The Sun Java System Application Server load balancer uses a sticky round robin algorithm to load balance incoming HTTP and HTTPS requests. All requests for a given session are sent to the same application server instance. With a sticky load balancer, the session data is cached on a single application server rather than being distributed to all instances in a cluster.
Therefore, the sticky round robin scheme provides significant performance benefits that normally override the benefits of a more evenly distributed load obtained with a pure round robin scheme.
When a new HTTP request is sent to the load balancer plug-in, it’s forwarded to an application server instance based on a simple round robin scheme. Subsequently, this request is “stuck” to this particular application server instance, either by using cookies, or explicit URL rewriting. The load balancer determines the method of stickiness automatically.
The load balancer plug-in uses the following methods to determine session stickiness:
Explicit URL Rewriting: the sticky information is appended to the URL. This method works even if the HTTP client does not support cookies.
From the sticky information, the load balancer plug-in first determines the instance to which the request was previously forwarded. If that instance is found to be healthy, the load balancer plug-in forwards the request to that specific application server instance. Therefore, all requests for a given session are sent to the same application server instance.