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Building High Availability Windows Server™ 2003 SolutionsBuilding High Availability Windows Server™ 2003 SolutionsPreface
The year 2004 will long be remembered as the year that saw the beginning of a huge push by companies and government organizations to once and for all migrate to a Windows Server operating system underpinned by Active Directory and Windows Server 2003. What is also significant about this year is that it will be remembered as the year Microsoft finally ended all support for Windows NT 4.0, the grandfather of the current version of Windows Server that many IT professionals now regard as the Serengeti of the operating system jungle.
In 2004, many companies have finally made the move to ditch Novell NetWare. However, it is not simply enough to trade one operating system for another. Many IT shops going to Windows Server 2003 need to install and configure high availability, high-performance Windows Server 2003 systems that can service their needs day in, day out, 365 days a year. At the same time, they are also striving to lower the cost of installing, operating, and maintaining these systems and the overall cost of ownership (TCO). Windows Server 2003 delivers on all these points.
As companies migrate to the platform that is the de facto winner in the network and operating system wars, they face a huge learning curve and dilemma on how best to set up high-performance Windows Server networks for maximum availability and power. Their aspirations come down to one thing: service level"How do we do it with Windows Server 2003?"
Companies that have made the decision to migrate to Windows Server 2003 ask how theycan keep systems up 24/7 or how they can achieve three, four, and perhaps even five times the availability with Microsoft technology. Network administrators ask, "Do we cluster, do we load balance, do we do both, do we invest in hot standbys, replication...what works?" This book gives you the answers to those questions. It will also go further than just failover and fault tolerance and discuss monitoring and operations management and choosing the right technology to accompany Microsoft's high-performance and high availability offerings.
This is the book that caters to your needs. It is about achieving service level and keeping systems up 24/7 with the Windows Server 2003 platform. This book provides a clear and concise roadmap for how to go about using Microsoft Server 2003, (in some cases) with third-party add-ons, for scalability, uptime, performance, and managementand for how to avoid trouble at the same time.
Many administrators and engineers find it hard to make decisions about what they need to do. They hear that clustering and using load balancing is a black artextremely difficult and prone to disaster. Up until today, their only resources for architecting a high availability solution has been rare and expensive consultants and overzealous consulting services engineers, particularly from hardware vendors. If you are turned to Microsoft technology to achieve your SLA, this book will be the foundation to turn to, to bring it all together.
Microsoft now offers a rich toolset for administration and monitoring, not only what is built into the server products, but also with collateral offerings such as Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) and Systems Management Server. According to Gartner, Microsoft will own the systems administration market, and possibly surge ahead of IBM, in the coming years. Efforts in this area became very evident in 2003 and 2004 with the advent of new versions of MOM and Systems Management Server. We have thus devoted an entire chapter to monitoring and installing MOM as the essential operations platform for any high availability network.
The book is divided into two parts: Part I, "High-Performance Windows Computing," provides background for high availability, high performance, and service level, and covers theory, but also Active Directory architecture and implementation. Part II, "Building High Availability Windows Server 2003 Solutions," delves into the actual installation and architecture of systems for print, file, SQL Server, Exchange, and IIS, covers network load balancing clusters (NLB), and provides an introduction to MOM.
Chapter 1, "The World of High-Performance, High availability Windows Computing," covers service level, the meaning of high availability, downtime, failure, and more. We also define scale-out, availability, and high-performance computing (HPC).
In Chapter 2, "Choosing High-Performance Hardware," we talk hardware and cover choosing high-performance equipment, standards, CPUs, and memory.
Chapter 3, "Storage for Highly Available Systems," certainly covers storage for these systems, but it also talks about redundancy and offers a RAID Refresher, discussing RAID controllers, Network Attached Storage Solutions (NAS), Storage Area Networks (SANs), and IP-Based Storage Solutions.
In Chapter 4, "Highly Available Networking," we discuss backbone design, bandwidth, and what to look for in network interface cards, hubs, switches, and routers. We'll also look into layer two, three, and four switches and routers, routing in high availability architecture, and using hubs for failover interconnects. This chapter also introduces SAN topology, fibre channel, Point-to-Point Topology for storage area networks, FC-AL, Fabric, and zoning.
If you need to design the architecture for an Active Directory network, Chapter 5, "Preparing the Platform for a High-Performance Network," is for you. This chapter covers preparing the platform for a high-performance network and creating a design plan, design goals, design components, design decisions, design implications, and more. This chapter also covers Active Directory services and logical architecture, the forest plan for highly available systems. The latter part of the chapter covers Active Directory physical architecture, such as subnets, site links, and naming convention.
Chapter 6, "Building the Foundations for a Highly Available Architecture," covers building the foundations for a highly available architecture. This chapter also covers Windows Clustering 101, cluster models, quorum resources, quorum resource deployment scenarios, and more. We also go into the forest creation process, how to form clusters creating shared disk resources, and preparing the cluster network.
The first chapter in Part II, Chapter 7, "High-Performance Print-Server Solutions," looks into high-performance print-server cluster solutions. We will look at design specifications, installations, and clustering the spooler resource.
Like printing, every network needs file servers. Some networks need to have a highly available file-server solution. Chapter 8, "High-Performance File-Server Solutions," covers high-performance file-server solutions, scale-out versus scale-up, Configuring 2-Node clusters, disk replication solutions, and so on.
Chapter 9, "High Availability, High-Performance SQL Server Solutions," introduces scale-out versus scale-up with Microsoft SQL Server, failover for SQL Server, SQL Server cluster design, documenting the dependencies of the cluster, and so on. We look at the SQL Server Active/Active configurations, multiple instance solutions, N+1 configurations, and so on. We also cover noncluster redundancy solutions, such as replication, and show step-by-step how to cluster the Analysis Services (OLAP).
Chapter 10, "High Availability, High-Performance Exchange," covers scale-out versus scale-up with Microsoft Exchange, storage group architecture, exchange store considerations, transaction logs, the SMTP queue directory, Exchange permissions in the clustering architecture, and so on. The section titled "Getting Started with Exchange 2003 Clustering" covers installing the Exchange Virtual Server on the cluster nodes and how to cluster Exchange using replicated disk technology and Microsoft Cluster Services.
Chapter 11, "Load Balancing," deals with scale-out, Network Load Balancing (network load balancing) for high-performance solutions, sharing server load, what cannot be scaled, selecting NLB clustering, and more. We look into what constitutes a candidate for NLB, architecture for and designing the NLB cluster, setup and configuration of the NLB cluster, and so on.
In Chapter 12, "Internet Information Server," we turn to the Web and go into scale-out versus scale-up IIS, round-robin DNS load balancing, NLB for Internet Information Server, planning and configuration, IIS Storage, NLB for FTP, and troubleshooting and maintaining the IIS NLB server cluster.
Chapter 13, "Looking for Trouble: Setting Up Performance Monitoring and Alerts," is all about operations management. The first half of this chapter delves into the Windows Server 2003 monitoring systems, the event viewer, system and performance monitoring objects, rate and throughput, the work queue, response time, and more. The second half covers MOM. We will cover the steps to take in a MOM rapid-deployment project. These steps involve verifying software and hardware requirements for MOM, the MOM service accounts, MOM database sizing, installing the First Management Server, importing MOM 2005 Management Packs, and so on. We also show you how you can trap alerts to the event logs and how MOM collects these and emails the alerts to operators and the event log.
Windows Server 2003 high availability and high-performance engineering is not an easy vocation. We hope this book will provide you with the kick-start you need to correctly implement your own high availability, high-performance systems. If there are issues you need clarification on, or you need some advice, we will certainly try to help. You may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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