Here at Fpweb.net, a majority of our builds have a fairly unique setup due to the fact that we host SharePoint virtually (in the cloud) and offer unlimited SharePoint customizations to fit your business. It can not only be difficult, but also very pricey for our clients to use best practices 100% of the time.
Using virtual servers rather than physical servers, gives our customers quite a bit more flexibility in the way they choose to architect their farms. Essentially what it comes down to for them is performance and reliability.
If we have a client with more than one Web Front End server, one of the best performance and redundancy points is to have Central Administration running on multiple servers. Doing this gives an Administrator more control over their environment in the unlikely event that their primary Web Front End is inaccessible.
Running Central Admin on multiple servers is very simple to setup. In this example, I will install SharePoint on two front-end Web servers which are both equipped with a publicly accessible IP address. (Keep in mind this is for a hosted cloud environment).
To start, you set up SharePoint as normal on both servers. On the primary server, run the post-installation SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard. Here you will identify the database server name, the farm account, passphrase, and port for which the Central Administration site will be configured. Let the first Configuration Wizard finish completely before moving to the next server.
On server number two, after the initial installation, you will also run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard. On this server, you will choose to connect to an existing farm. It will prompt you to enter the Farm Passphrase as you specified above. On the final setup screen, you will see an “Advanced Settings” button as seen below:
This will bring you to the “Advanced Settings” screen where you will want to select Use this machine to host the web site. As shown below:
Once selecting OK, it will then run through the Configuration Wizard. Once the Wizard finishes, you will need to open up Central Administration.
Once you have opened Central Administration, browse to Configure Alternate Access Mappings:
On the right hand side of the screen, select Show All on the Alternate Access Mapping Collection drop-down menu and choose Change Alternate Access Mapping Collection:
Select Central Administration:
Select Edit Public URLs:
On this screen, you will enter the name of the second server in the Intranet field as shown below:
Note the server names have been greyed out, but you can see that server 01 is the default server, while server 02 is the secondary server. Both host Central Administration on the same port and each server will now have its own IIS site for Central Administration!
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