How would I go about setting up a website with multiple webservers but a single shared storage location.

1. IIS7.5 on webservers.
2. Windows 2k8 machine dedicated for storage.
3. Solution needs to be persistent (able to reboot).
4. Solution needs to be secure (keep ntfs security).
5. Solution needs to be stable (lol).
6. Solution needs to work without any user logged in.
7. Webservers are not part of a domain (all workgroups).
8. If the above isnt possible we do have a Netapp and could connect that to the webserver infrastructre, but this isnt preffered atm.


asked 12/06/2011 11:25

DrAtomic's gravatar image

DrAtomic ♦♦

8 Answers:
This sounds a lot to setup for you considering the questions you are asking (it sounds like you do not have that much experience in architecturing or administrating websites). Really there is too much to answer in this Q&A forum.
This is a consultancy project really.

What it sounds like you what need is a web site farm frontend with a backend storage.

This is fine but you do not mention load expected in order to know what architecture to scale.

Also you do not mention budget so I am not sure what type of setup you want,

I would use a hardware load balancer to balance out the load to these front end servers.
Configure these so that they check that each page is up and returning (correct) content per server.

In IIS7.5 you can just point to a virtual directory for your shared stored.

But consider alternative solutions like replicating the content to each server if the content is not to big. This is the most common way web farms work but not all and it depends on the amount/type of content.
You could have a big bottleneck if all is going to one storage server.

You will need to capacity plan this based on expect and peak numbers.

Security there are a few options for this but trust between to the front and back end is needed. Kerberoes might be an option too for authentication.

Also you should consider the distance between front and back end.

Use anonymous access so that users don't have to be logged in.


Rovastar's gravatar image


Loads of experience here lol. Forget about scalibility and such I know and can figure that out, it's the low level where my question is. Appreciate your input though.

-. Content syncing\replication is not an option.
-. Capacity planning/scalability don't worry about that (lbs are being used allready actually).
-. Forget budget, the limitation I'm putting here is that the solution needs to work with solely Windows 2k8 servers (ie a native solution).

The question I'm trying to ask but have trouble formulating is; 2+ webservers and 1 storage server running windows 2k8, what is best practice or what are ways to get those webservers sharing content (logging can be separate) without having to replicate and it being a persistent solution.

Setup a DFS? Tried to get something working using mlink but that is not the way to go about it.


answered 2011-12-07 at 10:31:38

DrAtomic's gravatar image


I was more worried about the bottleneck of running all traffic through at a single storage area.

There is no problem connecting to a shared drive on a UNC path. Allow the correct permissions (IUSR, etc) for this.

answered 2011-12-07 at 10:43:17

Rovastar's gravatar image


Also consider the IIS shared config if you are using shared storage. That should help too.

answered 2011-12-07 at 15:46:01

Rovastar's gravatar image


I understand your orginal concerns, but this application is highly cached in the lb infrastructure, it really isn't an issue. I/O is surprisingly low.

Using IIS shared config is a great suggestion thanks, never thought of that, will dig into that.

My experience with a website connecting over an UNC path dates back to IIS 5.0 (production wise). Back then we wrote our own tool in order to connect the drive at boottime.

Remaining question then is, if UNC paths is the way to go, how do I go about setting up a persistent mapping prior to IIS booting (don't tell me I'll have to make a net use script).


answered 2011-12-07 at 15:50:33

DrAtomic's gravatar image


What do you mean a persistent mapping?

Just point your Vdir to the correct directory. There is not much else to do.

If you load balncer looks to see if the node is active by checking if content is returned back off a page that is from the UNC path then it is always available.

Or do you mean something else?

answered 2011-12-08 at 03:08:14

Rovastar's gravatar image


Ah! Jeah seems my issue is with still thinkning in the IIS5 ways on this part lol.

Simply point the vdir to unc path = solution!

answered 2011-12-08 at 04:21:01

DrAtomic's gravatar image


We started off on the wrong foot mainly due to both of us thinking too complex, in the end the solution was as simple as could be, cheers!

answered 2011-12-08 at 06:06:36

DrAtomic's gravatar image


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Asked: 12/06/2011 11:25

Seen: 240 times

Last updated: 12/07/2011 10:09