Windows Server 2003 Scalability and Flexibility

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Windows Server 2003 Scalability and Flexibility

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This white paper outlines the many ways in which Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 was designed to give organizations the ability to scale their environments up and out, with maximum flexibility and cost effectiveness. It also outlines how administrators can easily incorporate other Microsoft servers and many third-party applications.

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  1. Windows Server 2003 Scalability and Flexibility Microsoft Corporation Published: November 2002 Updated: January 2004 Abstract This white paper outlines the many ways in which Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 was designed to give organizations the ability to scale their environments up and out, with maximum flexibility and cost effectiveness. It also outlines how administrators can easily incorporate other Microsoft servers and many third-party applications.
  2. Microsoft® Windows® Server 2003 Technical Article This is a preliminary document and may be changed substantially prior to final commercial release of the software described herein. The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication. This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT. Complying with all applicable copyright laws is the responsibility of the user. Without limiting the rights under copyright, no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose, without the express written permission of Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft may have patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property rights covering subject matter in this document. Except as expressly provided in any written license agreement from Microsoft, the furnishing of this document does not give you any license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property. © 2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, BizTalk Server, Visual Basic, Visual Studio, Windows, the Windows logo, Windows NT, and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
  3. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper Contents Contents........................................................................................................................................3 Introduction...................................................................................................................................4 Scalable and Flexible by Design.................................................................................................4 Server Consolidation...................................................................................................................6 Implementing Flexible Scalability ...............................................................................................8 Scaling Up and Out.....................................................................................................................8 Additional Server Software........................................................................................................10 SQL Server................................................................................................................................10 BizTalk Sever............................................................................................................................11 Conclusion..................................................................................................................................13 Related Links...............................................................................................................................14 Page 3 of 14
  4. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper Introduction Modern organizations require flexibility in order to adapt to new and different requirements that the marketplace forces upon them. Microsoft® Windows® Server 2003 was designed to maximize the flexibility provided by an organization’s software. The product family provides systems that can adapt to new and different requirements very quickly. For instance, a developer can build a Web application that runs on a Windows 2000 or a Windows XP desktop, and then deploy the application to a single server, where it can be scaled up by adding processors and memory. As demand increases, the application can be moved to a Web farm, where the application can be scaled out to multiple machines. Client/server systems built with the .NET Framework have the same flexibility as ASP.NET applications because the backend server components can be dropped on to a single server or moved to an NLB cluster when needed. Instead of making all design and implementation decisions up front, the Windows Server 2003 architecture empowers you to move from scale up to scale out and does not lock you into one mode of scalability, thus allowing developers to defer the need to make design decisions prematurely. A properly written application can be scaled up today and scaled out tomorrow. The only changes required are to the configuration of the server – not the application. You can also use scale up and scale out in the same server farm, adjusting both the number of servers and the capabilities of each server to your needs. This reduces development and deployment costs compared with mainframes or overbuilt server farms, and speeds time to market without undermining future scalability. Scalable and Flexible by Design Traditionally, applications have encountered limitations that prevented them from smoothly scaling up (by adding memory and processing power) or scaling out (by adding additional servers). For the reasons discussed in “Implementing a Scalable Architecture,” adding more memory or increasing the CPU speed won’t improve performance if, say, the bottleneck is file I/O. Likewise, when scaling out, you need to implement scalability at the application level if it is not supported at the architectural level. Windows Server 2003 and the Windows Framework were engineered with scalability in mind. Developers can scale out an application by simply switching the session state from InProc to StateServer or SqlServer as described under “State Management” in Migrating Win32 Applications to .NET. The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework offer a rich library of object classes that allow developers to create scalable applications both implicitly and explicitly. For developers requiring explicit control, the .NET Framework offers object classes that access, for example, Microsoft® Message Queuing (MSMQ) messaging services. Furthermore, the .NET Framework allows you to build desktop and Web applications and then redeploy them for handheld devices using the .NET Compact Framework or for cell phones using the Mobile Internet Toolkit. For an example of this type of flexibility, let’s say you have either a client/server or intranet system built on top of the .NET Framework and this system is an n-tier system with a set of middle tier objects. Now your boss comes in and says, “How fast can you start putting certain Page 4 of 14
