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Setting up Network Load Balancer (NLB) in a SharePoint Farm

Adding the Network Load Balance feature to Windows 2012 Server

By default, Windows Server 2012 does not show the Network Load Balancing Manager. In order to have it displayed, you will need to install it from the Server Manager.

  1. To begin, go to Start > Administrative Tools and select Server Manager.
  2. In Server Manager, select the Dashboard tab, and click Add roles and features.
  3. In the Add roles and features Wizard, select Before You Begin and click Next.
  4. In the Installation Type section, select the Role-based or feature-based installation radio button and click Next.
  5. In the Server Selection section, select the Select a server from the server pool radio button and click Next.
  6. In the Server Roles section, click Next.
  7. In the Features section, select the Network Load Balancing checkbox.
  8. A new Add Roles and Features Wizard pop-up window will appear.  In it, click the Add Features button.
  9. By default, the Network Load Balancing option will be checked. Click Next.
  10. In the Confirmation section, click the Install button.
  11. In the Results section, click the Close button.
  12. When you go to Start, you will now see the Network Load Balancing Manager program displayed.

 

Installing Network Load Balancing on WFE1 in a Three Server Farm

Server 1: MS SQL Server 2012
Server 2: Web Front End #1 (WFE1)
Server 3: Web Front End #2 (WFE2)
Unlike previous versions of NLB the new version has a central manager application that you can use to create a cluster from a single machine. Gone are the hassles of having to manually configure each machine manually – you can do it all from a single machine over the network which is a welcome change.

Note: When managing an NLB cluster, you get this warning:

Running NLB Manager on a system with all networks bound to NLB might not work as expected. If all interfaces are set to run NLB in “unicast” mode, NLB Manager will fail to connect to hosts…

You get a warning saying that NLB might not work as expected because you are trying to manage the NLB from the server with NLB on it. Manage the NLB server using NLB Manager on another server and you won’t get the warning. Alternatively, ignore the warning because it probably won’t matter anyway

Here in part two, we’ll start with installing Network Load Balancing on WFE1. Before you begin, make sure that each server in the farm is using a static IP address. Do NOT use DHCP.

  1. On WFE1, go to Administrative Tools and select Network Load Balancing Manager.
  2. In Network Load Balancing Manager, right-click Network Load Balancing Clusters and select New Cluster.
  3. In the New Cluster window, enter the WFE1 server name into the Host text box and click Connect.
  4. In this example, I have entered the server name chauo151.
  5. After you have successfully connected, the available Interface names and Interface IPs will be displayed. Select the Interface where you will be configuring the new cluster and click Next.
  6. In the New Cluster: Host Parameters window, input the following:
    1. Priority drop-down menu: Select 1
    2. Default state drop-down menu: Select Started
  7. Click Next.
  8. In the New Cluster: Cluster IP Addresses window, click Add.
  9. Next, you will need to set the parameters for your new cluster.  To begin, in the Add IP Address window, select the radio button Add IPv4 address, and pick an address that has not been used yet. Once finished, click OK. Click Next.
  10. Next, you will need to input your Full Internet Name.   You will need to use a name that is different from your server name.
  11. Under Cluster Operation Mode, select the Multi Cast option and click Next.
  12. Click Finish.
  13. In the Network Load Balancing Manager window, you will see the WFE1 server name listed.

 

Installing Network Load Balancing on WFE2 in a Three Server Farm

  • Server 1: MS SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Server 2: Web Front End #1 (WFE1)
  • Server 3: Web Front End #2 (WFE2)

Here in part three, we’ll start with installing Network Load Balancing on WFE2. Before you begin, make sure that each server in the farm is using a static IP address. Do NOT use DHCP. On WFE2, go to Administrative Tools and select Network Load Balancing Manager.

