:48

Thx for your answer, i thought this after reading several subjects.
just can't believe that it's true.


The IronPort cluster is more like configuration cluster, the appliances are sharing the same settings in the cluster but not balancing the load.

If you want load balancing you can do that on DNS level with MX or A records by giving equal weight to both hosts
bfayne_ironport Wed, 05/16/2007 - 21:30

I have pretty much only worked with hardware-based load balancers because of the need to scale, but there are several lower cost solutions available.

Zeus software has a decent commercial software load balancer:
http://www.zeus.com/products/zxtm/

Here's some information on open source solutions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Load_balancing_(computing)
http://www.inlab.de/balance.html

With a pair of C100s I would definitely consider doing it with an open source solution.

tminchin_ironport Thu, 05/17/2007 - 09:10

DNS round robin MX option is the neatest for sure.

If you add load balancing hardware, then you have to battle issues with the load balancing hardware (ie having two of them so if one fails the other takes over etc).

We had far more issues with hardware load balancing than just straight DNS (which is all we do now).

steven_geerts Mon, 05/21/2007 - 15:31

Hello,

Most mail admins know how to use MX records for load balancing (and redundancy) on their mail servers.
Less people know you can use MX also for your outgoing mail traffic.

Just add a MX record to your local DNS and specify a name for the record. (i.e. outgoingMX.local.domain) put the IP's or hostnames of your internal Ironport card in the data and configure your internal mail system to deliver it’s outgoing mail to smarthost outgoingMX.local.domain
Works for most mail systems. I'm sure it is working for Exchange (5.5. and higher) and Domino (5 and higher)

Regards, Steven

paulstevens_ironport Mon, 05/21/2007 - 15:42

Balancing via MX works well in smaller implementations, but you can't beat a hardware load balancer for bigger environments.

We most frequently see Alteon or Radware boxes in place to handle the L4 magic.

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