Zeus is offering network administrators the chance to play Dr Evil, thanks to the map-based user interface for its new global load balancers.

The map - which would not look out of place in a super-villain's secret HQ - shows the world and its timezones, overlaid in real-time with traffic and site performance data from your WAN.

Sadly, it won't help you take over the world, but product manager Owen Garratt said it will show where your users are and which of your data centres they're currently routed to.

Called ZXTM GLB, the global load balancer is based on the existing Zeus ZXTM traffic manager technology, but Garrett said that it is a new piece of software, not just a ZXTM add-on. Like other GLBs, it works by controlling the DNS service to route users to the data centre that will give them the best response.

It's available in two versions, one which provides fail-over between data centres for disaster-recovery, and another which adds the ability to load-balance.

"Load balancing is fairly straightforward, the challenge is running the same services in multiple data centres - keeping the applications and databases in sync," Garratt said. "Some apps can run OK in multiple locations, for others the solution would be fail-over mode."

He added that Zeus has made a conscious decision not to tie its GLB to its traffic manager or to any specific DNS service, so it should work with other DNS and server load-balancing gear.

"You would install the GLB on a dedicated server - physical or virtual - or buy it as an appliance," he added. "Every data centre needs to have one, or preferably two for redundancy, so if you have three data centres you'd require six licences."

The basic disaster-recovery version of GLB costs from £4900 for the software alone, to £14,500 for a high-end appliance. The load balancing software adds £2000 per system.