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i'm building a SP2013 two tier lab farm, where two load balanced servers will host all services (wfe, application, search, userprofiles etc). In order to obtain complete fault tolerance for the application (DB is already clustered), i would have all the services running on each of them. I imagine a web request directed from the load balancer to one of the sp servers, and this server being completely autonomous in doin all the job. In normal conditions workload will be balanced between the two servers, in case of a fault the working server will do all the work.

Is this configuration possible and advisable? Searching the forum i find somebody suggesting WFE and AS running on both servers but Search service just on one of them. I dont understand if this is only for performance reasons or if Search service cannot run simultaneously on the two servers

In my setup performance should not be a major issue since we'll have a maximum of 100 users

any help will be greatly appreciated! RL

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This configuration is certainly possible. You'll want to ensure that all of the services (with one exception) are running on both servers, and that the web applications are load balanced.

The exception is the user profile synchronisation service, which can only run on a single server in the farm, and so cannot be highly available. The user profile service itself however can be run on two (or more) servers in a farm, it's only the sync service that can only be run on a single server.

For the other services, get them configured, then ensure that the service instance is started on both of the SharePoint servers in the farm. Note that for a SharePoint 2013 farm, the servers are not totally autonomous insofar as the server that the user request arrives at may call the other server for data from a service application. If one of the servers in the farm fails however, then the service application load balancer (built into SharePoint) would detect that only a single instance of the service was running, and would automatically call that.

The search services can be run on both servers in the farm. This will spread both the indexing load across the servers in the farm (i.e. both servers will be asked to perform indexing duty) and the query load across both servers as well. It is important to be careful when specifying the topology of the search components that the query partition is the same on each server, i.e. each server contains a full copy of the index so that if one of the servers in the farm fails, the second server still has all of the index information and so can provide a full set of query results to the end users.

There are some very useful diagrams available at https://technet.microsoft.com which can help in determining the most appropriate topology for your farm, in particular 'Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 architecture', 'Streamlined Topologies for SharePoint 2013', and 'Traditional Topologies for SharePoint 2013'.

  • Clear and detailed! justo a couple clarification – RadioLontra Jan 21 '17 at 20:39
  • Pardon i submitted the incomplete comment. Here it is: Clear and detailed! just a clarification when you say "ensure that the web applications are load balanced", you refer to the sharepoint "internal" load balancing? If i got it right, the external loadbalancer distribuites the web requests between the two servers, but once the request has reached the WFE it can choose to have it processed by the local AS as well as by the other server AS, based on the internal load balancing configuration does it work this way? – RadioLontra Jan 21 '17 at 20:54
  • The web applications require an external load balancer, but the service applications are load balanced internally by SharePoint itself. Once the web request reaches the WFE (i.e. the content web application), if additional processing is required (let's say Excel Services, for example), then the WFE server that is processing the request, calls the internal service application load balancer to ask which servers are available running Excel Services, and then one of those is used to provide the information. In a two server farm running Excel Services on both servers, this could be either server. – Andy Dawson Jan 22 '17 at 18:38

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