Setting Up an NLB Cluster for a FIM Portal/Web Service


A lot of us old MIIS/ILM folks are heavy into development but a little light in the infrastructure department (like me).  So I was surprised to see that there weren't any great tutorials around on how to set up an NLB cluster for your FIM Service servers.  I'm running my whole FIM lab on my laptop (it's a pretty beefy laptop at 16GB) but I was stuck when it came to setting up an NLB on this Hyper-V laptop (Windows 2008 R2).  What follows is pieced together from various posts I found, as well as a good bit of trial and error.  This may not be the optimal setup for NLB (I'll leave that to the master configurators - a term folks tell me I coined in the late 90s early 00s), but it should be good enough to get things going in a lab environment.

I saw instances where each node had 1 NIC and each node had 2 (or more) NICs, but as 2 NICs seemed to be the most popular, the following assumes that there are 2 NICs in each cluster node.

Oh, and one other thing that I noted was that if you are using Hyper-V on Windows 2008 R2 (and apparently only R2, though I haven't tested previous Hyper-Vs), for any network adapter used in the cluster make sure that you use “Legacy Network Adapters” (pretty non-intuitive, and probably a bug) and set the NICs to be used for the NLB cluster to Enable spoofing of MAC addresses in the VM’s settings for that specific Network Adapter.

  1. On each FIM Service server, add the Network Load Balancing feature.
  2. On the first cluster node, run nlbmgr.exe.
  3. On the Cluster menu, select New.
  4. In the Host field, type the NetBIOS name of the first cluster node machine and click Connect.
  5. Confirm that:
    1. Priority (unique host identifier) = 1
    2. The correct IP address is selected under Dedicated IP addresses (should multiple NICs be present)
    3. Default state: = Started
  6. Click Next.
  7. Click Add…
  8. Confirm that Add IPv4 address: is selected
  9. Enter the IPv4 address: and Subnet mask: for the cluster (the assigned virtual IP address).
  10. Click OK.
  11. Click Next.
  12. Set Full Internet name: as idweb.mycompany.com (of course, substitute your organization’s info).
  13. Confirm that Unicast is selected and click Next. (I realize that Multicast is more common/desired, but I didn't want to have to make additional changes to accomodate that as well - it's my lab environment).
  14. Click Finish.
  15. After operation completes and you see Update N succeeded [double click for details…] and the cluster’s Status is Converged
  16. Right-click the new cluster’s node and select Add Host To Cluster.
  17. In Host type the NetBIOS name of your second FIM Server, click Connect
  18. Select the appropriate NIC and click Next.
  19. Click Next again.
  20. Click Finish.
  21. After the operation completes and you should see Update N succeeded [double click for details…] and the cluster’s Status is Converged and that both interfaces Initial Host State is Started.

To test the new NLB cluster:

  • From one of the non-FIM Service machines, ping the virtual IP address.
  • From one of the non-FIM Service machines, ping the first FIM Service Server via the non-clustered IP address (just to confirm that you can still access the machine via non-cluster IP)
  • From one of the non-FIM Service machines, ping the second FIM Service server via the non-clustered IP address  (again, just to confirm that you can still access the machine via non-cluster IP)

 

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