How to split a single server installation accross two servers

Posted on 2007-10-11
Last Modified: 2010-03-19
I have Sharepoint 2007 test server which I have been forced due to time constraints to go live with, the problem is that at present the entire installation (Sharepoint 2007, SQL 2005 and IIS are sitting on one machine) I have a second server available which I would like to mirror the configuration of my first server (so that in case of hardware failure either server can support the entire enviroment) but ideally I would like one of the machines to be running IIS and the second to be running SQL 2005 to give me better performance aswell some contingency in case of a disaster.
Please can anybody advise the best way to go about this with as little impact on the live system as possible, or provide any links to some usefull documents?
Question by:mayiain
    LVL 51

    Expert Comment

    I actually designed and managed a 7 server Sharepoint 2007 web farm so I think I can help! :)  Our farm has a two node Active/Active SQL cluster and uses network load balancing on the web and application servers so everything has a hot standby except the indexing server (the 7th) because Microsoft doesn't support load balancing the indexing services.

    I'm going to assume you followed some best practices and did NOT use the computer name for the Sharepoint site and instead used a fully qualified DNS name for the sharepoint site.  If you didn't that will cause trouble!

    The easiest way would be to do a complete installation of Sharepoint on the new server.  Then, using the configuration wizard join it to the web farm.  You could then redirect traffic to that server by changing the DNS entry for the fully qualified website name I mentioned earlier and then disconnect Sharepoint on the SQL server and uninstall it.

    Adding new Sharepoint servers is very easy after that, however, adding a SQL cluster later would be very difficult.  In fact, moving SQL databases in Sharepoint is possible but very risky and only for very advanced SQL/Networking/Sharepoint Administrators.

    By the way, splitting onto two servers will gave you greated performance but wil NOT provide contigency in case of disaster.  If either server fails, your farm is down.  The minimum number of servers for full contingency is 4.

    A great resource for all things Sharepoint is which is run by the Sharepoint Product team.

    Author Comment

    My understanding was that whilst not being the fully contingent model, 2 servers would suffice by just shutting down serivce not being used on each machine  (SQL or IIS) and then starting up the service in case of emergency. I assume the:
    sp_dropserver 'old_name'
    sp_addserver 'new_name', 'local'
    command will solve the issue of moving the SQL databases to a different server, so then it just a case of having IIS mirrored on both machines, but only turned on on one.
    I ran the Sharepoint configuration on the second machine and pointed it at the sharepoint_config database on my original machine, however this just points everything on my second machine at the existing machine how can I seperate them?
    LVL 51

    Accepted Solution

    Moving Sharepoint database services is VERY complex.  It will not work in the way you are thinking.

    If Server1.YourDomain.Com has SQL installed and Sharepoint is attached to that server, if it dies, you lose Sharepoint.  Sharepoint cannot be restored from database backups.  You have to backup Sharepoint web sites using a command line tool but you CANNOT backup the configuration.  If your single SQL server dies, you have to rebuild the Sharepoint configuration from scratch and then reattach the backups of the website.

    You cannot move Sharepoint web and application services by turning IIS on and off.  You have to use the Sharepoint Central Administration website to move services if more than one server is a member of the farm.  However, if you have Sharepoint web services installed on Server2.YourDomain.Com and it dies, then you do not have a central administration site to manage Sharepoint!

    If you use two servers you have no load balancing and no redundancy.  If either server dies you will be down for at least 1/2 a day even if you have another server standing by with an operating system already installed.  However if you can afford to have a 3rd server standing by you may as well use it as part of the farm.

    As I said, the minimum number of servers to guarantee no downtime is 4 servers.

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