Load Balancing Design (Windows SharePoint Services 2.0)
One of the objectives of the Internet Platform and Operations group in testing and hosting Windows SharePoint Services was to validate that the popular software and hardware load balancing solutions work well with Windows SharePoint Services in a server farm. To achieve that objective, the group set up load balancing on the server farm by using common solutions.
As a software load balancing solution, the Internet Platform and Operations group chose the Network Load Balancing (NLB) technology in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 after testing NLB in various intranet and extranet scenarios and verifying that it works well with Windows SharePoint Services.
F5 Networks and Cisco Systems are two common providers of load balancing hardware. F5 BIG-IP devices were selected because they were readily available and provide the needed load balancing features with a friendly user interface. In addition to basic load balancing, BIG-IP controllers provide more features, including a reporting feature and IP address filtering. The reporting feature provides an interface that allows administrators to monitor the current and maximum connections to the system, a pool, or a server, and to monitor bits moving in or out at the server and pool level. Using BIG-IP IP address filtering allows administrators to deny connections going to or coming from specific IP addresses.
The following sections provide information about how the Internet Platform and Operations group configured load balancing by using the BIG-IP solution they chose. The principles described should be useful to your deployment, even if you do not choose the same solutions. For information about configuring load balancing by using other solutions, see the documentation for the specific software and hardware solutions you choose.