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I have a SP 2010 farm with a 3-tier structure consisting of 1 DB server, 1 App Server and 1 Web Front End. When I create a Web New Web Application called "Search_WebApp", I notice that it creates the Web Application on BOTH the APP server and WFE. Right now I added a DNS entry so that all requests to "search" get redirected to IIS on the WFE. A few questions about this:

  1. Why did SP create the Web Application on both the APP Server and WFE? Why not just the WFE?
  2. Is a DNS entry and host headers the best/only way to force traffic to the WFE? I don't want web traffice going to the App Server.
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

1) Because the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application service is running on your App Layer. Go to Central Admin -> Manage services on server, select your App server, then stop this service.

2) DNS entries are the way to target a WFE for end user access. End users will only go to the WFE DNS is pointed at (or if DNS is pointed at a VIP, to the load balanced WFEs).

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Trevor's answer is 100% correct..just adding another option :) You can also force traffic to your web front end server using hardware load balancers. I highly recommend F5 BigIP's. Here's a deployment guide if you are considering making the big purchase. –  ajbillin85 Oct 29 '12 at 19:36
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If you're running crawl on the app server then I'd keep the Web App Service running and change the host file on it, such that it uses itself as WFE –  Per Jakobsen Oct 29 '12 at 20:13
    
For SharePoint 2010, changing the host file isn't required. You have to set the Web Application's SiteDataServers property: blogs.technet.com/b/nathbr/archive/2011/02/22/… –  Trevor Seward Oct 29 '12 at 21:31
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