Setting up HAProxy


Because more customers are requesting high availability (HA) setups with load balancing, Rackspace has implemented HAProxy as a software load balancer on cloud servers. When you choose the size of the load balancer, be sure to consider the bandwidth constraints of cloud servers. We recommend that you use, at minimum, a 4 GB instance for your HAProxy node, but this depends on the bandwidth usage and the number of requests received by the server.

The following instructions use an operating system based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. As a result, the guide is short, and HAProxy is installed via the EPEL repository

Install HAProxy

For most distributions, you can install HAProxy using your distribution’s package manager. For example, to install on Debian or Ubuntu, run the following command:

sudo aptitude install haproxy

On CentOS 5, run:

To download HAProxy on CentOS 5, you must set up access to the EPEL software repository. Run the following commands:

[root@LB01 ~]# rpm -Uvh
[root@LB01 ~]# yum -y install haproxy

On CentOS 6, run:

To download HAProxy on CentOS 6, you must set up access to the EPEL software repository, but the address for the RPM file is different than for CentOS 5. Run the following commands:

[root@LB01 ~]# rpm -Uvh
[root@LB01 ~]# yum -y install haproxy

Install a Base Configuration

After HAProxy is installed, back up the HAProxy configuration file and download the managed cloud configuration file:

[root@LB01 ~]# cp /etc/haproxy/haproxy.cfg /etc/haproxy/haproxy.cfg.bak
[root@LB01 ~]# wget -O /etc/haproxy/haproxy.cfg
chkconfig haproxy on

Configure HAProxy

You can configure HAProxy only after you have configured your web servers because you need to use their 10.x ServiceNet IP addresses. ServiceNet is used because you are not be charged for bandwidth overage, and it has faster throughput.
To make HAProxy functional, you need to change a number of items in /etc/haproxy/haproxy.cfg. These changes are described in this section. Remember that you must edit the values shown in this section to reflect your server’s IP addresses.

First, change the value of listen webfarm to reflect your server’s eth0 or public IP address. Following is an example value:

listen webfarm

Then, add your web servers.

In the following example, which shows a four-server configuration, replace the 10.0.0.x IP address with the eth1 or private IP address of your web servers.

server WWW1 check # Active in rotation
   server WWW2 check # Active in rotation
   server WWW3 check # Active in rotation
   server WWW4 check backup # Not active "sorry server" - this one comes live if all web heads are down

After you have added the web servers, you can start HAProxy and begin serving web pages (if the servers are ready).

service haproxy start

Following is the default configuration template for haproxy.cfg:

   #global options

       #logging is designed to work with syslog facility's due to chrooted environment
       #log loghost    local0 info - By default this is commented out

       #chroot directory
       chroot /usr/share/haproxy

       #user/group id
       uid 99
       gid 99

       #running mode

       #HTTP Log format
       mode http
       #number of connection retries for the session
       retries 3

       #try another webhead if retry fails
       option redispatch
       #session settings - max connections, and session timeout values
       maxconn 10000
       contimeout 10000
       clitimeout 50000
       srvtimeout 50000
   #Define your farm
   #listen webfarm - Pass only HTTP traffic and bind to port 80
   listen webfarm

       #HTTP Log format
       mode http
       #stats uri /haproxy - results in http://<load balancer ip>/haproxy (shows load balancer stats)
       stats uri /haproxy
       #balance roundrobin - Typical Round Robin
       #balance leastconn - Least Connections
       #balance static-rr - Static Round Robin - Same as round robin, but weights have no effect
       balance roundrobin
       #cookie <COOKIENAME> prefix - Used for cookie-based persistence
       cookie webpool insert
       #option httpclose - http connection closing
       option  httpclose
       #option forwardfor - best stated as "Enable insertion of the X-Forwarded-For header to requests sent to the web heads" aka send EU IP
       option forwardfor

       #Web Heads (Examples)
       #server WEB1 check - passes http traffic to this server and checks if its alive
       #server WEB1 check port 81 - same as above but checks port 81 to see if its alive (helps to remove servers from rotation)
       #server WEB1 check port 81 weight 100 - same as the above with weight specification (weights 1-256 / higher number higher weight)
       #server WEB1 check backup - defines this server as a backup for the other web heads
       #Working Example: *USE THIS HOSTNAME FORMAT*
       server WWW1 cookie webpool_WWW1 check port 81 # Active in rotation
       server WWW2 cookie webpool_WWW2 check port 81 # Active in rotation
       server WWW3 check # Active in rotation
       server WWW4 check backup # Not active "sorry server" - this one comes live if all web heads are down
   #SSL farm example
   #listen https
   #    mode tcp
   #    server WEB1 check

Session Persistence with SSL

If you want to also balance SSL traffic, you must set the balance mode to source, as shown in the following example. This setting takes a hash of the client’s IP address and the number of servers in rotation, and traffic is sent from one IP address to the same web server consistently. The persistence is reset if the number of servers is changed:

listen https
mode tcp
balance source
server WEB1 check

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