  5. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper features of this application onto mobile devices?” You can answer “Just about as fast as you can deploy the hardware to support the wireless network!” How can you say that? Because the .NET Framework supports devices with the Mobile Controls. And with the .NET Compact Framework, you can reuse those middle tier components to quickly create applications to run on those mobile devices. If the application exposes XML Web Services, you can, of course, use them also. Hub Ethernet NLB Cluster NLB Cluster NLB Cluster CIS CO SY ST EM S Hub Wireless Hub Wireless Hub Client Client Client client At the tools level, Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET and system utilities such as Active Directory (AD) provide a complete IDE and suite of tools for development and deployment. Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) allows applications to be monitored and managed remotely and across Web farms. The Windows Installer, SMS, and Application Center assist in deployment to clients and across server farms. The Windows Server 2003 family and applications built with the .NET Framework are scalable by design. Not only does the Windows Server 2003 family offer rich servers, from a basic Web Edition through an advanced Datacenter Edition, the same industry-standard hardware used for Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 can be redeployed as a Windows Server 2003. Because the Windows family shares a common architecture, developers can create .NET Framework applications on desktop operating systems including Windows XP. These systems are great for development and local testing (note that non-server platforms such as Windows XP Home Edition don’t support some of .NET’s server-only features). When ready to deploy on a server, the .NET Framework and ASP.NET are supported on Windows XP Professional, Window NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and, of course, the Windows Server 2003 family. The same ASP.NET applications that were tested locally or on earlier Windows server operating systems can be moved to Windows Server 2003 without changes. When the time comes to scale out, the same software can be deployed easily on a server farm. At that time, the server software can also be upgraded seamlessly from Windows Server 2003, Page 5 of 14
  6. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper Standard Edition to Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition or even Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. Finally, the Windows Server 2003 family provides a range of best-in-class server platforms for requirements ranging from a single server with one processor to a data center supported by a clustered Web farm of servers, each with multiple processors. Scalability is inherently intertwined with other architectural features, such as performance and reliability. For example, “Implementing a Scalable Architecture,” discusses how performance improvements in Windows Server 2003, Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0, and ASP.NET allow IT professionals to deploy more applications or support more Web sites than was previously possible, without upgrading hardware. For more information, see the following white papers: • Implementing a Scalable Architecture • Migrating Win32 Applications to Windows Server 2003 • Moving Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 Applications to Windows Server 2003 • Windows Server 2003 Application Reliability • Preparation, Verification, and Deployment of Applications Server Consolidation Organizations are increasingly looking for creative ways to reduce the overhead needed to manage their IT infrastructures. Over time, it is easy for any type of server infrastructure to grow in a way that becomes unmanageable. This experience doesn’t result from using one particular brand of server or another, but rather, it is simply something that easily happens over time. Server consolidation is one way for organizations to achieve availability, scalability, and greater value while reducing overall cost. The increased efficiency of the .NET Framework allows applications to handle the same load while running on fewer servers, yet still maintaining the same user responsiveness. The following figure demonstrates this, where an NLB cluster of five servers running an ASP or other Web application moves to a new Windows Server 2003 NLB cluster with three servers. Thus, the overall management and number of systems goes down by two fifths. Page 6 of 14
  7. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper Current Server Farm NLB Cluster NLB Cluster NLB Cluster NLB Cluster NLB Cluster Consolidated Server Farm Windows .NET Server NLB Cluster NLB Cluster NLB Cluster Server consolidation is not limited to Web server farms. You can also consolidate file and print servers and other types of application servers. The upper end members of the Windows Server 2003 family provide scaling to many processors and to a large memory footprint. The Windows Server 2003 64-bit versions will scale far beyond the ability of currently available 32-bit systems, protecting your investment in the Windows family. For more information, see the Server Consolidation whitepaper. Page 7 of 14
  8. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper Implementing Flexible Scalability Talking about flexibility and scalability is fine, but how is it realized? Let’s look at some of the ways the Windows Server 2003 and the industry-standard hardware on which it runs can be upgraded to meet your applications’ evolving scalability requirements. Scaling Up and Out Microsoft is working with system partners to build highly scalable server technologies with the goal of being able to dramatically scale up within a single server. When looking to scale up by adding RAM and multiple CPUs to existing servers, the version of Windows Server 2003 used is important. The two most advanced configurations, Enterprise Edition and Datacenter Edition, also allow you to “scale wide” from 32-bit (x86) processors to 64-bit (Itanium) processors. Thus, organizations typically scale up by adding hardware to a particular server first. Then, if they need support for more resources they can scale from Web Edition or Standard Edition to Enterprise Edition. Applications can also be moved to Datacenter Edition as needs change over time. Table 1 details the maximum allowed RAM and number of CPUs, for each version of Windows Server 2003. Table 1. Windows Server 2003 Family supported RAM, Processors, and Clustering configurations Server Max RAM Max RAM Min CPUs Max CPUs Max CPUs per Max Nodes Edition 32-bit (x86) 64-bit (Itanium) per Node Node (32-bit and 32-bit 64-bit 64-bit) Web Edition 2 GB N/A 1 2 N/A N/A Standard 4 GB N/A 1 4 N/A N/A Edition Enterprise 64 GB 128 GB 1 8 8 8 Edition Datacenter 64 GB 512 GB 8 32 64 8 Edition When looking to scale out by adding servers, the clustering technology and the server operating system are both important. If your application is TCP/IP based, then NLB is normally going to provide a good clustering solution. If the application is a server application that requires sophisticated failover support, then MSCS will probably provide you with the best solution. The server’s role is to provide you with choices. As Table 2 shows, all versions of Windows Server 2003 support NLB with up to 32 nodes in a cluster. Thus, any version of Windows Server 2003 can be used in an NLB environment to scale up any server application (that supports NLB) that is accessed via TCP. You would typically move from one version of Windows Server 2003 to another because you either need new features or you need additional hardware that is supported by a particular version. In any case, you make the choice of when to switch to another version. Page 8 of 14
