Automatically replicate directories between web servers using WLBS

If you use Win2k Advanced Server's WLBS, you must keep a copy of the site being balanced on each server in the cluster.

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If you use Windows 2000 Advanced Server's load balancing (WLBS) feature on Web servers, you need to keep an identical copy of the Web site being balanced on each server in the cluster. When it comes time to update this site, you need to make the changes in both places, whether it's by making the change twice manually, or by copying the new file over the old file. This can be automated very easily with a feature that comes with Windows 2000: Distributed File System (DFS). Here are the steps: (assuming your site is the default Web site with a home directory in "c:inetpubwwwroot." Adjust as necessary to make this fit into your environment.)

1. On Web server #1, share the folder c:inetpubwwwroot as "webmaster."
2. On Web server #2, share the folder c:inetpubwwwroot as "webslave."
3. Back up all content in these directories in case you don't do this correctly.
4. Clear the contents of the "c:inetpubwwwroot" directory on Web server #2 (don't worry...you backed it up, right?).
5. Log into a domain controller, and go to Start --> Programs --> Administrative tools --> Distributed File System.
6. Click Action --> New DFS Root.
7. Select "Create a Domain DFS Root," select your domain, and select Web server #1 as the host server for this DFS root.
8. Sele
ct "Use an existing share", and select the share "webmaster" that you created earlier.
9. Accept the default name for the DFS root, click next, then click finish.

Up to this point, what you've done is identify the share on Web server #1 as a member of a DFS root.

 

10. In the same DFS console, right click the new DFS root that you have created, and select "New Root Replica."
11. For host server, browse to or enter the name of Web Server #2.
12. Select "use an existing Share" and select "webslave" and click finish.

Up to this point, you've enabled another network share as a member of the DFS root created in steps 1-9.

 

13. In the same DFS console, right click the DFS root name "(Your Domain Name), "webmaster" and select "Replication Policy."
14. Highlight the shared folder named "webmaster" and click "Set as Master."
15. Highlight the shared folder named "webmaster" and click "Enable."
16. Click OK.

Now what happens is that everything in the "C:inetpubwwwroot" folder on Web server #1 is replicated to the "C:inetpubwwwroot" folder on Web server #2. Once that replication happens, you can make changes to files/folders on either server and the changes will automatically be pushed to the other server. (This is what Microsoft refers to as "multi-master replication." We had to set the "set as master" setting in step #14 to tell DFS which directory to initially replicate).

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This was first published in June 2002

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