Welcome to the Microsoft Application Center 2000 Resource Kit, which provides detailed information about Microsoft Application Center 2000 (Application Center) version 1.0. This information is intended as a supplement to the online documentation that is included with Application Center version 1.0. It does not replace that documentation as the primary source for learning how to use the products specific features.

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About the Application Center Resource Kit
Resource Kit Compact Disc
Resource Kit Support Policy

About the Application Center Resource Kit

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This book contains the following information.

Chapter 1, Scaling Business Web Sites with ApplicationCenter,  provides an overview of the middleware server tier and shows where Application Center is positioned in the Microsoft Windows Server System. It presents the challenges, issues, and solutions for building applications that are both available and scalable—by using Application Center.

Chapter 2, Feature Overview,  provides an overview of Application Center and examines the customer requirements that influenced its design. Following this, the product feature set is presented, illustrating how Application Center addresses the server farm scalability and management issues identified in Chapter 1.

Chapter 3, ApplicationCenter Architecture,  describes the product architecture and identifies the key underlying technologies that Application Center uses to support its feature set.

Chapter 4, Cluster Services,  covers cluster creation techniques for creating Web, COM+ routing, and COM+ application clusters. Additionally, administrative tasks, such as adding and removing members, are described. It also provides detailed information about the events and processing activities that occur when the different cluster services are used, and discusses how Application Center provides out-of-box cluster set-up and configuration.

Chapter 5, Load Balancing,  provides detailed information about each of the Application Center load-balancing features that are supported, Network Load Balancing (NLB) and Component Load Balancing (CLB), as well as how they can be configured. It uses different cluster topologies to illustrate how the different load-balancing options work and interact with each other. In addition, it provides an inside look at the sequence of events and processing activities that occur when you use either load-balancing option.

Chapter 6, Synchronization and Deployment,  describes two key activities, keeping cluster members synchronized and deploying content. It shows you how to create Application Center applications and specify the resources associated with these applications. It also provides in-depth coverage of the events and processing activities that take place when each feature is used, as well as information about configuring and using the synchronization and deployment features.

Chapter 7, Monitoring,  provides conceptual information about monitoring and eventing activities and describes the primary underlying technologies that Application Center uses, Microsoft Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and Microsoft Health Monitor 2.1. It also provides an overview of the Application Center monitoring feature, as well as detailed information about event and performance logging.

Chapter 8, Creating Clusters and Deploying Applications,  is a step-by-step guide to creating Web and COM+ application clusters and using a staging cluster to deploy applications to the test clusters that are created. Multitier and phased deployment strategies are presented and assessed. Two sample applications (included on the Resource Kit companion CD) are used to illustrate these activities.

Chapter 9, Working with Monitors and Events,  provides detailed information about using Windows, Health Monitor, and Application Center events for cluster monitoring. It includes the event schema that is implemented for all aspects of the Application Center feature set (for example, load balancing and synchronization). In addition, it describes how a typical monitor is constructed and how it works, and shows you how to customize a monitor, install the sample monitors that are provided, and create a new monitor for a cluster member or the cluster as a whole.

Chapter 10, Working with Performance Counters,  discusses issues involved in optimizing and tuning the cluster infrastructure, and covers the key performance counters that you can use for accomplishing these goals. It provides some guidelines for avoiding and alleviating hardware, operating system, and application bottlenecks. It also describes how to use Application Center performance monitoring on a member or cluster-wide basis and use the Web Application Stress (WAS) tool to simulate load on a cluster.

Chapter 11, Working with the Command-Line Tool and Scripts,  provides an overview of the Windows Script Host (WSH) and detailed information about the Application Center command-line tool, AC.EXE. In addition to giving detailed syntax information about the command-line tool, it gives examples of how to use this tool and includes scripts samples that illustrate how you can use scripting and AC.EXE to automate cluster tasks.

Chapter 12, Security: For Administrators and Developers,  identifies the leading security issues for Internet and intranet applications and provides information about security methodology and practices. The major infrastructure vulnerabilities are identified and supplemented with information about the security design that is implemented by Application Center. In addition, an extensive resource list identifies the leading sources of computer security information.

Chapter 13, Third-Party Load Balancer Support,  addresses how to enable and use selected third-party load balancers with an Application Center cluster. In addition to conceptual information, configuration instructions are given and the required scripts and programs are included on the Resource Kit companion CD.

Appendix A, A Blueprint for Building Web Sites Using the Microsoft Windows Server System,  describes the use of Microsoft technologies, in particular the Windows Server System, to build the infrastructure for a scalable, available, secure, and manageable site in the most cost-effective and time-efficient way possible. It identifies the key issues and discusses the available options for constructing Web-based enterprise solutions.

Appendix B, Network Load Balancing Technical Overview,  provides detailed information about the various aspects of the NLB technology. This information covers the NLB architecture, functionality, performance, and scalability.

Appendix C, The Art and Science of Web Server Tuning with IIS 5.0,  discusses the major performance issues in an Internet Information Services 5.0 (IIS) Web site environment. It steps you through the process of identifying server and application bottlenecks and recommends solutions for resolving performance problems. In addition, it provides detailed Web server and application tuning information, which includes specific configuration settings.

Appendix D, ApplicationCenter Status Events,  is a detailed event list that includes the event identifier, type, and description for all the events that are specific to Application Center, such as load balancing and synchronization.

Appendix E, Sample Performance Charts,  is a collection of performance charts that were a result of using the WAS tool to apply load on the various cluster topologies described in Chapter 10.

Appendix F, Resource Kit Software Tools,  provides an overview of the collection of software tools and scripts that are provided on the Resource Kit companion CD. This overview describes the primary function of each tool and provides installation or usage instructions.

Appendix G, Managing IIS IP Bindings,  describes how to correctly apply multiple IIS IP bindings for servers in an Application Center environment.

Resource Kit Compact Disc

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The Microsoft Application Center 2000 Resource Kit companion CD includes a variety of tools, components, and utilities to help you work more efficiently with the different elements in an Application Center environment and the different aspects of cluster administration. Sample applications, scripts, and the source code to some of the utilities are included. The source code serves to illustrate how you can write similar utilities and applications. Documentation for each tool is included when you install it from the Resource Kit companion CD.

Resource Kit Support Policy

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Microsoft does not support the software supplied in the Microsoft Application Center 2000 Resource Kit. Microsoft does not guarantee the performance of the tools, response times for answering questions, or bug fixes for the tools. However, Microsoft does provide a way for customers who purchase the Microsoft Application Center 2000 Resource Kit to report any problems with the software and receive feedback for such issues. To report any issues or problems, send e-mail to rkinput@microsoft.com. This e-mail address is only for issues related to the Microsoft Application Center 2000 Resource Kit. For issues related to Application Center 2000 (version 1.0), see the support information included with the product. For more general feedback on Application Center 2000 (version 1.0), and to suggest product enhancements, send e-mail to ACWish@microsoft.com.


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