Providing Redundancy and Load Balancing

Updated: November 14, 2006

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

To ensure that users can acquire licenses and publish content whenever necessary, it is strongly recommended that you add more than one RMS server to your root and licensing-only clusters. At a minimum, this means that you should deploy a root cluster that consists of at least two servers. If you also deploy a separate licensing-only cluster server to support the specific licensing needs of an individual group in your organization, you should also deploy at least two servers in the licensing-only cluster.

The multiple physical servers of the root cluster or of any licensing-only cluster constitute a “Web farm” behind a shared URL, or virtual address. If your organization uses a server farm, you can integrate RMS into whichever technique you are using for virtual addressing, such as round-robin DNS, the Network Load Balancing service, or a dedicated hardware solution.

In addition to load balancing, virtual addressing is beneficial when you use it with RMS because it removes dependencies on any one physical server for certification or licensing services. No end-user computer requires direct access to any single server that is in a cluster.