Oracle Traffic Director - Part 1: Introduction

Enterprises need to support high transaction volumes and run their business applications on a highly available systems while delivering maximum performance. Oracle provides Engineered Systems which is a key technology to secure these resources. Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud is one of the key engineered systems which has been widely recognized for delivering breakthrough performance for packaged and custom applications. Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud is beyond the capabilities of typical servers used in data centers today. One of the key components of the Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software is Oracle Traffic Director. It is a fast, reliable, and scalable layer-7 software load balancer.

Oracle Traffic Director (OTD) is a high-speed, layer-7 load balancer that can be used as the main entry point for HTTP, HTTPS and TCP traffic to application servers and web servers in an Exalogic deployment for large volumes. It is specificaly optimized for Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and leverages InfiniBand fabric for maximum throughput. It can be configured to handle traffic routing and to offload SSL/TLS, running as the termination point for HTTPS requests, reducing the overhead of security processing on the application server. 

OTD distributes the requests based on the specified load-balancing method while routing the requests based on specified rules, caching frequently accessed data, prioritizing traffic and providing HTTP compression. Oracle Traffic Director can also be used for distributing initial context requests that come from Java clients over WebLogic T3 protocol. You can configure Oracle Traffic Director to distribute client requests to servers in the back end by using one of the following methods:

  • Round robin
  • Least connection count
  • Least response time
  • Weighted round robin
  • Weighted least connection count

Oracle Traffic Director provides many required high-availability features, such as health checks for the back end, failover for load balancing, and dynamic reconfiguration. As traffic volume on the Exalogic system varies, Oracle Traffic Director can easily be scaled. It offers the ability to build service levels for applications and to shape traffic into and out of them. It enables administrators to set service levels for different workloads and to change rules dynamically.Enterprise deployments can take advantage of key features of Oracle Traffic Director on a high performance Oracle Exalogic platform. Oracle Traffic Director is fully integrated with the Oracle Exabus I/O subsystem and can support high throughput and low-latency application-traffic workloads. 

OTD can easily be configured to apply multiple, declarative rules when distributing requests to the back-end servers and when forwarding responses to clients. Oracle Traffic Director is not limited to routing inbound traffic from the external client network. It can also be used to route traffic between processes running on the same Infiniband fabric. Internal traffic like service calls between various Oracle SOA Suite components never have to leave the IB Fabric. It has a tight integration with Oracle Fusion Middleware. OTD is designed to recognize and handle headers that are part of requests to, and responses from, Oracle WebLogic Server managed servers in the back end. OTD instance is configured to distribute client requests to clustered Oracle WebLogic Server managed servers, OTD automatically detects changes in the cluster such as the removal or addition of managed servers, and considers such changes while routing requests.

Oracle Traffic Director is easy to install, configure, and use. It includes a simple, wizard-driven graphical interface as well as a robust command-line interface to help you administer Oracle Traffic Director instances. Administrators can monitor a wide range of statistics pertaining to the performance of Oracle Traffic Director instances through several methods: the administration console, the command-line interface, and a report in XML format.

For high availability, you can set up pairs of Oracle Traffic Director instances for either active-passive or active-active failover. As the volume of traffic to your network grows, you can easily scale the environment by re-configuring Oracle Traffic Director with additional back-end servers to which it can route requests. Depending on the needs of your IT environment, you can configure Oracle Traffic Director to apply multiple, complex rules when distributing requests to the back-end servers and when forwarding responses to clients.

Oracle Traffic Director can be deployed as a virtual appliance on cloud and virtual platforms. After deploying OTD as a physical application, you can create a virtual appliance from an Oracle Traffic Director instance or create an assembly containing multiple such appliances. You can then deploy the appliance or assembly on the Oracle Virtual Machine hypervisor. To enable such a deployment, Oracle provides an Oracle Traffic Director plug-in as part of Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder, a tool that you can use to build virtual appliances and assemblies from physical applications.

The architecture of Oracle Traffic Director enables business applications to handle large volumes of  traffic with low latency. OTD is optimized for use in Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and Oracle SuperCluster. It can communicate with servers in the back end over Exalogic's InfiniBand fabric.

The latest release Oracle Traffic Director 11.1.1.7.0 is available for ExaLogic and Database Appliance! For download and details please visit the Traffic Director OTN website.

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