Windows Server 2012 Web Farm – Getting Started

This is the first post in the series – Creating a highly available web farm with Windows Server 2012

Before we get started with the Active Directory configuration, I’ll just step through some of the basic setup.

Hardware:

I have 2 x desktop PC’s with a quad core CPU, 16GB of RAM, a single 1TB HD and with a single NIC each.

I also have an old DELL 2950 server with 2 Dual core CPU’s that’s been retired from our production host fleet.

For shared storage, I am using a Synology DS1511+ NAS that we use in our office for some backups and testing. It’s a great NAS that can very quickly and easily present iSCSI Targets.

Network:

As this web farm is being built in a testing environment within my local LAN, I’ll be using all internal IP addresses in the 10.0.0.0/24 range (plus a few IP’s in a 192.168.5.0/24 range which I’ll explain later)

Servers:

All servers will be Hyper-V VM’s running on Windows Server 2012 on the hardware listed above.

I will be naming my servers (rather unimaginatively):

  • AD01
  • FS01
  • FS02
  • WEB01
  • WEB02
  • WEB03
  • WEB04
  • SQL01
  • SQL02
  • CLIENT01

Domain:

So that we can easily manage user and server permissions, we will be creating an Active Directory name called webfarm.local.

By now you should have an idea of the amount of time I put into coming up with naming conventions!

Next Step – Configuring Active Directory (Coming Soon)

Creating a highly available web farm with Windows Server 2012

There are some great new tools and features in Windows Server 2012 that make creating a highly available web farm much simpler than ever before.

I’ll work through each stage of the process over a series of posts. I’ll cover the pre-requisites and walk through each step with as many screen shots as possible.

The aim of this web farm is that any one server can be taken offline to be updated at any time without taking down the web farm.

The structure of the web farm will be:

Web_Farm_and_SQL_cluster

Our web farm will consist of:

  • 1 x Active Directory server
  • 2 x Clustered File Servers
  • 2 x Clustered SQL Servers
  • 4 x Web Servers
  • 2 x Load Balanced ARR (Application Request Routing) Server
  • 1 x Shared Storage (a Synology DS1511+ NAS from our testing environment)
  • 1 x Windows 7 Client PC for testing.

Building the web farm:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Configuring Active Directory
  3. Configuring the Scale Out File Server Cluster
  4. Configuring the Web Server Farm
  5. Configuring the Load Balanced ARR Servers
  6. Configuring the SQL Server Cluster
  7. Testing the web farm

Changing the product key in Windows Server 2012

We have starting provisioning Windows Server 2012 boxes for us to use internally and for our clients. One of the things that stumped me very early on was that the “Change your product Key” link was missing from the product activation page. I’m not sure why they removed it, but to change the product key now, you can open a powershell prompt and type

slmgr -ipk XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXX