Load Balancer. Microsoft customers showed their appreciation for the Network Load Balancing (NLB) technology inherent in Windows Server 2003, awarding the OS the Best Load Balancer award. NLB uses a distributed algorithm to load-balance network traffic across a number of hosts, thereby enhancing the scalability and availability of mission-critical, IP-based services such as Web, VPN, Terminal Services, and streaming media. NLB also provides high availability by detecting host failures and automatically redistributing traffic to operational hosts. NLB streamlines administration by letting you manage a group of independent servers as one system. Administrators typically use NLB to evenly distribute Web client requests among Web servers, such as in a Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.0 server farm.