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Multiple ISP Load Balancing
From: "Holmes,David A" <dholmes () mwdh2o com>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2011 11:07:04 -0800

From time to time some have posted questions asking if BGP load balancers such as the old Routescience Pathcontrol 
device are still around, and if not what have others found to replace that function. I have used the Routescience 
device with much success 10 years ago when it first came on the market, but since then a full BGP feed has become much 
larger, Routescience has been bought by Avaya, then discontinued, and other competitors such as Sockeye, Netvmg have 
been acquired by other companies.

Doing some research on how load balancing can be accomplished in 2011, I have come across Cisco's performance routing 
feature, and features from load balancing companies such as F5's Link Controller. I have always found BGP to be easy to 
work with, and an elegant, simple solution to load balancing using a route-reflector configuration in which one BGP 
client (Routescience Pathcontrol in my background) learns the best route to destination networks, and then announces 
that best route to BGP border routers using common and widely understood BGP concepts such as communities and local 
pref, and found this to lead to a deterministic Internet routing architecture. This required a knowledge only of IETF 
standards (common BGP concepts and configurations), required no specialized scripting, or any other knowledge lying 
outside IETF boundaries, and it seemed reasonable to expect that network engineers should eagerly and enthusiastically 
want to master this technology, just as any other technology must be mastered to run high availability networks.

So I am wondering if anyone has experience with implementing load balancing across multiple ISP links in 2011, and if 
there have been any comparisons between IETF standards-based methods using BGP, and other proprietary methods which may 
use a particular vendor's approach to solving the same problem, but involves some complexity with more variables to be 
plugged in to the architecture.

David



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