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Versions: 00 01 02 RFC 2391

                                                            P. Srisuresh
INTERNET-DRAFT                                       Lucent Technologies
Category: Informational                                      Der-hwa Gan
Expire in six months                              Juniper Networks, Inc.
                                                              March 1998


    Load Sharing using IP Network Address Translation (LSNAT)
                <draft-srisuresh-lsnat-02.txt>

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are
   working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF), its areas, and its working groups. Note that other
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   Drafts.

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   To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please
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   or munnari.oz.au (Pacific Rim).


Preface

   This document combines the idea of address translation
   described in Ref[1] with real-time load share algorithms to
   introduce Load Share Network Address Translators(or, simply
   LSNATs). LSNATs would transparently offload network load on a
   single server and distribute the load across a pool of servers.


Abstract

   Network Address Translators (NATs) translate IP addresses in a
   datagram, transparent to end nodes, while routing the datagram.
   NATs have traditionally been been used to allow private network
   domains to connect to Global networks using as few as one



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Internet Draft    Load Share Network Address Translator       March 1998


   globally unique IP address.  In this document, we extend the
   use of NATs to offer Load share feature, where session load can
   be distributed across a pool of servers, instead of directing
   to a single server.  Load sharing is beneficial to service
   providers and system administrators alike in grappling with
   scalability of servers with increasing session load.


1. Introduction

   Traditionally, Network Address Translators, or simply NATs were
   used to connect private network domains to globally unique public
   domain IP networks. Applications originate in private domain
   and NATs would transparently translate datagrams belonging to
   these applications in either direction. This document combines
   the characteristic of transparent address translation with
   real-time load share algorithms to introduce Load Share Network
   Address Translators.

   The problem of Load sharing or load balancing is not new and goes
   back to many years. A variety of techniques were applied to
   address the problem.  Some very ad-hoc and platform specific and
   some employing clever schemes to reorder DNS resource records.
   Ref[11] identifies DNS zone transfer program in name servers to
   periodically shuffle the order of resource records for server
   nodes based on a pre-determined load balancing algorithm. The
   problem with this approach is that reordering time periods can be
   very large in the order of minutes and does not reflect real-time
   load variations on the servers.  Secondly, all hosts in the server
   pool are assumed to have equal capability to offer all services.
   This may not often be the case and there may be requirements to
   support load balancing for a few specific services only. The load
   share approach outlined in this document addresses both these
   concerns and offers a solution that does not require changes to
   clients or servers and one that can be tailored to individual
   services or for all services.

   For the reminder of this document, we will refer NAT routers that
   provide load sharing support as LSNATs. Unlike traditional NATs,
   LSNATs are not required to operate between private and public
   domain routing realms alone. LSNATs also operate in a single
   routing realm and provide load sharing functionality.

   The need for Load sharing arises when a single server is not able
   to cope with increasing demand for multiple sessions
   simultaneously. Clearly, load sharing across multiple servers
   would enhance responsiveness and scale well with session load.
   Popular applications inundating servers would include Web



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   browsers, remote login, file transfer and mail applications.

   When a client attempts to access a server through an LSNAT router,
   the router would select a node in server pool, based on a load
   share algorithm and redirect the request to that node. LSNATs pose
   no restriction on the organization and rearrangement of nodes in
   server pool. Nodes in a pool may be replaced, new nodes may be
   added and others may be in transition. Any changes to server pool
   configuration can be shielded from users by centralizing
   server pool change management to LSNAT router.

   There are limitations to using LSNATs.  Firstly, it is mandatory
   that all requests and responses pertaining to a session between
   a client and server be routed via the same LSNAT router. For this
   reason, we recommend LSNATs to be operated on a single border
   router to a stub domain in which the server pool would be confined.
   This would ensure that all traffic directed to servers from clients
   outside the domain and vice versa would necessarily traverse
   through the LSNAT border router. Later in the document, we will
   examine a special case of LSNAT setup, which gets around the
   topological constraint on server pool. Another limitation of LSNATs
   is the inability to switch loads between hosts, in the midst of
   sessions. This is because, LSNATs measure load in granularity of
   sessions. Once a session is assigned to a host, the session cannot
   be moved to a different host till the end of that session. Other
   limitations, inherent to NATs, outlined in ref[1] are also
   applicable to LSNATs.

