Google this week did something it rarely does: It revealed details of some of its networking technology.
Specifically, it shared information about its software network load balancer — Maglev — that enables Google Compute Engine load balancing to “serve a million requests per second with no pre-warming,” according to its corporate blog posting.
“Google has a long history of building our own networking gear, and perhaps unsurprisingly, we build our own network load balancers as well, which have been handling most of the traffic to Google services since 2008,” says the blog. “Maglev load balancers run on ordinary servers — the same hardware that the services themselves use.”
Essentially, Google created its own virtualized network function (VNF) load balancer several years ago.
Google says hardware load balancers waste half of their capacity running in active-passive configuration to provide failover. Its Maglev software load balancers spread incoming packets across Maglev instances, “which then use consistent hashing techniques to forward packets to the correct service backend servers…
“With Maglev, it’s easy to add or remove load balancing capacity, since Maglev is simply another way to use the same servers that are already in the cluster.”
Other Shy Giants
Google provided the details about Maglev at the Usenix Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation this week. Just last week, Google made its debut appearance at the Open Compute Project (OCP).
It behooves these giant Internet companies to agree on certain specifications, says Dell’Oro Group analyst Alan Weckel. “There has to be some consistency for the supply chain to survive,” he says. “You need the entire industry behind certain things to get economies of scale. They all have an interest in getting some common components.”
“Microsoft has been really honest about what they share and what they have in production,” says Weckel.
At OCP there was one conspicuously absent webscale giant: Amazon Web Services.