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Load Balancing Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is Microsoft’s enterprise collaboration platform. SharePoint makes it easier for people to work together. Using SharePoint, staff can set up web sites to share information with others, manage documents from start to finish, publish reports to help everyone make better decisions and search across a range of internal and external data sources to find answers and information more quickly and effectively.

In SharePoint 2010 & 2013 what were roles in prior versions of the product can now be viewed simply as components, so as opposed to assigning a specific role to a server, components are placed on an agnostic machine, independent of any specific role definition. For example, in the past the role of indexer or query server was assigned to a machine, now the search topology is extended by assigning one or more search components, such as Query or Crawl to a machine. Roles are a concept that do not necessarily apply in 2010 & 2013, instead a machine is generic and flexible to provide a multitude of services. Components and services are shared between servers in the farm depending on server performance, topology requirements, anticipated user load etc.

Load balancing is required for the Front-end Web Servers to provide performance and resilience for users connecting to the SharePoint farm. For the middle (application) tier, multiple application servers running the same service applications are load balanced by default and there is no external load balancing requirement.

SharePoint is based on IIS and associated technologies at the top / middle tier and Microsoft SQL Server for back-end storage. Therefore, load balancing SharePoint is relatively straight- forward, but to provide a resilient and robust SharePoint system, it’s important to consider Microsoft’s various architectural recommendations, best practices and guidelines when designing your SharePoint Infrastructure, key points to consider are covered in the deployment guide.

There are multiple ways to deploy SharePoint depending on a number of factors including a number of end-users, physical server topology options/preferences etc. In the above example, the 3-tier redundant topology was used.

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