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ECMP Load Balancing in the Service Chain

Traffic flowing through a service chain can be load-balanced by distributing traffic streams to multiple service virtual machines (VMs) that are running identical applications. This is illustrated in Figure 1, where the traffic streams between VM-A and VM-B are distributed between Service VM-1 and Service VM-2. If Service VM-1 goes down, then all streams that are dependent on Service VM-1 will be moved to Service VM-2.

Figure 1: Load Balancing a Service ChainLoad Balancing a Service Chain

The following are the major features of load balancing in the service chain:

  • Load balancing can be configured at every level of the service chain.

  • Load balancing is supported in routed and bridged service chain modes.

  • Load balancing can be used to achieve high availability—if a service VM goes down, the traffic passing through that service VM can be distributed through another service VM.

  • A load balanced traffic stream always follows the same path through the chain of service VM.