   As with traditional NATs, LSNATs have the disadvantage of
   taking away the end-to-end significance of an IP address.
   The major advantage, however, is that it can be installed
   without changes to clients or servers.


2. Terminology and concepts used

   The terminology used in Ref[1] is borrowed almost verbatim
   here, with a few additions introduced here.


2.1. TU ports, Server ports, Client ports

   For the reminder of this document, we will refer TCP/UDP ports
   associated with an IP address simply as "TU ports".

   For most TCP/IP hosts, TU port range 0-1023 is used by servers
   listening for incoming connections. Clients trying to initiate
   a connection typically select a TU port in the range of 1024-65535.



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   However, this convention is not universal and not always followed.
   It is possible for client nodes to initiate connections using a TU
   port number in the range of 0-1023, and there are applications
   listening on TU port numbers in the range of 1024-65535.

   A complete list of TU port services may be found in Ref[2].
   The TU ports used by servers to listen for incoming connections
   are called "Server Ports" and the TU ports used by clients to
   initiate a connection to server are called "Client Ports".


2.2. Session flow vs. Packet flow

   Connection or session flows are different from packet flows.
   A session flow  indicates the direction in which the session was
   initiated with reference to a network port. Packet flow is the
   direction in which the packet has traversed with reference to a
   network port.  A session flow is uniquely identified by the
   direction in which the first packet of that session traversed.

   Take for example, a telnet session. The telnet session consists
   of packet flows in both inbound and outbound directions.
   Outbound telnet packets carry terminal keystrokes from the client
   and inbound telnet packets carry screen displays from the telnet
   server.  Performing address translation for a telnet session would
   involve translation of incoming as well as outgoing packets
   belonging to that session.

   Packets belonging to a TCP/UDP  session are uniquely identified
   by the tuple of (source IP address, source TU port, target IP
   address, target TU port). ICMP query sessions are uniquely
   identified by the tuple of (source IP address, ICMP Query
   Identifier, target IP address). For lack of well-known ways to
   distinguish, all other types of sessions are lumped together
   and distinguished by the tuple of (source IP address, IP protocol,
   target IP address).


2.3. Start of session for TCP, UDP and others

   The first packet of every TCP session tries to establish a session
   and contains connection startup information. The first packet of a
   TCP session may be recognized by the presence of SYN bit and
   absence of ACK bit in the TCP flags. All TCP packets, with the
   exception of the first packet must have the ACK bit set.

   The first packet of every session, be it a TCP session, UDP session,
   ICMP query session or any other session, tries to establish a



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   session.  However, there is no deterministic way of recognizing the
   start of a UDP session or any other non-TCP session.

   Start of session is significant with NATs, as a state describing
   translation parameters for the session is established  at the start
   of session. Packets pertaining to the session cannot undergo
   translation, unless a state is established by NAT at the start of
   session.


2.4. End of session for TCP, UDP and others

   The end of a TCP session is detected when FIN is acknowledged by
   both halves of the session or when either half sets RST bit in
   TCP flags field. Within a couple seconds after this, the session
   can be safely assumed to have been terminated.

   For all other types of session, there is no deterministic way of
   determining the end of session. Many heuristic approaches are used
   to terminate sessions. TCP sessions that have not been used for
   say, 24 hours, should be safe to assume to have been terminated.
   Non-TCP sessions that have not been used for say, 1 minute, should
   also be safe to assume to have been terminated. However, these
   idle period Session timeouts may vary considerably across the
   board and should optionally be made user configurable. Another
   way to handle session terminations is to timestamp sessions and
   keep them as long as possible and retire the longest idle session
   when it becomes necessary.


