Building a fault-tolerant & load-balanced fileserver using 2 WSSR2 - Storage

This is a discussion on Building a fault-tolerant & load-balanced fileserver using 2 WSSR2 - Storage ; Hi, I am in the planning process for a fileserver that will primarily be used for hosting the files of a 100+ user Citrix terminal server farm. Having read the whitepapers on Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 (WSSR2) I wonder ...

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Thread: Building a fault-tolerant & load-balanced fileserver using 2 WSSR2

  1. Building a fault-tolerant & load-balanced fileserver using 2 WSSR2

    Hi,

    I am in the planning process for a fileserver that will primarily be used
    for hosting the files of a 100+ user Citrix terminal server farm.

    Having read the whitepapers on Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 (WSSR2) I
    wonder whether it makes sense to build a failure-tolerant and
    load-balanced fileserver by connecting 2 WSSR2-machines locally in a LAN
    and letting each of these servers replicate the others filespace via the
    new DFS-R/RDC features. Failure tolerance and load-balancing would result
    from the features inherent in DFS.

    In this approach, both servers are active. This is opposed to another
    approach that uses windows clustering, since the latter would leave one of
    the 2 machines passive. Moreover, the application of windows clustering
    seems to be complex and demanding.

    There are voices pointing out that DFS was made for the use in WANs, not
    in LANs. Thus they predict that the above approach does not yield enough
    performance in a LAN, especially when large files are involved.

    Does this hold in R2, that is said to include greatly enhanced replication
    features?

    Any comments, tips, suggestions are warmly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Lars
    --
    Dr. Lars Kühnel
    Rechenzentrum der Universität Kiel

  2. Re: Building a fault-tolerant & load-balanced fileserver using 2 WSSR2

    1) Windows clustering supports Active/Active as well; and is a lot easier to
    setup than it used to be.

    2) The choice to use clustering vs replication for High Availability really
    boils down to time tolerance. Meaning that with a replication solution
    there will always be a lag between file update and replication. Depending
    on the environment this could be a few seconds to a few hours. If lag isn't
    a concern then replication is (as you point out) probably easier to deploy.
    Also, you can deploy to multiple locations and/or loadbalance. If lag time
    tolerance is very low or not an option then clustering is the way to go.
    Again, since MSCS supports Active/Active you can loadbalance the shares.


    Pat


    "Lars Kühnel" wrote in
    message news:020BCC07-993A-4711-AF2A-3EC2B37C2874@microsoft.com...
    > Hi,
    >
    > I am in the planning process for a fileserver that will primarily be used
    > for hosting the files of a 100+ user Citrix terminal server farm.
    >
    > Having read the whitepapers on Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 (WSSR2) I
    > wonder whether it makes sense to build a failure-tolerant and
    > load-balanced fileserver by connecting 2 WSSR2-machines locally in a LAN
    > and letting each of these servers replicate the others filespace via the
    > new DFS-R/RDC features. Failure tolerance and load-balancing would result
    > from the features inherent in DFS.
    >
    > In this approach, both servers are active. This is opposed to another
    > approach that uses windows clustering, since the latter would leave one of
    > the 2 machines passive. Moreover, the application of windows clustering
    > seems to be complex and demanding.
    >
    > There are voices pointing out that DFS was made for the use in WANs, not
    > in LANs. Thus they predict that the above approach does not yield enough
    > performance in a LAN, especially when large files are involved.
    >
    > Does this hold in R2, that is said to include greatly enhanced replication
    > features?
    >
    > Any comments, tips, suggestions are warmly appreciated.
    >
    > Thanks!
    >
    > Lars
    > --
    > Dr. Lars Kühnel
    > Rechenzentrum der Universität Kiel



  3. Re: Building a fault-tolerant & load-balanced fileserver using 2 W

    Hi Pat,

    thanks for your reply. You wrote:

    > 1) Windows clustering supports Active/Active as well; and is a lot easier to
    > setup than it used to be.


    Can you point me to infos/literature about using an active/active windows
    cluster for file-serving?

    > 2) The choice to use clustering vs replication for High Availability really
    > boils down to time tolerance. Meaning that with a replication solution
    > there will always be a lag between file update and replication. Depending
    > on the environment this could be a few seconds to a few hours. If lag isn't
    > a concern then replication is (as you point out) probably easier to deploy.
    > Also, you can deploy to multiple locations and/or loadbalance. If lag time
    > tolerance is very low or not an option then clustering is the way to go.
    > Again, since MSCS supports Active/Active you can loadbalance the shares.


    The fileserver will be used for hosting the files of a (say) 100 office user
    Citrix terminal server farm. The component servers of the (replicating or
    clustered) fileserver (an the terminal servers) will be locally connected
    over a fast LAN.
    Would you say that the requirements of such an environment will be
    reasonably fulfilled by the replication solution?

    Thanks in advance!

    Lars


  4. Re: Building a fault-tolerant & load-balanced fileserver using 2 W

    Delayed respnse (sorry, I missed the posting):
    1) I would start with TechNet:
    http://technet2.microsoft.com/Window...5ef921033.mspx

    2) Maybe. With a replicated environment you basically have a
    multiple-master scenario -i.e. each change by a given user will replicate
    around. you get no file locking. With a clustered scenario you can
    file-lock. Neither is really universally better - but is something to
    consider.

    Pat

    "Lars Kühnel" wrote in
    message news:ADE504B6-8FB1-43DF-9D7D-3F55FE45CE97@microsoft.com...
    > Hi Pat,
    >
    > thanks for your reply. You wrote:
    >
    >> 1) Windows clustering supports Active/Active as well; and is a lot easier
    >> to
    >> setup than it used to be.

    >
    > Can you point me to infos/literature about using an active/active windows
    > cluster for file-serving?
    >
    >> 2) The choice to use clustering vs replication for High Availability
    >> really
    >> boils down to time tolerance. Meaning that with a replication solution
    >> there will always be a lag between file update and replication.
    >> Depending
    >> on the environment this could be a few seconds to a few hours. If lag
    >> isn't
    >> a concern then replication is (as you point out) probably easier to
    >> deploy.
    >> Also, you can deploy to multiple locations and/or loadbalance. If lag
    >> time
    >> tolerance is very low or not an option then clustering is the way to go.
    >> Again, since MSCS supports Active/Active you can loadbalance the shares.

    >
    > The fileserver will be used for hosting the files of a (say) 100 office
    > user
    > Citrix terminal server farm. The component servers of the (replicating or
    > clustered) fileserver (an the terminal servers) will be locally connected
    > over a fast LAN.
    > Would you say that the requirements of such an environment will be
    > reasonably fulfilled by the replication solution?
    >
    > Thanks in advance!
    >
    > Lars
    >



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