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When you use the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Auto Scaling service, you can increase the number of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances (cloud servers) you’re using automatically when the user demand goes up, and you can decrease the number of EC2 instances when demand goes down. As Auto Scaling dynamically adds and removes EC2 instances, you need to ensure that the traffic coming to your web application is distributed across all of your running EC2 instances. AWS provides Elastic Load Balancing to automatically distribute the incoming web traffic (called the load) among all the EC2 instances that you are running. Elastic Load Balancing manages incoming requests by optimally routing traffic so that no one instance is overwhelmed. Using Elastic Load Balancing with your auto-scaled web application makes it easy to route traffic among your dynamically changing fleet of EC2 instances.
This topic shows you how you can use Elastic Load Balancing to route traffic to Amazon EC2 instances in your Auto Scaling group. If you aren't already acquainted with basic Auto Scaling concepts, see What is Auto Scaling?. For information about Elastic Load Balancing, see What Is Elastic Load Balancing?
Elastic Load Balancing uses load balancers to monitor traffic and handle requests that come through the Internet. To use Elastic Load Balancing with your Auto Scaling group, you first have to create a load balancer and then you need to register your Auto Scaling group with the load balancer. Your load balancer acts as a single point of contact for all incoming traffic. You can register multiple load balancers with a single Auto Scaling group. For information about registering your load balancer with your Auto Scaling group, see Set Up an Auto-Scaled and Load-Balanced Application.
Elastic Load Balancing sends data about your load balancers and EC2 instances to Amazon CloudWatch. CloudWatch collects the data and presents it as readable, near-time metrics. After registering the load balancer with your Auto Scaling group, you can configure your Auto Scaling group to use Elastic Load Balancing metrics (such as request latency or request count) to auto scale your application. For information about Elastic Load Balancing metrics, see Monitor Your Load Balancer Using Amazon CloudWatch. For information about using CloudWatch metrics to auto scale, see Dynamic Scaling.
By default, the Auto Scaling group determines the health state of each instance by periodically checking the results of Amazon EC2 instance status checks. Elastic Load Balancing also performs health checks on the EC2 instances that are registered with the load balancer. After you've registered your Auto Scaling group with a load balancer, you can choose to use the results of the Elastic Load Balancing health check in addition to the EC2 instance status checks to determine the health of the EC2 instances in your Auto Scaling group. For information about adding an Elastic Load Balancing health check, see Add an Elastic Load Balancing Health Check to your Auto Scaling Group.
You can take advantage of the safety and reliability of geographic redundancy by spanning your Auto Scaling groups across multiple Availability Zones within a region and then setting up load balancers to distribute incoming traffic across those Availability Zones. For information about expanding your auto-scaled and load-balanced application to an additional Availability Zone, see Expand Your Auto-Scaled and Load-Balanced Application to an Additional Availability Zone.