2.5. Load share

   Load sharing for the purpose of this document is defined as the
   spread of session load amongst a cluster of servers  which are
   functionally similar or the same.  In other words, each of the
   nodes in cluster can support a client session equally well with
   no discernible difference in functionality. Once a node is
   assigned to service a session, that session is bound to that
   node till termination. Sessions are not allowed to swap between
   nodes in the midst of session.

   Load sharing may be applicable for all services, if all hosts in
   server cluster carry the capability to carry out all services.
   Alternately, load sharing may be limited to one or more specific
   services alone and not to others.

   Note, the term "Session load" used in the context of load share
   is different from the term "system load" attributed to hosts by



Srisuresh & Gan                                                 [Page 5]


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   way of CPU, memory and other resource usage on the system.


3. Overview of Load sharing

   While both traditional NATs and LSNATs perform address translations,
   and provide transparent connectivity between end nodes, there are
   distinctions between the two. Traditional NATs initiate translations
   on outbound sessions, by binding a private address to a global
   address (basic NAT) or by binding a tuple of (private address, local
   TU port) to a tuple of (global address, assigned TU port). LSNATs,
   on the other hand, initiate translations on inbound sessions, by
   binding each session represented by a tuple such as (client address,
   client TU port, virtual server address, server TU port) to one of
   server pool nodes, selected based on a real-time load-share
   algorithm. A virtual server address is a globally unique IP address
   that identifies a physical server or a group of servers that can
   provide similar or same functionality.

   For the reminder of this document, we will refer traditional NATs
   simply as NATs and refer LSNATs exclusively in the context of load
   share, without implying traditional NAT functionality.

   LSNATs are not limited to operate between private and public
   domain routing realms. LSNATs may operate within a single routing
   realm with globally unique IP addresses, just as well as between
   private and public network domains. The only requirement is that
   server pool be confined to a stub domain, accessible to clients
   outside the domain through a single LSNAT border router. However,
   as you will notice later, this topology limitation on server pool
   can be overcome under certain configurations.

   Load Share NAT operates as follows. A client attempts to access a
   server by using the server virtual address. The LSNAT router
   transparently redirects the request to one of the hosts in server
   pool, selected using a real-time load sharing algorithm. Multiple
   sessions may be initiated from the same client, and each session
   could be directed to a different host based on load balance across
   server pool hosts at the time. If load share is desired for just a
   few specific services, the configuration on LSNAT could be defined
   to restrict load share for just the services desired.

   In the case where virtual server address is same as the interface
   address of an LSNAT router, server applications (such as telnet) on
   LSNAT router must be disabled for external access on that address.
   This is the limitation to using address owned by LSNAT router as
   the virtual server address.




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   Load share NAT operation is also applicable during individual
   server upgrades as follows. Say, a server, that needs to be
   upgraded is statically mapped to a backup server on the inbound.
   Subsequent to this mapping, new session requests to the original
   server would be redirected by LSNAT to the backup server.  As an
   extension, it is also possible to statically map a specific TU
   port service on a server to that of  backup sever.

   We illustrate the operation of LSNAT in the following subsections,
   where  (a) servers are confined to a stub domain, and belong to
   globally unique address space as shared by clients, (b) servers
   are confined to private address space stub domain, and (c) servers
   are not restrained by any topological limitations.


3.1 Operation of LSNAT in a globally unique address space

   In this section, we will illustrate the operation of LSNAT in a
   globally unique address space. The border router with LSNAT
   enabled on WAN link would perform load sharing and address
   translations for inbound sessions. However, sessions outbound
   from the hosts in server pool will not be subject to any type of
   translation, as all nodes have globally unique IP addresses.

