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Joel on Software

.NET Web apps, load balancing, and network shares

Good day.

We have a NLB of several Windows 2003 Web Edition machines, using NLB to present a facade of being an individual machine (allowing us nice features like failover, being able to patch systems without bringing the whole down, and so on).

As it is we need to synchronize web apps, and web deploys, between the machines, and this is a bit of a pain (and a risk) - we are considering the option of having a single web app directory on a high availability machine, in this case our database server, and pointing the virtual directory on all machines to this network location. Thus if we update the app, it's automatically updated on all machines.

A couple of questions about this-

-Any major reasons not to do this? Note that our web apps cannot run without the database server, so basically it is a single point of failure regardless.

-Does this seriously impact performance? I believe that ASP.NET actually copies files locally into a temporary directory and then monitors the source for changes, so it shouldn't impact performance.

-Any best practices for dealing with .NET security? Would mapping a drive locally, pretending that the directory was local, stop from having to trust every assembly (because it's on the intranet rather than the local machine, which is a more restrictive domain in .NET).

-Could we do the same with the IIS metabase, or part thereof? If we could chang the config of one server's IIS and have it replicated on the other machines, that would be wonderful.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Jacob's Ladder
Monday, February 28, 2005

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