IBM’s latest innovation in network technology is the introduction of the IBM NS1 Connect Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) service. This new innovation impacts how enterprises manage and distribute network traffic, particularly for applications that span multiple cloud environments and geographical locations. 

IBM NS1 Connect GSLB is more than a simple tool for balancing server loads; it’s a comprehensive solution that leverages the power of DNS technology combined with insightful real-time user data.

With the rise of cloud computing and distributed applications, organizations face increasing challenges in maintaining high availability, performance, and resilience across their network infrastructures. 

Traditional load balancing solutions often fall short in addressing the complexities of today’s multicloud and geographically dispersed application deployments. Recognizing this gap, IBM leverages its NS1 DNS technology to create a more dynamic and intelligent load balancing service.

The core of IBM NS1 Connect GSLB’s innovation lies in its integration with real-time user data. Analyzing information such as network performance metrics, user locations, and engagement statistics, the service can make informed decisions about how to distribute traffic most effectively – so that user requests are always routed to the best available server, optimizing performance and minimizing latency.

In the event of a server failure or a drop in service quality, the system can instantly reroute traffic to alternative servers or locations, minimizing downtime and maintaining a seamless user experience. This level of dynamic response is key for businesses that rely on continuous online availability to serve their customers effectively.

Acquisition of NS1

NS1 stands out for its advanced traffic-steering technology, a system that intelligently allocates DNS traffic across networks. The technology takes into account a multitude of factors, including availability and performance metrics, to make real-time decisions on routing internet requests – aiming to offer more dynamic and responsive network services to its clientele.

Technology integration

When an internet request is made, NS1’s system assesses various factors like availability, performance, and time-of-day to determine the best routing path. 

NS1’s technology does more than simply routing internet requests, it analyzes a range of real-time data to make informed decisions on where to direct traffic, considering current network conditions and performance metrics. Such a dynamic approach ensures that users experience optimal connectivity and that the network adapts swiftly to any fluctuations in performance or availability.

Redundancy in DNS servers is a proactive measure against potential server downtimes, ensuring that even in the event of a server failure, another can take over without disrupting the user experience. This redundancy tangibly improves the resilience of the network and provides a safety net so that the network remains robust and reliable, even in unpredictable conditions.

Key features of NS1 Connect GSLB

Real-time data usage

This system collects and analyzes data on network performance and user locations directly from users interacting with sites or applications. Such real-time data enables the GSLB system to make informed decisions, adjusting server and application loads dynamically to ensure that users experience optimal performance and reduced latency, as the load balancing is responsive to actual usage conditions and not just predefined rules or patterns. 

The capacity to adapt to live data translates into a more robust and user-centric service so that resources are allocated efficiently and user experiences remain consistently high.

Improved load balancing and resilience

NS1 Connect GSLB introduces an new approach to load balancing by steering clear of a single ingestion point, a common feature in traditional GSLB solutions. 

This single point often becomes a bottleneck and a vulnerability, increasing the risk of widespread service disruption if it encounters issues. By diversifying the traffic ingress points, NS1 Connect GSLB distributes the load more evenly across the network, reducing the risk of overloading any single point and building up the overall resilience of the system.

The ability to create multiple routing pathways means that if one pathway encounters a problem, such as a server or service failure, the system can quickly reroute traffic through alternative pathways, minimizing downtime and maintaining user access to the services.

Global traffic management policies

With NS1 Connect GSLB, customers have the power to establish and enforce global traffic management policies. These policies are more than the traditional standard templates, offering high customizability, so that businesses can tailor their traffic management strategies to their specific needs and conditions. Through automation, these policies enable real-time adjustments to traffic routing, ensuring optimal performance and availability without the need for constant manual intervention.

The automation aspect is particularly beneficial for enterprises with extensive and complex networks, where manual traffic management would be impractical or impossible. With support for integration tools like Terraform and Ansible, customers can embed these traffic management policies into their broader infrastructure-as-code strategies, enabling more cohesive and automated IT operations.

Analyst insights

Analysts commend IBM NS1 Connect GSLB for its groundbreaking method of load balancing that integrates real-time user experience telemetry into routing decisions – providing a solution that adapts more effectively to the actual network conditions, directly addressing user needs.

Real-time user experience telemetry involves analyzing data gathered from users’ interactions with applications in real-time, which includes metrics like network speed, latency, and availability. With this data, IBM NS1 Connect GSLB can route user requests to the best available server, optimizing the user’s experience by minimizing latency and potential downtime. 

Entering a highly competitive space

Competitors like CloudFloorDNS, NGINX, and StackPath provide similar services, but IBM’s solution stands out by dynamically adapting to real-time network conditions and user data. 

This user-centric approach makes sure that the GSLB service is distributing traffic based on predetermined rules or simple metrics and actively engaging with real-time data to make informed decisions.

General availability

Enterprises now have access to the SaaS-based NS1 Connect GSLB service. With its launch, IBM targets enterprise customers seeking to refine their distributed application management and multi cloud workload efficiency.

Tim Boesen

March 19, 2024

5 Min