   In the example below, servers S1 (172.85.0.1), S2(172.85.0.2)
   and S3(172.85.0.3) form a server pool, confined to a stub domain.
   LSNAT on the border router is enabled on the WAN link, such that
   the virtual server address S(172.87.0.100) is mapped to the
   server pool consisting of hosts S1, S2 and S3. When a client
   198.76.29.7 initiates a HTTP session to the virtual server S,
   the LSNAT router examines the load on hosts in server pool and
   selects a host, say S1 to service the request. The transparent
   address and TU port translations performed by the LSNAT router
   become apparent as you follow the down arrow line. IP packets
   on the return path go through similar address translation.
   Suppose, we have another client 198.23.47.2 initiating telnet
   session to the same virtual server S. The LSNAT would determine
   that host S3 is a better choice to service this session as S1
   is busy with a session and redirect the session to S3. The second
   session redirection path is delineated with colons. The
   procedure continues for any number of sessions the same way.

   Notice that this requires no changes to clients or servers. All
   the configuration and mapping necessary would be limited just to
   the LSNAT router.






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                                   \ | /
                                 +---------------+
                                 |Backbone Router|
                                 +---------------+
                               WAN |
                                   |
         Stub domain border .......|.........
                                   |
   {s=198.76.29.7, 2745, v         |            {s=198.23.47.2,  3200,
    d=172.87.0.100, 80 } v         |             d=172.87.0.100, 23 }
                         v +------------------+ :
                         v |Border Router with| :
                         v |LSNAT enabled on  | :
                         v |WAN interface     | :
                         v +------------------+ :
                         v       |              :
                         v       |  LAN         :
                   ------v----------------------:---
   {s=198.76.29.7, 2745, v |         |         |:{s=198.23.47.2, 3200,
    d=172.85.0.1,  80  }   |         |         |  d=172.85.0.3,  23 }
                         +--+      +--+       +--+
                         |S1|      |S2|       |S3|
                         |--|      |--|       |--|
                        /____\    /____\     /____\
                    172.85.0.1   172.85.0.2  172.85.0.3

    Figure 1: Operation of LSNAT in Globally unique address space



3.2. Operation of LSNAT in conjunction with a private network

   In this section, we will illustrate the operation of LSNAT in
   conjunction with NAT on the same router. The NAT configuration
   is required for translation of outbound sessions and could be
   either Basic NAT or NAPT.  The illustration below will assume
   NAPT on the outbound and LSNAT on the inbound on WAN link.

   Say, an organization has a private IP network and a WAN link to
   backbone router. The private network's stub router is assigned
   a globally valid address on the WAN link and the remaining nodes
   in the organization have IP addresses that have only local
   significance. The border router is NAPT configured on the
   outbound allowing access to external hosts, using the single
   registered IP address.




Srisuresh & Gan                                                 [Page 8]


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   In addition, say the organization has servers S1 (10.0.0.1),
   S2(10.0.0.2) and S3 (10.0.0.3) that form a pool to provide
   inbound access to external clients. This is made possible by
   enabling LSNAT on the WAN link of the border router, such that
   virtual server address S(198.76.28.4) is mapped to the server
   pool consisting of hosts S1, S2 and S3. When an external client
   198.76.29.7 initiates a HTTP session to the virtual server S,
   the LSNAT router examines load on hosts in server pool and
   selects a host, say S1 to service the request. The transparent
   address  and TU port translations performed by the LSNAT router
   are apparent as you follow the down arrow line. IP packets on the
   return path go through similar address translation. Suppose, we
   have another client 198.23.47.2 initiating telnet session to the
   same address. The LSNAT would determine that host S3 is a better
   choice to service this session as S1 is busy with a session and
   redirect the session to S3. The second session redirection path
   is delineated with colons. The procedure continues for any number
   of sessions the same way.


                                   \ | /
                                 +---------------+
                                 |Backbone Router|
                                 +---------------+
                               WAN |
                                   |
        Stub domain border ........|.........
                                   |
   {s=198.76.29.7, 2745, v         |           {s=198.23.47.2, 3200,
    d=198.76.28.4, 80   }v         |           :d=198.76.28.4, 23 }
                         v+-------------------+:
                         v|Border Router with |:
                         v|  LSNAT and NAPT   |:
                         v|enabled on WAN link|:
                         v+-------------------+:
                         v      |              :
                         v      |  LAN         :
                   ------v---------------------:------
   {s=198.76.29.7, 2745, v |         |       | : {s=198.23.47.2, 3200,
    d=10.0.0.1,    80  }   |         |       |    d=10.0.0.3,    23 }
                         +--+      +--+     +--+
                         |S1|      |S2|     |S3|
                         |--|      |--|     |--|
                        /____\    /____\   /____\
                       10.0.0.1  10.0.0.2  10.0.0.3

