I have a scenario that I can't seem to find a good solution to. I have two servers in my SharePoint farm, one of them is the legitimate web front end that external users connect to, the other is not publicly accessible and holds the databases and SQL reporting services integration.

The issue that I have is that on the first server the IIS web application directories were set up on the D drive, while on the second server the IIS directories are on the C drive. Normally this does not cause any issue at all, however when I try to deploy a custom solution it fails with the error:

SQLSERVER : https://mainapp : MainApp : Error: The web.config is invalid on this IIS Web Site: D:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\443\web.config

Where SQLSERVER is the second server in this deployment, which has the web config on the C drive. Because of the way this was set up, and the bureaucracy involved in changing it, this cannot be changed; and as it stand now, I cannot deploy solutions to the farm because they always fail with this error. It is evident that SharePoint looks in the same place for the web config on every server that extends that web application.

Given this scenario, I have two questions:
1) Is it possible either through AAMs or another mechanism to tell SharePoint to look in different places on each server for the web config?
- or -
2) Is it possible to selectively retract the web application from individual servers in the farm?

Thanks in advance!

2 Answers 2


Have you tried the following?

In Central Admin > Operations > Services on Server

Select your SQL server and stop the Windows SharePoint Services Web Application service

(May have to select a custom role)

NB - I haven't had the chance to try this out on a farm, so tread carefully!

  • Dude, I would kiss you if I could. That is the perfect solution, thank you!
    – Infotekka
    May 10, 2011 at 14:50
  • Thank goodness for the distance of the internet ;-)
    – SHug
    May 10, 2011 at 14:59
  • Ha, no kidding! So for your own records or anyone else who is reading this, when I turned off the Web Application service, it did fully remove the WFE from that server, including the IIS web sites. This gave me the perfect result given my scenario, SharePoint is still installed on that SQL server but it is not running a WFE on there, so I have the SharePoint object model for SSRS but I do not have a a web front to manage on there.
    – Infotekka
    May 10, 2011 at 15:16

I would probably just uninstall sharepoint from the SQLSERVER box. MSSQL should try to use as much RAM as possible, to make your queries efficient, and coupled with sharepoint IIS and timer services, sounds like a performance hit you could do without. IIS can still live on the SQLSERVER box for the Reporting Services website.

And if performance starts to dive and you need another sharepoint server in the farm, get the bureaucracy to give you a new server for a completely new WFE.

  • Yeah, I agree completely about the performance hit and that's something that we've considered, the trouble with it though is if you are going to use SQL Server Reporting services in SharePoint integrated mode then SharePoint has to be installed on that machine as well; so we can't pull SP off of the SQL box completely. I also realize that this was a mistake in the topology planning to begin with but we can't change it now - although I won't make that mistake again. ;)
    – Infotekka
    May 10, 2011 at 2:57
  • can you install the report service on the primary WFE, and leave the db server with just the db engine (msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb510781.aspx) the second diagram of the Two-Computer Deployment
    – djeeg
    May 10, 2011 at 7:22
  • That would be the bad topology planning that we can't change now, so unfortunately no.
    – Infotekka
    May 10, 2011 at 14:30

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