Webserver NLB vs Clustering in Windows 2008

kevin_buchanan
kevin_buchanan used Ask the Experts™
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Can someone help with this?  

I have a webserver and the some of the apps hosts on this server use session variables.  Will NLB work if we are using session variables in the web apps?  I've read that the "stickiness" with native Windows NLB isn't very good and I should rely on a hardware load balancing switch instead.

I know I can use clustering, but that is a bit more expensive, and I would rather not have to deal with the complexities of clustering, if I can avoid it.  Plus, there is the issue of licensing for Windows Enterprise.

Thanks!
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Commented:
Hi Kevin,

I'm by know means an expert when it comes to development but depending on how your application is written it may work.  Take a look at the following blog that refers to ASP.NET sesssion state modes.  http://blogs.msdn.com/paraga/archive/2005/12/10/502345.aspx

Brian
we have 10 websites setup using 2008 NLB set to single affinity (stickiness), each site on it's own NLB address within the same NLB cluster. Works but you could also look into setting an ARR server in the scheme which would do NLB routing. It is free from M$ i think, just google ARR server if interested. They can be setup in a failover and also i think are application aware also if needed.

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Commented:
ok - so, no one has really answered my question.  I've read that the "stickiness" with native Windows NLB isn't very good and I should rely on a hardware load balancing switch instead of Windows OS NLB.

We are using single affinity, and I am runinng a smaller application in production to test to see how well NLB does (or doesnt) work with session affinity.

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