     Figure 2: Operation of LSNAT, in coexistence with NAPT




Srisuresh & Gan                                                 [Page 9]


Internet Draft    Load Share Network Address Translator       March 1998



   Once again, notice that this requires no changes to clients or
   servers.  The translation is completely transparent to end
   nodes. Address mapping on the LSNAT performs load sharing and
   address translations for inbound sessions. Sessions outbound
   from hosts in server pool are subject to NAPT. Both NAT and
   LSNAT co-exist with each other in the same router.


3.3. Load Sharing with no topological restraints on servers

   In this section, we will illustrate a configuration in which
   load sharing can be accomplished on a router without enforcing
   topological limitations on servers. In this configuration,
   virtual server address will be owned by the router that supports
   load sharing. I.e., virtual server address will be same as
   address of one of the interfaces of load share router. We will
   distinguish this configuration from LSNAT by referring this as
   "Load Share Network Address Port Translation" (LS-NAPT). Routers
   that support the LS-NAPT configuration will be termed "LS-NAPT
   routers", or simply LS-NAPTs.

   In an LSNAT router, inbound TCP/UDP sessions, represented by the
   tuple of (client address, client TU port, virtual server address,
   service port) are translated into a tuple of (client address,
   client TU port, selected server address, service port). Translation
   is carried out on all datagrams pertaining to the same session, in
   either direction. Whereas, LS-NAPT router would translate the same
   session into a tuple of (virtual server address, virtual server
   TU port, selected server, service port). Notice that LS-NAPT router
   translates the client address and TU port with the address and
   TU port of virtual server, which is same as the address of one of
   its interfaces. By doing this, datagrams from clients as well as
   servers are forced to bear the address of LS-NAPT router as the
   destination address, thereby guaranteeing that the datagrams would
   necessarily traverse the LS-NAPT router. As a result, there is no
   need to require servers to be under topological constraints.

   Take for example, figure 1 in section 3.1. Let us say the router
   on which load sharing is enabled is not just a border router, but
   can be any kind of router. Let us also say that the virtual server
   address S (172.87.0.100) is same as the address of WAN link and
   LS-NAPT is enabled on the WAN interface. Figure 3 summarizes the
   new router configuration.

   When a client 198.76.29.7 initiates a HTTP session to the virtual
   server address S (i.e., address of the WAN interface), the LS-NAPT
   router examines load on hosts in server pool and selects a host,



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Internet Draft    Load Share Network Address Translator       March 1998


   say S1 to service the request. Appropriately, the destination
   address is translated to be S1 (172.85.0.1). Further, original
   client address and TU port are replaced with the address and
   TU port of the WAN link.  As a result, destination addresses as
   well as source address and source TU port are translated when the
   packet reaches S1, as can be noticed from the down-arrow path. IP
   packets on the return path go through similar translation. The
   second client 198.23.47.2 initiating telnet session to the same
   virtual server address S is load share directed to S3. This packet
   once again undergoes LS-NAPT translation, just as with the first
   client. The data path and translations can be noticed following
   the colon line. The procedure continues for any number of sessions
   the same way. The translations made to datagrams in either
   direction are completely transparent to end nodes.



