Below is a guest post from Rick Barber, the Senior Support Specialist at OrcsWeb, a managed Windows hosting provider specializing in Windows cloud server hosting and dedicated Windows hosting. If you find the following to be useful, check out the link at the end for more resourceful tips from Rick.
Before the release of Internet Information Services (IIS) 7, setting up a website on multiple servers was quite an experience. This task has become much easier with the release of IIS 7 and the Shared Configuration feature. By using Shared Configuration, you can share your IIS configuration across multiple servers. Please note that this article is focused on the back end configuration of the web servers and not the front end task of load balancing the servers.
Shared Configuration allows you to set up Internet Information Services (IIS) quickly and easily on multiple servers so that the sites, application pools and IIS server settings are consistent across two or more servers. You only have to configure a server one time and then you can replicate the IIS settings. Shared Configuration is not for individual sites on a server but for the entire IIS configuration on a server.
To configure Shared Configuration on your IIS 7 or later server, open up Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager on the server where all of your sites are configured. Select the server in the right Connections pane and scroll down to Shared Configuration under Management in the Features View of the middle pane. When you double click Shared Configuration you are presented with the Shared Configuration feature.
The first thing you want to do is export your configuration so it can be used on the other servers. In the right pane click Export Configuration…
This brings up the Export Configuration window. Choose a physical path to store your configuration information. I prefer to use C:\inetpub\IISSharedConfig. Select a strong Encryption keys password and make sure to document this in a secure location. Once you are done, click OK.
Back at the Shared Configuration feature, check the box to Enable shared configuration. Browse to the physical path where you exported your IIS server settings in the previous step. You can leave the User name: and Password: blank and it will use SYSTEM. When you click Apply in the upper right Actions pane, you will be prompted to enter the Encryption keys password. After that, this server is now using the Shared Configuration that you exported.
Now all that remains is to copy the exported configuration files to the next server where you want to set up shared configuration and perform the steps in the previous paragraph. I highly recommend that you use Distributed File System (DFS) to replicate the IIS configuration between all the servers that are using the same Shared Configuration. That will enable you to easily make configuration changes to IIS in the future and keep those changes in sync with all your servers. You may need to close and reopen IIS Manager to see the changes.
Rick has been blogging for OrcsWeb, in addition to a few other things, since 2004. If you think this information has been resourceful, check out all Ricks posts, and leave a comment, We’d love to know how this helped.