Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

The IIS team recently published the Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0 release to the web.  You can learn more about it and download the final V2 release of it here.

What is the Web Farm Framework?

The Microsoft Web Farm Framework is a free, fully supported, Microsoft product that enables you to easily provision and mange a farm of web servers.  It enables you to automate the installation and configuration of platform components across the server farm, and enables you to automatically synchronize and deploy ASP.NET applications across them.

It supports integration with load balancers, and enables you to automate updates across your servers so that your site/application is never down or unavailable to customers (it can automatically pull servers one-at-a-time out of the load balancer rotation, update them, and then inject them back into rotation).

A few months ago I posted a tutorial about the Microsoft Web Farm Framework that demonstrates how to configure and use it.  You can read my tutorial about it here.

New Features Added to the Final V2 Release

This week’s RTW release includes several additional features that were not in the previous beta.  They include:

  • Workflow Builder can be used to define and schedule custom tasks that can be run on all servers in the farm. The tasks can be scheduled to run periodically or can be started manually by an administrator. An example of such task could be a msdeploy command to partially sync web site content.
  • Windows Credential Store support enables you to store the administrator credentials used for server provisioning in a secure Windows Credential Store. This enables an added layer of security when dealing with credentials with the Web Farm Framework.
  • Third party load balancers support via Web Farm Framework extensibility. It is now possible to configure  the Web Farm Framework to integrate with hardware load balancers instead of relying on the (free) IIS Application Request Routing module.
  • Improved support for advanced MSDeploy operations. More MSDeploy features can now be used with the Web Farm Framework for advanced deployment scenarios.
  • Improved support for syncing large amount of files. Several issues related to syncing large amounts of files across web farm nodes have been fixed between the beta and today’s release.

This week’s release also includes many bug fixes and performance optimizations.

Learning More

Visit the below links to learn more about the Web Farm Framework 2.0 release:

Summary

The Microsoft Web Farm Framework simplifies the provisioning and deployment of your web server infrastructure – both the servers themselves, as well as the web applications and sites you run on top of them. 

The Web Farm Framework enables a smoother continuous deployment workflow.  It also makes it easy to seamlessly scale your infrastructure by adding servers to it without additional management overhead.  Best of all it is available at no extra cost and works with all editions of Windows Server.

Hope this helps,

Scott

P.S. In addition to blogging, I am also now using Twitter for quick updates and to share links. Follow me at: twitter.com/scottgu

Published Thursday, January 20, 2011 9:47 PM by ScottGu

Comments

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Friday, January 21, 2011 2:14 AM by Johannes Hansen

Hi Scott, thats great! :) May I ask why the Web Farm Framework depends on Web Deploy 1.1 instead of Web Deploy 2.0?

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Friday, January 21, 2011 2:40 AM by Mark Kordon

I am definitely going to look into this, on the current project I'm working on! Sounds so sweet and easy! Really hope it is!

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Friday, January 21, 2011 3:05 AM by sliderhouserules

Any built-in integration with TFS build? If not, any planned for future release?

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Friday, January 21, 2011 4:20 AM by Wayne Ye

Can everything goes a little bit slower...New technology/product every day:)

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Friday, January 21, 2011 5:43 AM by Edward

'Several issues related to syncing large amounts of files across web farm nodes have been fixed between the beta and today’s release.'

Smells a bit too much beta to me (no pun intended). We have a couple of servers in a load balanced environment. I would not recommend a product for our critical enterprise environment when you know that several issues in critical functions are not fixed.

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Friday, January 21, 2011 9:28 AM by MetalliMyers

Do the 2 or more servers have to belong to a domain for this to work?

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Friday, January 21, 2011 12:42 PM by Larry Andersen

I am soooooo excited about this tool, but the documentation is woefully lacking.  Is there a plan to update the doco to provide some necessary detail such as how to integrate with 3rd party load balancers?  Thanks.

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Friday, January 21, 2011 1:03 PM by miksh

Scott, could you elaborate more re. third party load balancers support?

I didn't find anything about this topic in the WFF documentation on iis.net.  

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Friday, January 21, 2011 4:24 PM by Steve

How does this work with appfabric caching?

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Saturday, January 22, 2011 4:12 AM by Matt Duguid

What's the 3rd party support like for f5 h/w l/b?

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Saturday, January 22, 2011 7:25 AM by Typo Police

I couldn't help but notice that there is a rather unfortunate typo in the second sentence of this post. Just thought I'd mention it.

Great blog and awesome work!

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Sunday, January 23, 2011 11:15 AM by aa

Hi Scott, thats great!

one of big problem in use .net in my country is that .net is close source

and we can not run asp.net in linux os and will switch to j2ee .

i love .net for all but is not open source and mullti platform

why microsoft dont solve this problem ,mybe microsoft lose .net programmer and all .net programmer switch to java in future time

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 24, 2011 1:08 AM by ScottGu

@Johannes,

>>>>>> May I ask why the Web Farm Framework depends on Web Deploy 1.1 instead of Web Deploy 2.0?