                                   \ | /
                              +---------------+
                              |   Router      |
                              +---------------+
                            WAN |
                                |
                                |
   {s=198.76.29.7, 2745, v      |             {s=198.23.47.2, 3200,
    d=198.76.28.4, 80   }v      | 198.76.28.4  :d=198.76.28.4, 23 }
                         v +----------------+  :
                         v | A Router with  |  :
                         v | LS-NAPT enabled|  :
                         v | on WAN link    |  :
                         v +----------------+  :
                         v               |     :
                         v          LAN  |     :
                   ------v---------------------:------
   {s=198.76.28.4, 7001, v|          |        |:{s=198.76.28.4,7002,
    d=172.85.0.1,   80 }  |          |        |  d=172.85.0.3,  23 }
                        +--+       +--+      +--+
                        |S1|       |S2|      |S3|
                        |--|       |--|      |--|
                       /____\     /____\    /____\
                     172.85.0.1 172.85.0.2 172.85.0.3

     Figure 3: LS-NAPT configuration on a router


   As you will notice, datagrams from clients as well as servers are
   forced to be directed to the router, because they use WAN interface
   address of router as the destination address in their datagrams.



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   With the assurance that all packets from clients and servers would
   traverse the router, there is no longer a requirement for servers to
   be confined to a stub domain and for LSNAT to be enabled only on
   border router to the stub domain.

   The LS-NAPT configuration described in this section involves
   more translations and hence is more complex compared to LSNAT
   configurations described in the previous sections. While the
   processing is complex, there are benefits to this
   configuration. Firstly, it breaks down restraints on server
   topology. Secondly, it scales with bandwidth expansion for
   client access. Even if Service providers have one link today for
   client access, the LS-NAPT configuration allows them to expand
   to more links in the future guaranteeing the same LS-NAPT load
   share service on newer links.

   The configuration is not without its limitations. Server
   applications (such as telnet) on the router box would have to be
   disabled for the interface address assigned to be virtual server
   address. Load sharing would be limited to TCP and UDP applications
   only. Maximum concurrently allowed sessions would be limited by the
   maximum allowed TCP/UDP client ports on the same address. Assuming
   that ports 0-1023 must be set aside as well-known service ports,
   that would leave a maximum of 63K TCP client ports and 63K of UDP
   client ports on the LS-NAPT router to communicate with each
   load-share server.  As a result, LS-NAPT routers will not be able
   to concurrently support more than a maximum of (63K * count of
   Load-share servers) TCP sessions and (63K * count of Load-share
   servers) UDP sessions.



4.0. Translation phases of a session in LSNAT router.

   As with NATs, LSNATs must monitor the following three phases
   in relation to Address translation.

4.1. Session binding:

   Session binding is the phase in which an incoming session is
   associated with the address of a host in server pool. This
   association essentially sets the translation parameters for
   all subsequent datagrams pertaining to the session. For
   addresses that have static mapping, the binding happens at
   startup time. Otherwise, each incoming session is dynamically
   bound to a different host based on a load sharing algorithm.





Srisuresh & Gan                                                [Page 12]


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4.2. Address lookup and translation:

   Once session binding is established for a connection setup,
   all subsequent packets belonging to the same connection will
   be subject to session lookup for translation purposes.

   For outbound packets of a session, the source IP address (and
   source TU port, in case of TCP/UDP sessions) and related fields
   (such as IP, TCP, UDP and ICMP header checksums) will undergo
   translation. For inbound packets of a session, the destination
   IP address (and destination TU port, in case of TCP/UDP
   sessions) and related fields such as IP, TCP, UDP and ICMP
   header checksums) will undergo translation.

   The header and payload modifications made to IP datagrams
   subject to LSNAT will be exactly same as those subject to
   traditional NATs, described in section 5.0 of Ref[1]. Hence,
   the reader is urged to refer ref[1] document for packet
   translation process.

4.3. Session unbinding:

   Session unbinding is the phase in which a server node is
   no longer responsible for the session. Usually, session
   unbinding happens when the end of session is detected.
   As described in the terminology section, it is not always
   easy to determine end of session.


5. Load share algorithms

   Many algorithms are available to select a host from a pool
   of servers to service a new session. The load distribution
   is based primarily on (a) cost of accessing the network on
   which a  server resides and load on the network interface
   used to access the server, and (b)resource availability and
   system load on the server. A variety of policies can be
   adapted to distribute sessions across the servers in a server
   pool.

