How to spin up more servers when your production servers are pegged

As a web developer we are usually concerned with code.  We spend all our day figuring out how to solve different programming tasks, but recently I had the opportunity of adding servers to our existing production server farm because they were pegged and couldn’t handle the load.  Luckily everything went smoothly and the steps that I took are as follows:

server

  • First you must have a server(s) at your disposal.  Once you have a new server, ensure that it has the correct version of web farm software by using the Web Platform installer in the IIS Manager (at the time of this writing it is Web Farm 2.2).  Also install what ever stuff you need for your websites to run properly (e.g., performance counters)
  • Now open up IIS Manager on your Primary server and hit “Add Server”.  Enter the server ip address, uncheck “Server is available for Load Balancing” and hit Add.  The server should be listed in the middle window with a Status of “offline”.  Hit OK.
  • At this point the web farm replication process will take over and replicate/synchronize the newly added server.  If for some reason nothing happens, then I would go to the Services and find all four services that start with “Web xxxx” and restart them all on your primary server.
  • Once the replication process is done you have to ensure that everything went smoothly and nothing weird happen.  To do that, take the following steps on your new server that’s still offline
    • open up the HOST file (C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\host) and enter the server ip address along with your site name (e.g.,  10.122.0.156   myawesome.site.com)
    • open up a web browser and launch your site
    • make certain that your site behaves properly
    • when you are certain – remove the host entry
  • Now the only thing left to do is adding it to the load balancer and you’re done.

Hope this helps, have fun!