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20Mar/170

Basic SharePoint load balancing

I’ve recently created a simple lab which gave me some answers around load balancing a SharePoint 2016 farm with SSL offloading.

To start, I’ve created a couple of virtual servers (on top of my “supercool home Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V PC” Smile) – a domain controller, a SQL server and two SharePoint servers. I’ve also downloaded a KEMP LoadMaster appliance (there is also a free one here, which would have been just enough for this lab) and prepared my DigiCert wildcard certificate (there is no need for the wildcard option, but this is the one I already have, so I’ve decided to use it).

So… I’ve prepared a domain controller, joined all the other servers to the domain and then installed SQL Server 2016. After that, on SharePoint servers, I’ve ran a preparation wizard and created a new SharePoint farm from the first node… with second node joining to it later. At the end, I’ve done the “Farm configuration” wizard and was all set to do the load balancing part. (And yes – I know that clicking “Next” is lame, but… it works. Smile)

The networking configuration for this lab is pretty simple. I have two VLANs – 111 (backend, where all the servers are residing) and VLAN 101 (frontend, where my LB virtual servers are).

I’ve created a new virtual machine for the load balancer, attached it to the two mentioned networks and also added the virtual disk downloaded from KEMP’s website.

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After that, I’ve done the initial configuration wizard of LoadMaster which is actually straight-forward (setting the password, IP addresses, and importing a certificate afterwards).

With this done, we can create our virtual service(s) – there is actually a great guide for configuring the SharePoint load balancing virtual servers with KEMP LoadMaster.

I’ve used the following basic (manual) settings for my virtual service:

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HINT: When troubleshooting load balancing – make sure that you have only one node behind the balancer… it makes things so much easier to troubleshoot! Smile

One last thing that wasn’t working with this “Next, Next, Next…” configuration was the Alternate Access Mappings (AAM) part – to be able to access a SharePoint farm over HTTPS and a public name, AAM should “know about it”. There is a great guide about AAM available – make sure you read it.

Default AAM settings for my farm were:

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After (a lot) of troubleshooting and research, they were changed to this:

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And… that’s it – it works! Smile

My totally awesome SharePoint 2016 site, located behind a load balancer and published with a trusted certificate (with SSL session terminating on my virtual KEMP load balancer), was alive:

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To conclude - in all the configuration that was done, setting the AAM right was something that gave me most of the headache (load balancing/redirections not working right, troubleshooting what’s happening, etc.). Pay special attention to it! Once you figure it out, you’re done. Smile

Cheers!