   For simplicity, we will consider two types algorithms, based
   on proximity between server nodes and LSNAT router. The higher
   the cost of access to a sever, the farther the proximity of
   server is assumed to be. The first kind of algorithms will
   assume that all server pool members are at equal or nearly
   equal proximity to LSNAT router and hence the load distribution
   can be based solely on resource availability or system load on
   remote servers. Cost of network access will be  considered



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   irrelevant. The second kind would assume that all server pool
   members have equal resource availability and the criteria for
   selection would be proximity to servers. In other words, we
   consider algorithms which take into account the cost of
   network access.

5.1. Local Load share algorithms

   Ideally speaking, the selection process would have precise
   knowledge of real-time resource availability and system load
   for each host in server pool, so that the selection of host
   with maximum unutilized capacity would be the obvious choice.
   However, this is not so easy to achieve.

   We consider here two kinds of heuristic approaches to monitor
   session load on server pool members. The first kind is where
   the load share selector tracks system load on individual
   servers in non-intrusive way.  The second kind is where the
   individual members actively participate in communicating with
   the load share selector, notifying the selector of their load
   capacity.

   Listed below are the most common selection algorithms adapted
   in the non-intrusive category.

   1. Round-Robin algorithm
      This is the simplest scheme, where a host is selected
      simply on a round robin basis, without regard to load
      on the host.

   2. Least Load first algorithm
      This is an improvement over round-robin approach, in that,
      the host with least number of sessions bound to it is
      selected to service a new session. This approach is not
      without its caveats. Each session is assumed to be as resource
      consuming as any other session, independent of the type
      of service the session represents and all hosts in server
      pool are assumed to be equally resourceful.

   3. Least traffic first algorithm
      A further improvement over the previous algorithm would be
      to measure system load by tracking packet count or byte
      count directed from or to each of the member hosts over a
      period of time. Although packet count is not the same as
      system load, it is a reasonable approximation.

   4. Least Weighted Load first approach
      This would be an enhancement to the first two. This would



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      allow administrators to assign (a) weights to sessions, based
      on likely resource consumption estimates of session types
      and (b) weights to hosts based on resource availability.

      The sum of all session loads by weight assigned to a server,
      divided by weight of server would be evaluated to select the
      server with least weighted load to assign for each new session.
      Say, FTP sessions are assigned 5 times the weight(5x) as a telnet
      session(x), and server S3 is assumed to be 3 times as resourceful
      as server S1. Let us also say that S1 is assigned 1 FTP session
      and 1 telnet session, whereas S3 is assigned 2 FTP sessions and
      5 telnet sessions. When a new telnet session need assignment,
      the weighted load on S3 is evaluated to be (2*5x+5*x)/3 = 5x,
      and the load on S1 is evaluated to be (1*5x+1*x) = 6x. Server
      S3 is selected to bind the new telnet session, as the weighted
      load on S3 is smaller than that of S1.

   5. Ping to find the most responsive host.
      Till now, capacity of a member host is determined
      exclusively by the LSNAT using heuristic approaches. In
      reality, it is impossible to predict system capacity from
      remote, without interaction with member hosts. A prudent
      approach would be to periodically ping member hosts and
      measure the response time to determine how busy the hosts
      really are. Use the response time in conjunction with the
      heuristics to select the host most appropriate for the
      new session.


   In the active category, we involve individual member hosts
   in resource utilization monitoring process. An agent software
   on each node would notify the monitoring agent on resource
   availability. Clearly, this would imply having an application
   program (one that does not consume significant resources, by
   itself) to run on each member node. This strategy of involving
   member hosts in system load monitoring is likely to yield the
   most optimal results in the selection process.

5.2. Distributed  Load share algorithms

   When server nodes are distributed geographically across different
   areas and cost to access them vary widely, the load share selector
   could use that information in selecting a server to service a new
   session. In order to do this, the load share selector would need
   to consult the routing tables maintained by routing protocols
   such as RIP and OSPF to find the cost of accessing a server.