  9. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper Table 2. Cluster Nodes Supported by Operating System and Technology. Operating Server Edition NLB Nodes Cluster Support Server Cluster Nodes System Windows 2000 Advanced Server 32 NLB/MCSC 2 Windows 2000 Datacenter Server 32 NLB/MCSC 4 Windows Web Edition 32 NLB Windows Standard Edition 32 NLB Windows Enterprise Edition 32 NLB/CLB/MSCS 8 Windows Datacenter Edition 32 NLB/CLB/MSCS 8 The other versions of Windows 2000 are not shown here as they do not support either NLB or Server Cluster (formerly MSCS). Page 9 of 14
  10. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper Additional Server Software One of the key problems an IT professional faces is purchasing applications that run on the servers they have installed. For instance, if you have seven servers and three of them are running an OS on one brand of hardware, and the other four are running another OS (or OS version) on another brand of hardware, how do you buy applications that run on those systems? For instance, if you need a robust Customer Relationship Management application, you must make sure the application runs on the version of software and hardware running on your servers. This can be an expensive and time-consuming task. Microsoft offers a variety of server products that can be installed atop Windows Server 2003, including the BizTalk Server™, Host Integration Server (HIS), Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft SQL Server™. Each of these has implications for scalability and clustering configurations. In addition to Microsoft, the Windows server family supports more applications from third parties than any other operating system. Let’s take a look at two applications from Microsoft and how they add flexibility to the application server. SQL Server SQL Server is a powerful database platform that supports both scaling up and scaling out. In addition to scalability, SQL Server provides flexibility with inherent capabilities such as replication. Replication is a set of technologies for copying and distributing data and database objects from one database to another. Replication provides for situations such as when you need to roll out part of a database to a satellite facility. You can simply configure the master database to publish the data to the satellite. There are many options for replication that allow you to finely tune how the process works depending upon application requirements. Replication can also be used to push data to data warehouses. Some potential data warehouse applications of replication are the distribution of data from a central data warehouse to data marts, and the updating of data warehouse data from the data preparation area. In addition to scaling up, SQL Server can scale out by using a concept known as federation. This allows you to spread databases across a group of autonomous database servers. This solution is capable of supporting the processing growth requirements of the largest Web sites and enterprise data-processing systems built with the .NET Framework. For more information, see the following topics • SQL Server 2000 Replication Overview • Transactional Replication Performance Tuning and Optimization • Federated SQL Server 2000 Servers Page 10 of 14
  11. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper BizTalk Sever BizTalk Server is another powerful software package from Microsoft that offers tremendous flexibility and scalability. Like SQL Server, BizTalk Server will scale both up and out. BizTalk Server 2000 Enterprise Edition fully utilizes all the processors of the server. This enables the server to achieve high scalability and performance by using the complete hardware configuration of the computer. BizTalk Server 2000 Enterprise Edition also supports groups that enable the server to scale out to handle heavier loads. You can add one or more servers within a single group that share the same BizTalk Server configuration information to allow that group to scale out. You can also create multiple groups. Selective scaling of particular functions, such as the HTTP/HTTPS receive function, is also possible by running the function on servers in a Web farm (using NLB for instance). BizTalk Server’s features can be extended through plug-in components as well as a software development kit (SDK). In addition, support for key XML-based standards throughout the product provide integration with applications on other systems, independent of operating system, programming model, or programming language. For the final example of flexibility with BizTalk, let’s consider an application that illustrates the concepts of BizTalk Orchestration. The following figure shows the Orchestration designer with part of a design visible. This design takes a requisition and processes it, either approving or disapproving it. Page 11 of 14
  12. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper Each one of the actions (such as Receive Requisition) above is tied to either a script (such as a VBScript) or a component’s method. Now, let’s assume that your application works like the one above. Let’s further say the application has been running for a while and you need to change the way requisitions are handled by adding in a process after the requisition has been received that verifies it is in a valid format. You can have a developer quickly create the verification code (in VBScript, Visual Basic® 6.0, VB.NET, C#, or …), then you simply add a new action symbol in the drawing between the Receive Requisition action and the Decision. Then you connect this to the script or component, save the drawing and compile a schedule file. That’s it. You have just implemented the change. The entire process may have taken only a few minutes and you have just changed the entire business process. Here’s one last thought on BizTalk Server. Let’s say your company has just purchased a new business and now you must integrate their purchase order system with an existing system. If your purchase order system had been developed with BizTalk and the .NET Framework, that integration might be as simple as pulling data from their purchase order system and piping it into your BizTalk process. A small change to the diagram and you are in business. Page 12 of 14
  13. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper Conclusion This paper covers only a small part of the many ways that Windows Server 2003 and the other .NET products and technologies from Microsoft provide you with the flexibility to handle your changing business needs without compromising scalability. This architecture allows you to address your business needs in a timely fashion, while at the same time addressing the cost concerns of running a powerful IT infrastructure. Page 13 of 14
  14. Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 White Paper Related Links • What's New in Application Services • Server Roles: The Application Server • BizTalk Server 2002 Web site • BizTalk Server 2000 HTTP/HTTPS (Scale Out) • BizTalk Server 2000 General Performance Recommendations Page 14 of 14
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