I believe it works with either version installed. I think the reason it depends on 1.1 is because there aren't any 2.0 specific dependencies in it.

Hope this helps,

Scott

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 24, 2011 1:09 AM by ScottGu

@sliderhouserules,

>>>>>>> Any built-in integration with TFS build? If not, any planned for future release?

The Web Farm Framework doesn't have any specific TFS integration. However, you can use Web Deploy with TFS build and do automated build pushes to a cluster maintained with the Web Farm Framework.  

Hope this helps,

Scott

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 24, 2011 1:10 AM by ScottGu

@Joe,

>>>>>>>> Can you ask whoever is responsible for the Find Web Hosting website (www.microsoft.com/.../home) to provide a means to identify which hosting providers/plans would be good candidates that would support a web farm?  Ideally, it would be great if the IIS team could somehow indicte which ones the web farm framework was tested on.

In general I think most hosters that offer dedicated and virtual dedicated offerings should be good candidates for the web farm framework.  The additional thing to check is that they allow per machine network communication (which would be needed to synchronize the servers).

Hope this helps,

Scott

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 24, 2011 1:11 AM by ScottGu

@MetalliMyers,

>>>>>>> Do the 2 or more servers have to belong to a domain for this to work?

I don't believe so - I don't think there is a Domain dependency.

Hope this helps,

Scott

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 24, 2011 1:13 AM by ScottGu

@Edward,

>>>>>>> 'Several issues related to syncing large amounts of files across web farm nodes have been fixed between the beta and today’s release.'  Smells a bit too much beta to me (no pun intended). We have a couple of servers in a load balanced environment. I would not recommend a product for our critical enterprise environment when you know that several issues in critical functions are not fixed.

The comment above is that they've been fixed - *not* that we still know of issues.  The issues were found with the beta build and fixed with the final release (which shipped this month).

Hope this helps,

Scott

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 24, 2011 1:14 AM by ScottGu

@Larry,

>>>>>>> I am soooooo excited about this tool, but the documentation is woefully lacking.  Is there a plan to update the doco to provide some necessary detail such as how to integrate with 3rd party load balancers?  Thanks.

Sorry about that - we are working to get more documentation out there.  Here is a post that talks about integrating the Web Farm Framework with the F5 load balancing solution: blogs.iis.net/.../how-to-integrate-f5-with-web-farm-framework.aspx

Hope this helps,

Scott

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 24, 2011 1:14 AM by ScottGu

@mikesh,

>>>>>> Scott, could you elaborate more re. third party load balancers support?

Here is a post that covers F5 integration: blogs.iis.net/.../how-to-integrate-f5-with-web-farm-framework.aspx

Hope this helps,

Scott

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 24, 2011 1:17 AM by ScottGu

@Steve,

>>>>>> How does this work with appfabric caching?

You can use this with appfabric.  There isn't direct integration with appfabric caching, but it will work with applications that take advantage of it.

Hope this helps,

Scott

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 24, 2011 2:58 AM by Adeola Ojo

Cool Stuff... got to give it to microsoft ... u guys are thinking...

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 24, 2011 5:27 AM by kakoskin

Could you please post or point to step by step instructions how to install web farm framework on a server that has no connection to internet (most of our internet facing servers cannot access the internet) ?

I understand that Web Platform installer is a requirement (version 2.0 or 3.0?) and it also requires internet connection so I'm stuck.

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Saturday, January 29, 2011 4:12 PM by s0ftimage

Does the [Web Farm Framework] allow me to propagate/synchronize my session information across all web servers? In the case that I lose a web server, any other web server can take over the existing users and maintain their sessions information (i.e. shopping cart).

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 31, 2011 1:45 AM by setiri

I'm currently just running one server, but this tool seems it could be useful even just for managing it. Would that make sense to do?

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, January 31, 2011 1:46 AM by setiri

How about backups.. seems like this might be a useful extension for this tool, managing remote backup tasks.

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Friday, February 11, 2011 3:30 PM by Jason Merlin

Great stuff... got to hand it to Microsoft ... you guys are innovative...

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Monday, February 21, 2011 4:23 AM by Kaushalam

Asp.net framework is 3.5 framework is having advance features and more and more useful for your business needs in asp.net ecommerce type sites.

# re: Microsoft Web Farm Framework 2.0

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:41 PM by Zachary Scott

Two questions:

1) How do you get this to work with MVC 3 since both have redirectors, which produce a

2) How to you install the controller on the Primary Server without it copying the Web Farm Framework to the secondary and failing Web Farm Agent after a sync?