   All algorithms listed below would be non-intrusive kind where



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   the server nodes do not actively participate in notifying the
   load share selector of their load capacity.

   1. Weighted Least Load first algorithm
      The selection criteria would be based on (a) cost of access to
      server, and (b) the number of sessions assigned to server.
      The product of cost and session load for each server would be
      evaluated to select the server with least weighted load for
      each new session. Say, cost of accessing server S1 is twice as
      much as that of server S2. In that case, S1 will be assigned
      twice as much load as that of S2 during the distribution
      process. When a server is not accessible due to network
      failure, the cost of access is set to infinity and hence no
      further load can be assigned to that server.

   2. Weighted Least traffic first algorithm
      An improvement over the previous algorithm would be
      to measure network load by tracking packet count or byte
      count directed from or to each of the member hosts over a
      period of time. Although packet count is not the same as
      system load, it is a reasonable approximation. So, the
      product of cost and traffic load (over a fixed duration)
      for each server would be evaluated to select the server
      with least weighted traffic load for each new session.


6. Dead host detection

   As sessions are assigned to hosts, it is important to detect
   the live-ness of the hosts. Otherwise, sessions could simply
   be black-holed into a dead host. Many heuristic approaches are
   adopted. Sending pings periodically would be one way to determine
   the live-ness. Another approach would be to track datagrams
   originating from a member host in response to new session
   assignments.  If no response is detected in a few seconds, declare
   the server dead and do not assign new sessions to this host. The
   server can be monitored later again after a long pause (say, in the
   order of a few minutes) by periodically reassigning new sessions and
   monitoring response times and so on.


7. Current Implementations

   Many commercial implementations are available in the industry that
   perform load sharing based on address translation. However, the
   authors are not aware of any publicly available software.





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8. Miscellaneous

   The IETF has been notified of potential intellectual Property
   Rights (IPR) issues with the technology described in this
   document. Interested people are requested to look in the IETF
   web page (http://www.ietf.org) under the Intellectual property
   Rights Notices section for the current information.


9. Security Considerations

   All security considerations associated with NAT routers, described
   in ref[1] are applicable to LSNAT routers as well.




REFERENCES

   [1] P. Srisuresh, and K. Egevang "The IP Network Address Translator
       (NAT)", <draft-rfced-info-srisuresh-03.txt> or its successor.

   [2] J. Reynolds and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", RFC 1700 or
       its successor.

   [3] R. Braden, "Requirements for Internet Hosts -- Communication
       Layers", RFC 1122 or its successor.

   [4] R. Braden, "Requirements for Internet Hosts -- Application
       and Support", RFC 1123 or its successor.

   [5] F. Baker, "Requirements for IP Version 4 Routers",  RFC 1812
       or its successor.

   [6] J. Postel, J. Reynolds, "FILE TRANSFER PROTOCOL (FTP)",
       RFC 959 or its successor.

   [7] "TRANSMISSION CONTROL PROTOCOL (TCP) SPECIFICATION",  RFC 793
       or its successor.

   [8] J. Postel, "INTERNET CONTROl MESSAGE (ICMP) SPECIFICATION",
       RFC 793 or its successor.

   [9] J. Postel, "User Datagram Protocol (UDP)",  RFC 768 or its
       successor.

   [10] J. Mogul, J. Postel, "Internet Standard Subnetting Procedure",
        RFC 950 or its successor.



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   [11] T. Brisco, "DNS Support for Load Balancing", RFC 1794 or
        its successor.



Authors' Addresses

   Pyda Srisuresh
   Lucent Technologies
   Pleasanton, CA 94588-8519
   U.S.A.

   Voice: (510) 737-2153
   Fax:   (510) 737-2110
   EMail: suresh@livingston.com

   Der-hwa Gan
   Juniper Networks, Inc.
   385 Ravensdale Drive.
   Mountain View, CA 94043
   U.S.A.

   Voice: (650) 526-8074
   Fax:   (650) 526-8001
   EMail: dhg@juniper.net

























Srisuresh & Gan                                                [Page 18]


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