How to Configure an NLB in Hyper-V (Part 1)

So, I’ve recently revamped my Hyper-V lab server to run pretty much everything MDOP and have been doing a little digging around to become more familiar with the portfolio. One of the things that I wanted to check out was MBAM and its varied deployment topologies. Depending on the amount of clients that you need to support you can use anywhere from one to five computers (more info on that here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=258314). Anyway, now that you’re back after reading the MBAM Scalability and High-Availability Guide white paper, you probably noticed that it says for environments that will support over 55,000 MBAM Clients you need to configure a couple MBAM Administration and Monitoring Servers into a Network Load Balancing (NLB) cluster. Okeydokey, I’ve got a lab for that so let the games begin!

Now, I’m pretty familiar with NLBs. Although it seems like a million years ago, I’m the guy who wrote How to Configure Network Load Balancing for Configuration Manager Site Systems and I even instructed a lab about it at MMS 2008 (Lab YY17: How to Configure Network Load Balancing for Site Systems). As you can probably guess, I’ve done this a bunch of times before so I’m thinking it will be a quick walk in the park…an hour later, I’m thinking I should probably blog this process to help anyone else trying to do this.

In this blog I’m going to walk through the process from end-to-end about how I got it sorted. I’m sure this will probably not be the recommended, best practices way to do things, and I’m also sure that not everyone will hit the same issues I did because of all the variables involved, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to have an example “out there” of how to configure all this in your lab environment.

I started off making this all one big blog post, but it got longer than Santa’s list. Instead, I’ll break it up into two parts. This part will be about configuring NLB prerequisites and the next installment (How to Configure an NLB in Hyper-V (Part 2)) will cover setting up the NLB and then finally testing it to make sure it responds and fails over properly. You didn’t really think I’d give away all my secrets at once did you?

First off, get the prerequisites for creating the NLB out of the way:

  1. NLBs are all about IIS so you’ll need to successfully install that on the VMs you’ll use as part of the NLB. I always tweak their iistart.htm files so I can tell which cluster node is responding too. The easy way to do that is to head to C:\inetpub\wwwroot\, right-click iisstart.htm, select the option to open it with Notepad, and then just type in “I am as the first line within the tag. Like so: iisstart.htm
  2. Can’t have an NLB without installing the Network Load Balancing components on each server so use Server Manager to do that on all the computers that will be part of the NLB—and on one other server as well (more on why later). These components provide TCP/IP load balancing functionality and you’ll be configuring them later using the network load balancing manager utility: NLB Components
  3. In Hyper-V Manager, shut down the VMs that you want to be included in the NLB cluster, add a new network adapter for each VM machine, set it to use your lab network, and then select the checkbox to Enable spoofing of MAC addresses (more on that last part later too): Enable MAC Spoofing
  4. It helps for network adapters have to have network addresses so before you get too much further along, you’ll need to decide on the TCP/IP information your NLB cluster computers will use and also what the NLB cluster virtual name and IP address will be (how other computers will use to access the NLB for whatever it is you’re setting the NLB up for). In this lab setup, I’m using two servers, SRV3 and SRV4, and have decided to think outside the box with my NLB name and name it…NLB:
    • SRV3 : 192.168.0.7/27
    • SRV4 : 192.168.0.8/27
    • NLB : 192.168.0.9/27
  5. Of course, there’s no computer named NLB, and nothing is going to respond to 192.168.0.9/27 unless we trick DNS into thinking someone lives at that address. Can’t we just let dynamic DNS create the host record? No, if you do that, you’ll have multiple computers thinking they’re this NLB dood and then everything ist kapoot. Put on your MCSA hat and go create a Host (A) record for the NLB virtual name in DNS: Host Record

There, that’s all the prerequisite work that needs to be done; you can get busy doing that while I finish writing the next part in the series about setting up the NLB in Hyper-V. Besides, it’s lunchtime and I’m hungry.

Ready for more? http://myitforum.com/myitforumwp/2012/08/16/how-to-configure-an-nlb-in-hyper-v-part-2/.

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