Network Load Balancing (NLB)

The configuration of a NLB Cluster is pretty streight forward, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

I have 2 servers: web1.contoso.com 192.168.1.5 and web2.contoso.com 192.168.1.6. After you install the Network Load Balancing Feature on both servers, let’s go ahead and start the configuration inside the Network Load Balancing Manager. We will start by creating a new cluster.

First thing we will have to do is enter one of the two cluster nodes. After we will finish the configuration on this one we will do the same thing on the other node.

If you want to use more than one NIC for your cluster (for Heartbeats,etc.) this is where you add them, else just leave it as is.

Next you will have to enter the cluster IP or VIP(Virtual IP).

Next enter the “Full Internet name” that will resolve to the IP address of the cluster 192.168.1.100. In my case i chose web.contoso.com. Note that you will also have to update your DNS with this record.

Another important thing here is the “Cluster operation mode”. It is very important to choose Multicast if you have only one NIC interface for each node, like in my case. Otherwise your two nodes won’t be able to communicate properly. If you have more than one network interface then you can choose Unicast.

On the next page if you click “Edit” you will be able to make modifications to a Port Rule. Now you don’t need to make any changes but you do need to know one important thing. We can choose the Affinity to be None/Single i won’t be discusing about the Network option. None should be used if the application running on the cluster nodes is Stateless and Single when the application is Stateful.

Stateless means that different cluster nodes can respond to all the requests from one client(no affinity). Stateful means that one cluster node will handle all the requests from one client(for example Microsoft Lync Front End Servers are Stateful applications).

Next click “Finish” and the Cluster Configuration is complete. Next you need to go and add the second node to the NLB Cluster, simply right-click the created cluster(web.contoso.com) and select “Add Hode To Cluster”. The steps are identical except you don’t need to add a cluster IP address because the cluster is already created.

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