  1. In Network Load Balancing Manager, right-click Network Load Balancing Clusters and select Connect to Existing.
  2. In the Host text box, enter the Cluster IP Address which you used in part three and click Connect. The Cluster name and Cluster IP will be displayed. Click Finish.
  3. You will now see the server name of WFE1 listed under your Network Load Balancing Clusters.  Highlight the existing cluster and right-click it.  Select Add Host to Cluster.
  4. Enter the WFE2 server name and click Connect.
  5. After you have successfully connected, the available Interface names and Interface IPs will be displayed. Select the Interface where you will be configuring the new cluster and click Next.
  6. In the New Cluster: Host Parameters window, input the following:
    1. Priority drop-down menu: Select 2
    2. Default state drop-down menu: Select Started and Click Next.
  7. Click Finish.

In the Network Load Balancing Manager window, you will see the server names for WFE1 and WFE2 listed.

 

How to Disable the Loopback Checking Feature

  1. To set the DisableLoopbackCheck registry key, you will need to do the following:
  2. Click Start > Run and type regedit.  Click OK.
  3. In the Registry Editor window, locate and click on the following registry key:
  4. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa
  5. Right-click Lsa and select New.  From there, click QWORD Value.
  6. Type DisableLoopbackCheck and then press ENTER.
  7. Right-click DisableLoopbackCheck and then click Modify.
  8. In the Edit QWORD Value window, type 1in the Value data box and then click OK.
  9. Quit the Registry Editor.
  10. You will now need to restart your computer including WFE1, WFE2 and SQL Server.

 

How to Configure Alternate Access Mappings in SharePoint

Here we’ll show you how to configure Alternate Access Mappings in SharePoint. To begin, open the Central Administration page and select Application Management.  Under Web Applications, select Configure alternate access mappings.

  • Select the Web application that you want the Network Load Balancing you configured. Under URL protocol, host and port, enter the URL that you set. 
  • Click OK.

The Alternate Access Mappings page will display as follows:

 

How to Run the Load Balancing URL on a Client Computer

  1. Here we’ll show you how to run the Network Load Balancing URL on a client computer.
  2. To begin, you may notice that the new Cluster IP address is not resolved by your domain name server (DNS).  To remedy this, you will need to add it to the hosts file of a local client computer.
  3. To do this, go to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\host and open the hosts file.

 

How to Run the Load Balancing URL on a Client Computer

Using host files

To begin, you may notice that the new Cluster IP address is not resolved by your domain name server (DNS).  To remedy this, you will need to add it to the hosts file of a local client computer.

To do this, go to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\host and open the hosts file. It should return the Cluster IP address.

Using DNA entry

Create an entry in DNS for the cluster. Then set the binding for the site via inetmgr (intranet-p1.superman.com). If you haven’t done this then modify Alternate Access Mapping for the default site collection 

 

How to Verify that Load on Your Network is Being Correctly Balanced

To begin, go to either WFE1 or WFE2. Next, go to Administrative Tools and select Network Load Balancing Manager. Enter the Cluster IP address.  In this example, we’ll be using the following address: 172.16.17.118  Right click on WFE1 and select Control Host.  Select Stop. After you click on Stop, you should see the following: Next, to verify that the load on your network is being correctly balanced, enter your load balanced URL (in this example: http://loadbalancing.chau.local) into a client browser. 

Note:  You can’t do this test on WFE1 or WFE2 as the IIS will resolve the SharePoint URL because of the mapping changes in IIS.  This test must be done on a client browser, a machine other than WFE1 or WFE2.  Network Load Balance is not applied when you run this test on WFE1 or WFE2

When you do this, you should hit WFE2 (since WFE1 has been stopped).   When your network is correctly balanced, you will see that even if a server is down, you are still able to access your site.

To further test your Network Load Balancing, go into the Network Load Balancing Manager and stop both servers (WFE1 and WFE2).  You will notice that when both are stopped, you are not able to access your site

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Posted: Mar 12, 2018,
Categories: SharePoint & EPM,
Comments: 0,
Author: Urish Arora
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