Keeping Multiple IIS 7 Servers in Sync with Shared Configuration

Posted: Dec 05, 2012  0 comments  

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Shared Configuration

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If you have multiple front-end web servers serving up your content for your Internet Application, you will want to keep both the content and the Internet Information Services (IIS) settings synchronized between all the servers.  That is where IIS Shared Configuration comes into play.

Prior to IIS 7 it was a major headache keeping IIS settings in sync between servers.  Fortunately a new feature was introduced in IIS 7 called Shared Configuration.  This feature is available at the server level. 


On your server, select the server in the left connections pane and scroll down the Features View to Shared Configuration.  Once you select that feature you will be presented with the screen above.  The first thing you want to do is export your existing configuration so that you can use the exported configuration on all the front-end web servers.  To do that select Export Configuration in the right Actions pane.


You are presented with a Export Configuration window.  Select the path where you want this configuration to go and then create an Encryption Keys password.  Make sure you document this key and store it in your secure password repository.  Once you have done that, click OK to export the configuration.


Once you are back at the Shared Configuration feature, check the box to Enable shared configuration.  Browse to the Physical path where you stored the exported configuration.  If you leave the User name and Password fields blank, IIS will use SYSTEM.  Click Apply in the right Actions pane.


Now you are presented with an Encryption Keys Password window.  Enter the Encryption Key Password that you created earlier and click OK.


You are presented with a helpful reminder.  Click OK again.


One last bit of guidance is presented to you.  Follow the advice by restarting IIS Manager and the Management Service.

That is only the first step.  The next step is to setup DFS to keep the exported configuration in sync across all the nodes.  You can also setup a replication group in DFS to keep the web content in sync across the servers, also.  Please refer to my blog post on DFS to set that up.

You will follow the same steps for Shared Configuration on the other front-end nodes except you will use the exported configuration from this server that is now being synchronized across all the servers instead of exporting the configuration on the remaining servers.

Rick is a Senior Support Lead at OrcsWeb, a hosted server company providing managed hosting solutions.

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