Using Network Load Balancing with View

If you have a smaller View deployment but still want to have redundant connection servers look no further than Microsoft NLB. Solve this problem without the need for an expensive hardware loadbalancer. Will it have all of the bells and whistles? No. If you have less than a 1000 users you probably would not see the benefit of the advanced features in a hardware load balancer. Make sure to read the whitepaper from VMware about NLB in Virtual Machines.

I am making the assumption you are like me and want everything to be as virtual as possible. So the View Connection Manager servers will be VM’s

Setup the primary and replica View Servers

I won’t go over installing View. Just be sure to setup the initial manager server. Then go ahead and setup the replica VM.

Configure NLB

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Go the the Administrative tools and open the Network Load Balancing Manager. Right click the top node in the tree menu on the left and select New Cluster. Set the IP and other information you will used for the Load Balanced cluster. This is a new IP not used by your View Manager servers. In the VMware document referenced above VMware recommends setting the Cluster operation mode to **Multicast. ** Click Next then next again. When asked to configure port rules I leave it on the default and click next. You can chose limit this to certain ports.

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Click Next again and enter localhost in the wizard to configure the local interfaces for NLB. Click next and make sure to note the priority. When setting up the replica server this number needs to be different. Finally click finish and wait for the configuration to finish. You should now be able to ping your new cluster IP address.

Setup the Replica Server in the Load Balancer

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Righ Click the node in the tree menu for the NLB Cluster you just created and select Add new host to cluster. Enter the IP for the Replica Server and click connect. Select the interface that will be used for the Load Balancing and click next. Make sure the Priority is unique from the first server. If it gives you any grief after this point close and re-open the Network Load balancing Manager. The working cluster should look like this:

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Test the Failover

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Start a continual ping to the cluster IP. Now use the vSphere Client to disconnect the network from one of the servers. Watch the pings continue to come back.

Finally, create a DNS A record (something like desktop.yourdomain.com) and point it to the cluster IP. You now have some decent failover in case of a VM failure and even a host failure (suggestion would be to use seperate hosts for the VM’s).

Note - You may need to add static ARP entries into your switching depending on your network topology. Be sure to test this fully and consult your network manufacturer’s documention for help with static ARP.

Written on April 26, 2010