troubleshooting Question

Server Load Balancing and Redundancy Options?

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master_windu asked on
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Hello Experts

Our Current Setup:

4 sql based webservers. 2 at one core site, the other 2 at a second core site that are only accessed internally by end users.
Users at the remote sites have a shortcut to 1 of these 4 servers (depending where they are geographically to the core sites)
If 1 server goes down, we have to scramble to redirect the users who's shortcut was pointing to that server.

What we are lookin for:

To load balance and provide redundancy among these 4 servers.
All users would possibly have the same shortcut on their desktop
If 1 server dies, users would be unaware as they would be automatically directed to the one of the other functioning servers.
Likewise, if 1 core site does down, users at the remote sites would still be able to access the 2 functioning servers in the other core site.

Is this possible?  If so, how?  Hardware, or Software solution?

I looked at round-robin DNS.
This can help with balancing requests among the 4 servers but provides no redundancy incase 1 server dies.

I looked at Server 2003 Network Load Balancing feature but it seems that all servers involved need to be in the same subnet.

I briefly looked at a hardware product called BIGIP by F5, but have no idea if this is what I would need, or if this is overkill.

Our current envirnonment is Windows 2000 Server sp4 and SQL 2000 sp3


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