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Firstly, I am a beginner in the SharePoint Infrastructure World; expect some dumb question :)

My new application design requires data to be cached, I am leaning towards using Appfabric caching.

In terms of Cache cluster setup (Install/configure), is it OK if the WFEs be re-used to be part of Cache cluster????

Feedback of any size is appreciated :)

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2 Answers

You could use WFE's to cache, but ensure you have enough RAM assigned in each of the servers to cater for the needs of App Fabric and SharePoint. Performance will drop if the servers run out of RAM and start paging. The main motivator to run on the same servers should be cost driven.

Some possible reasons to run App Fabric caching on seperate servers are in the case of:

  • Upgrades of software (patches etc) and downtime associated (if other systems are using AppFabric etc, not just SharePoint)
  • Possible conflicts of software (port numbers IIS Settings)
  • Having different configurations on different WFE's (AppFabric installed on one but not the other)
  • Seperation of administrative duties (is the SharePoint team always going to manage App Fabric?)
  • Scaling - will there always be a 1:1 SharePoint to AppFabric ratio, what happens when you install additional servers?
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Yep, very much cost driven :) thanks for your feedback –  Vamsi Nov 29 '11 at 16:34
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One other consideration is product support from Microsoft for AppFabric. Microsoft will only provide support for dedicated AppFabric servers. Combining multiple server applications on one server is not supported per this article:

From the article:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh334311.aspx

Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server cache hosts should be dedicated to the caching service, which means that those servers are not also used as application, web, or database servers. It is possible to use non-dedicated cache servers in a cluster, but this scenario is not supported. Despite this policy, if you decide to use non-dedicated cache hosts, make sure to properly estimate and test the configuration for each cache host to allow enough memory and network resources for both the caching service and all other services on the machines. Also understand that spikes in processor and network utilization by other services will negatively impact the performance and stability of the cache cluster. For more information, see Windows Server AppFabric Caching Capacity Planning Guide.

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