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Is it possible to publish content once and somehow allow six servers to access it simultaneously?

I am currently running six Windows 2000 Web servers using Network Load Balancing (NLB). All works great. My question is about a new SAN we are implementing. I was wondering if it's possible to have all six servers pointed at the same logical unit number (LUN) that has the Inetpub directory. Instead of using Site Server to publish the same content to all six servers, we would like to publish it up just once and have all six pointed at the same LUN. Is this possible? Is so, any gotchas? If not, why not?

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There's nothing built into Windows 2000 that lets multiple servers access the same file system simultaneously -- unless you abstract it across the network. So if you really want all the systems to read the same files, you'll need to set your storage up as a NAS (network-attached storage) instead of a SAN (storage area network) and create a mapped virtual directory to the NAS device for IIS. You'll take a performance hit, though, and you may reduce the redundancy of your system.

With that said, your SAN vendor may offer software that allows multiple servers to simultaneously access a SAN volume. I know this has been done with non-Windows OSes, but I don't know for sure that any vendor offers the software to do that with Windows. Ask your SAN vendor -- it'll be a few years before Microsoft gives you a solution.

This was first published in February 2003

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