Standard Web Cluster

The most typical Application Center clustering scenario is a Web cluster serving Web sites and local COM+ components. Such clusters can be distinguished by their load balancing implementation, whether they use NLB or other load balancing devices. The advantages of clustering multiple servers together include:

  • Failover protection— each member is essentially a backup of the cluster controller.

  • Increased application availability— with multiple members serving sites and applications, clients can experience uninterrupted service even through failures or problems on individual members.

  • Increased scalability— you can add and remove members without affecting client availability.

  • Increased performance— client workload is distributed throughout the cluster, so that each individual member receives less load, which enhances performance.

While the advantages of using clusters are numerous, the tasks associated with cluster administration can become complex and labor intensive. Application Center removes many of these obstacles and provides the following capabilities:

  • Quick setup and configuration of clusters— the New Cluster Wizard greatly simplifies the process of creating a cluster.

  • Simplified cluster administration— you can manage multiple cluster members from a single computer, even remotely.

  • Seamless integration with NLB— You can use Application Center to configure and manage NLB.

  • Cluster synchronization— you can synchronize all members by setting an interval for periodic synchronization or manually initiating synchronization (this includes synchronizing server configuration, application content, and configuration, and network settings for NLB).

  • CLB capabilities— you can load balance components for COM+ applications and process COM+ applications on designated application servers.

  • Simplified application deployment— you can use the Deployment Wizard to deploy applications.

  • Monitoring capabilities— you can view the health of and performance for members, applications, and clusters.

  • Automation of administrative tasks— you can use Application Center monitors and the command-line tool for automating common administrative tasks, such as restarting services or setting members online and offline.

NLB Web Clusters

With NLB, Application Center provides seamless integration such that NLB cluster creation and member addition is simplified and common administrative tasks, such as setting members online and offline, can be handled through the Application Center user interface. NLB dynamically distributes client workload as members are set online and offline. The following illustration shows a typical one-tier Web cluster that is running NLB.

To increase performance and availability, you can add members to the cluster by using the Add Cluster Member Wizard.

Non-NLB Web Clusters

For typical non-NLB clusters, an external load balancing device is used to distribute incoming client requests. The following illustration shows a typical one-tier, non-NLB Web cluster.

To create a cluster that uses an external load balancing device, in the New Cluster Wizard, select Other load balancing. For information about third-party load balancing integration, see the Microsoft Application Center 2000 Resource Kit.

  • For more information about creating a Web cluster, see Create a Web Cluster.

  • For more information about NLB, see Using NLB.

  • For more information about activating requests for COM+ applications on remote COM+ application clusters, see Using CLB.

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