I will have 2 SP servers in 1 farm and the customer asked that the servers be on the NLB. I installed the services and web app on the 1st server and the question is:

Should I install the same services (Search, UPS, MMS) on the 2nd server after joining the farm, or it will be running on the 1st server only?

Also should the service installations be changed to reflect the 2nd server or NLB will handle the load?

1 Answer 1


It's a good practice to implement a form of load balancing from a failover perspective, but not necessarily ideal if you only have two servers in your farm. As an example, if there's a high search load, then you may want that second box dedicated to services. It's not generally the best practice to run web and app roles on all of the servers in your farm. It can certainly be done, but only if you have a light load on them. You would typically run services (UPS, MMD, Search, etc.) on app tier servers where there's no web traffic load, and run your web applications on web tier servers.

In most cases you're running load balancing on the web tier servers only, and letting SharePoint manage the services of the app tier boxes. As an example, you can run MMD on multiple application servers, and SharePoint will do some internal management of those across all servers where they're running.

Search has multiple components to it (index partitions, query components, and crawl components). Different pieces should run on different servers, depending on if that box is an app tier box or a web tier box.

If their driver for NLB is for redundancy/failover, then the better approach is likely to add a second web tier box, not simply load balancing the two boxes you have now. Every environment is different, so just make sure you understand the loads and the expectation of the environments. NLB of web tier boxes will give you some redundancy of serving up web application content (though we haven't talked about SQL redundancy yet). If there's also a redundancy requirement on search then your best model would be 4 servers (2x web and 2x app) with a search crawl component on each web server and a query component on each app server. This would give you the ability to keep search operational with the loss of an app tier box. This 4 server model (plus SQL) is arguably the most common SharePoint deployment. Single server deployments aren't supported, and a two-server deployment is really a bare minimum architecture. As soon as we start talking about the need for redundancy, you've pretty much talked yourself up to 3-4 servers depending on the level of redundancy you need.

Also note the minimum system requirements. In a three tier server farm, your minimums are going to be 12gb memory and 4 cores. That's likely insufficient if you're looking at running all of the services and all of the web applications on every server. Those minimums assume you're spreading the load across web tier and app tier boxes.

  • thanks webdes03 for your reply. for SQL i will use AOAG on 2 servers to cover redundancy, all server have more than 12 RAM. for SP2013, i know that NLB is for the web tier servers only, but i am limited to 2 Servers with NLB and don't want to disappoint my customer to ask another server, so what is the best approach here? am i required to install all services on the 2 servers ,how to install the same services (MMS-UPS-search) on both servers? if so, will the services have to have same names,..? also is this means to create the same web applications on the 2 severs as well?
    – user28393
    Jun 8, 2014 at 15:21
  • I would suggest you start with the basics of SharePoint Farm Topology (technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/fp123594.aspx). If your servers are in a SharePoint farm, you wouldn't be creating another copy of the service applications, you'd just be starting the service on a second server. When you provision a Web Application in SharePoint, it will automatically provision that web application on any server with the web application role running, so you shouldn't be manually creating duplicate web/service applications if your farm is setup correctly.
    – webdes03
    Jun 9, 2014 at 13:36
  • webdes03, i want to handle web& apps on server A&B, and not sure by your approach all Web and App roles balanced on the 2 servers in farm. for MMS, i had to run service on server B (i'm not sure if this is the correct way) for search service, all the search components are located on "server A".on "server B"i can start 2 search services manually Search Host Controller Service & Search Query and Site Settings Service. however "SharePoint Server Search" service point to Server A only and has no pointer to server B on the topology.
    – user28393
    Jun 19, 2014 at 15:19
  • If you want to run MMS on both servers, you would just start the Managed Metadata Service on both servers (Central Administration -> Services on Server). User Profile Services will have a server dedicated to sync operations (you can serve profiles from both but the synchronization/import can only be run from one box). For search you'll need to define the search topology. You can place query and crawl nodes on each server, and if you want to, setup separate index partitions also. Just to restate though, this isn't the best architecture, especially if you expect a lot of throughput with search.
    – webdes03
    Jun 20, 2014 at 12:20

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