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Azure Application Gateway load distribution tool

Sharing the Load

Article from ADMIN 80/2024
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In the Azure cloud, Microsoft offers the Azure Application Gateway managed service as a Layer 7 load balancer that needs virtually no internal resources to set up and operate.

Load balancers are a central component for operating web applications – for both VM- and container-based applications. However, their legacy character poses a number of challenges for admins, particularly in terms of operation and the required expertise. If the application is to meet requirements in terms of high availability and scalability, for example, a number of prerequisites must be met. Depending on the criticality, several data centers are required, with management and monitoring tools to match.

A Layer 7 load balancer that works at the HTTP level is typically used for hosting web applications. However, this technology is also exposed to the challenges described above. Microsoft is looking to simplify this in Azure with the Azure Application Gateway (AAG). To avoid confusion, load balancers in Azure include:

  • Azure Load Balancer, a Layer 4 service that works for TCP and UDP applications;
  • Azure Front Door, a global Layer 7 load balancer particularly suitable for users from different geographical regions; and
  • Azure Traffic Manager, a DNS-based service that directs users to a specific back end according to latency, location, and other criteria.


The Azure Application Gateway is Microsoft's standard for Layer 7 load balancing and supports the HTTP, HTTPS, and HTTP/2 protocols. However, the provider also advertises AAG as an application delivery controller that offers security functions (e.g., protection against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks).

To see how AAG works, refer to Figure 1 for the individual components. The front-end IP is, as the name suggests, the IP address on which the application gateway listens to incoming requests. Depending on the application, a public and a private IP address or just a public IP address can be configured. However, only

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