LTM vs GTM: Difference between F5 Global & Local Traffic Manager

Rashmi Bhardwaj | Blog,BUZZ

Introduction to LTM & GTM

While designing Data Center and Disaster recovery setups, network administrators and designers come across terms – GTM and LTM.

Let’s understand what these terms are, their function and how they differ.

GTM (Global Traffic Manager )

GTM load balancer balances  traffic for application servers across Data Centers. GTM is used as an “Intelligent DNS” server, handling DNS resolutions based on intelligent monitors and F5’s own iQuery protocol used to communicate with other BIGIP F5 devices. It is used in multiple data centre infrastructures, deciding where to resolve to request traffic to.


LTM (Local Traffic Manager)

LTM load balances servers and also does cache, compression, persistence, etc. LTM network is a full reverse proxy, handling connections from clients. The F5 LTM uses Virtual Services (VSs) and Virtual IPs (VIPs) to configure a load balancing setup for a service.

LTMs can handle load balancing in two ways, the first way is an nPath configuration, and second is a Secure Network Address Translation (SNAT) method. LTM load balances servers and also does caching, compression, persistence, etc.

RelatedF5 LTM Key Terms & Components

Comparison Table: LTM vs GTM

Below table summarizes the difference between the two terms:

Full Form
Global Traffic Balancer
Local Traffic Manager
Industry Standard name
Global Load Balancer
Server Load balancer
Name resolution
GTM performs name to IP resolution
Does not perform name to IP resolution
GTM Load balances requests between Data Centers
LTM is limited to single Data Center and Load balancer traffic between Servers within same Data Center.
Traffic Type
DNS traffic is sent via the requestor/client
Actual Data communication traffic and port number is sent by the client/requestor.
Duration of association
Once the GTM has provided name to IP resolution to client , GTM work is complete
LTM remains till the whole communication (starts when requests hits client IP with port number) between client and destination server is complete.
Proxy functionality
Technologies used
WIP , DNS ,resolver
SNAT, Proxy architecture, VIP, caching, persistence, compression.
Generally over Cloud or DMZ/ Perimeter Zone in Data Center
Generally in DMZ Zone, Production Zone or Database Zone of Data Centers.
High availability options
Backup box may be placed at distance geo location for redundancy
Backup box needs to be placed in same Data Center and same Vlan.

Download the difference table LTM vs GTM

Communication between GTM and LTM:

The gtmd agent on BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM) uses the iQuery protocol to communicate with the local big3d agent, and the big3d agents installed on other BIG-IP systems.

The gtmd agent monitors both the availability of the BIG-IP systems and the integrity of the network paths between the systems that host a domain and the local DNS servers that attempt to connect to that domain.

ltm vs gtm

The LTM and GTM can work together or they can be totally independent. If your organization owns both modules it’s usually using them together, and that’s where the real power comes in.

Related: What is gtm in networking

They do this via a proprietary protocol called iQuery. iQuery, functioning on TCP port 4353, reports VIP availability/performance back to the GTMs. The GTMs can then dynamically resolve VIPs that live on an LTM(s).

When a GTM has LTMs as servers in its’ configuration there is no need to monitor the actual VIP(s) with application monitors, as the LTM is doing that & iQuery reports the information back to the GTM.

Continue Reading:

Introduction to GTM

F5 LTM Interview Questions


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart