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I'm new to Sharepoint admin so my question might be noobish, but I'm trying to find out if I can setup two SP servers in a fram to handle the same WebApp without extra tools (like NLB).

The ideia is simple, I have and external dns record pointed to one of the servers, and if that server is down I have to change the DNS to get to the other server.

There should (and probaby is) a simple way to do a "proxy" inside the farm so that if one of the machines is down the other handles the requests.

Thanks

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3 Answers 3

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Welcome to SharePoint! It's a wonderful world filled with excitement ;)

You will need to use a load balancer of some sort. Microsoft has a soft version that can be configured on Windows 2008. I had bad luck with it, I highly recommend a separate appliance.

I like your idea for having the farm handle the requests, but that can't happen technically. If WFE1 receives web requests and it dies, how does the farm know to send the traffic to WFE2? It won't know about the traffic because its point of contact WFE1 is now dead. If SP was to support this, it would need a 3rd WFE as a witness or as a NLB to handle the requests.

HTH

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Thanks for your answer. In my searches I came across a SP service called application discovery and load balancer service application. But does'ne seem to be must information out there. It's suppose to provide basic load balancing in a round-robin fashion. I agree that is not a fool proof solution, but it seems to be sufficient for what I want. Do you know of more info sources regarding this service? –  Ricardo Gomes Feb 27 '12 at 22:03
    
I don't know exactly, but I believe that service is for SP's failover services. You can specify 2 SQL servers for your databases, one to failover to. And/or application servers, if you have 2 servers running excel services, that service handles dividing up the traffic between the two. –  David Lozzi Feb 28 '12 at 12:10

have you checked out DNS round Robin, assuming your Server are Windows 2008 R2.

So external Access ---> Router---->TMG/ISA/DNS------>WFE1 ------>WFE2

But alert: You may have issues with this. Recommend Round Robin and then NLB. What about looking at some open source Linux Load balancers if you want some free solutions.

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Thanks for you answer. Yes that would be a goog solution, but in this case another team is in charge of networking infrastructure, and I was trying to find a solution that would work using just the farm. But apparently I was mislead by the notion of farm in SP. It seems that there should be a way to direct loads to different machines in the farm without the need for external products (especially considering SP's price tag) –  Ricardo Gomes Feb 27 '12 at 23:39

This depends on what kind of fault tolerance you're talking about. SharePoint does have the integrated App Discovery/Load Balancer. This will let you run things like the Excel Services on multiple SP servers in the same farm and will automatically balance requests between them (or not send requests to a server that is down).

In order to load balance and provide FT for web requests, you need to use Windows NLB or an external load balancer.

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