We have 4 servers available for the SharePoint Server 2010 installation.

I were thinking that 2 servers will be SQL servers with SQL Server failover clustering and the other 2 to have both Web Servers/Application Servers roles on each and they will be load balanced/network load-blanced.

Is this advisable and where can I find Installation explanation of a two-tier farm with this type of setup.

  • What type of search are you planning to use? Jul 10 '12 at 13:10
  • I am not sure. The built in search?
    – Marli
    Jul 10 '12 at 13:15
  • Well, there is SP Foundation, Standard and Enterprise (FAST). See here: sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-us/buy/Pages/… Jul 10 '12 at 13:19
  • We have the SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise edition.
    – Marli
    Jul 10 '12 at 13:28
  • 1
    This question is really broad. Your topology will depend on your requirements, like SLA's, amount of data you need to store, how many concurrent users you expect, intranet/extranet/internet etc etc. Already you can see how the comments are looking like a chat-room. Be more specific or I will have to close this Q as being not a real question Jul 10 '12 at 14:01

I agree with the two sql boxes being clustered or using availability groups (SQL 2012). The other two servers should be setup like you suggested, running both WFE and application services and in a load balanced configuration.

The issue is search. Typically for standard, I would have at least 1 additional server that is also a WFE but not in the load balancer. This server would index itself for search and the other two WFE's would run the query service. Since you don't have this extra server, you will need to pick one of your SP servers to perform this service. Search can be very intensive on your servers, so you will probably need to schedule full crawls and maybe even incrementals during non-peak times.

  • Thank you Steve, I will go and investigate now with all the information.
    – Marli
    Jul 10 '12 at 15:00

You should spend some time to carefully review this official deployment guide from Microsoft http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10009.

In order to automate the process and have something robust, I heavily suggest you to have a look on the codeplex project AutoSPInstaller which will help you to automate and ensure a proper deployment of your farm. Within the discussions and by looking on google for this project, you'll learn more topology wise than most of the official technical document.

Regarding search, this can be indeed a big resource hog (depending on how much data you'll handle and much of it should be crawled and how frequently) but you can create some rules on your load balancer to target a specific (opposite) WFE when the crawler is hammering the other ones or simply crawl at night.

I used to recommend a three tier farm (1 WFE / Search Query, 1 Apps Services Server, 1 SQL Server (or 2 clustered) but with the ressources that you have, a 2 tier will be better and will give you high availability without any single point of failure.


There are many variables involved here. From the information you provide, it is very difficult to come up with an ideal topology for you environment. You need to size up your environment. Many questions need to be answered, such as which service applications will you be using? Number of concurrent users? What is your goal in regards to latency, throughput, data scale, and reliability? to list a few.

But, the most important question is what is your business needs? Which we SP focus have no idea about.

My best advice is to start off by reading the following TechNet article: Performance and capacity management

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