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The introduction from HAProxy site is as follows:

HAProxy is a free, very fast and reliable solution offering high availability, load balancing, and proxying for TCP and HTTP-based applications. It is particularly suited for web sites crawling under very high loads while needing persistence or Layer7 processing. Supporting tens of thousands of connections is clearly realistic with todays hardware.

HAProxy 1.3 had already implemented the following features:

  • transparent proxy under Linux, which allows to directly connect to the server using the client's IP address
  • kernel TCP splicing to forward data between the two sides without copy in order to reach multi-gigabit data rates