Project Server Load Balancing Using F5

 Ryan Korock from F5 has shared the following suggestions when discussing load balancing for Project Server:

  • Load Balancing Method - Because of the nature of HTTP, any of the load balancing methods will work fairly well (this is not always true for other protocols). I suggest using least connections or predictive, as they start to take into account system performance when determining where to send the next connection.
  • Persistence – Although most Project Server deployments do not require persistence (aka stickyness), there is a small benefit of enabling it. A SharePoint server does build a small cache, and so getting sent to the same server as before may generate a small performance gain. I recommend using ‘cookie’ persistence, which will persist a user based upon http cookies. BIG-IP allows you to create a ‘backup’ method of source IP based persistence, which is also recommended.
  • Health Monitoring – I always recommend monitoring the servers at an ‘application layer’. This means building an http based monitor for the Project Server, which can give us more insight into the server health, beyond just a ping or tcp port check.

If you are using F5 hardware for load balancing the following are  recommended by Ryan:

  • Cookie persistence is a great way to make sure http users are resuming their sessions on the same front end they were originally sent to
  • Least Connection load balancing is also great option for sending new users to the currently least utilized servers

Last but not least F5 and HP have also published a recent study that could be of interest depending on your deployment topology: Deploying F5 Networks BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager with WebAccelerator for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007