Setting up a server farm using the Web Farm Framework 2.0 for IIS 7 (2023)

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  • 7 minutes to read

by Randall DuBois

This article describes how to install and configure Microsoft Web Farm Framework (WFF) 2.0 for IIS 7 and later. It includes the following:

  1. How to set up and configure a primary server with the desired platform components and content.
  2. To use a web farm controller server, create a server farm and add the primary server and all secondary servers. This also sets up the server for load balancing with Application Request Rerouting (ARR).
  3. How to specify additional web platform components and Microsoft Web Deploy providers that you want to deploy and synchronize.

The article also describes how WFF automatically mounts the secondary servers and syncs the content from the primary server.

After you complete the steps to install and configure WFF, your server farm will not require any additional configuration or manual monitoring. Any application you install or deploy on the primary server is automatically updated on the secondary servers.

WFF uses the Microsoft Web Platform Installer (Web PI) and Web Deploy as mechanisms for updating products and applications. You can perform any of the tasks described using the user interface, APIs, and Windows PowerShell cmdlets. For information about using APIs or Windows PowerShell, seeWeb Farm Framework 2.0 code sample for IIS 7 and laterorWeb Farm Framework 2.0 for IIS 7 and later Cmdlets for Windows PowerShell.

Setting up a server farm

Setting up a server farm consists of the following tasks:

  • Installing the Web Farm Framework 2.0 on the controller server.
  • Configure the primary server.
  • Prepare the secondary servers.
  • Creating a server farm.
  • Optional display of status using trace messages.
  • Configure logging.

Install Web Farm Framework 2.0

You just need to install the web farm framework on the computer that will be the web farm frameworkController-Server. The Controller service installs the Web Farm Framework agent on the other servers in the server farm.

You can install Web Farm Framework 2.0 using the Microsoft Web Platform Installer:

Alternatively, you can download the .msi file appropriate for your computer architecture (x86orx64).

(Video) Creating Server Farms in IIS 7 Step by Step


WFF requires the Web Deployment Engine. If you are installing WFF using an .msi installer, you must also install the .msi fileweb deliveryModule version 1.1 or higher on the controller server.

How to install Web Farm Framework 2.0 using the web platform installer

  1. Install and run the web platform installer.
  2. ChooseProductstab, and then selectServer.
  3. FindWebfarm-Framework 2.0, and then click Add.
  4. ClickTo install.

Configure the primary server

These steps should be performed on the computer that will be the primary server in the server farm. The components and applications installed on the primary server are deployed and synchronized with the secondary servers in the farm.

How to configure the primary server

  1. Download and install itMicrosoft-Webplattform-Installer.
  2. Launch the web platform installer and select the web platform components and applications that you want to install on the primary server.
  3. Follow the steps in the web platform installer to complete the installation of the selected components.

Prepare the secondary servers

These steps should be performed on all secondary servers that will be part of the server farm. Before adding servers to a server farm, ensure that the following communication requirements are met:

  • Each server participating in the server farm must havelikeof the following:

    • A local administrator account with the same username and password on each server.

      • or -
    • A domain account that is a member of the local Administrators group.

When you create a server farm, use this account as the administrator account for the server farm.

  • Ensure that the appropriate firewall exceptions are configured as described inSystem and platform requirements for the web farm frameworkArticle.

Creating a server farm

These steps should be performed on the controller server after WFF has been installed.

How to create a server farm

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  1. OpenIIS-Managerand expand the nodes in thelinksField. right clickServerfarmand then clickCreate server farm. TheCreate server farmAssistant started.

  2. Enter a name for the server farm.

  3. TheA server farm is available for load balancingThe check box is selected by default. This creates a server farm configured for load balancing using Application Request Routing (ARR). If you don't want ARR load balancing, uncheck the box.

  4. ChooseDeploy server farm.


You can enable or disable provisioning after the server farm is created. For more information, seeDeploying a server farm using the web farm framework for IIS 7 and later.

  1. Enter a username and password for the administrator account, then clickNext.


The account specified must have administrative privileges on all computers participating in the server farm.

  1. ImAdd serversStep enter the server name or IP address of a server that you want to add, and then clickAdd to.

    • ChooseServer is available for load balancingOption to load balance the server when creating the farm.
      • If you are adding the server that you configured as the primary server, select itPrimary Servercheck box.
        Setting up a server farm using the Web Farm Framework 2.0 for IIS 7 (5)
  2. ClickAdd to. WFF tries to connect to the specified server. If you see an error, it means that WFF cannot connect to the server. You can still add the server to the farm or change the server name or address and try again. Make sure the server you are connecting to meets the requirements listed inPrepare the secondary servers.

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  3. When you are finished adding servers to the farm, clickEnd. WFF creates the server farm.

You can customize or define URL rewrite rules to configure load balancing. For more information, seeUsing the URL rewrite moduleAndForwarding of application requests.

When you create a server farm, WFF installs an agent service on each of the servers in the farm. WFF then synchronizes all platform components, configuration, applications and content between the primary server and the secondary servers. You can manage deployment for a single server or for all servers in the farm from a single view.

Add or remove servers

You can add or remove servers in a server farm at any time. If you remove the primary server from the farm, no further deployment occurs.

How to add a server to the farm

  1. In IIS Manager, expand theserver farmsknots in thelinksand then expand the node for the server farm you created.

  2. ChooseServerNodes in the server farm, and then clickAdd serversin the action area.


You can also right click on theServernode and then clickAdd servers.

  1. Follow the steps to add a serverCreate a server farm.

How to remove a server from the farm

  1. In IIS Manager, expand theserver farmsknots in thelinksand then expand the server farm node.
  2. ChooseServernode in the server farm, and then in the content pane, right-click the name of the server that you want to remove and clickRemove server.

For information about deploying your server farm, seeDeploying a server farm using the web farm framework for IIS 7 and later.

(Video) Configuring IIS Application Request Routing

Show trace messages

Trace messages display information about the status or the results of operations performed on the server farm, such as: B. Server start and stop operations and application deployment status. The trace message queue is limited to 1000 messages. After 1000 messages have been queued, each new message received removes a message from the front of the queue.

Trace messages are displayed at the bottom of theServerarea when you clickServerknots in thelinksFeld.

When viewing trace messages, you can do the following:

  • Filter messages by server, which allows you to select the server you want to see messages for.
  • View the server's role and status (primary or secondary).
  • View the last error on a server without having to look at the detailed logs.

Trace messages provide you with the following information about the servers in the server farm:

  • time stamp- The time the operation was performed.

  • Trace-Level- The severity of the operation or error associated with the message. You can filter messages by verbosity level usingverbosity leveldrop-down list. Trace levels include the following:

    • Out of- Indicates whether the server is offline.
    • Mistake– Displays only errors.
    • warning- Displays warning and error messages.
    • Die Info- Displays status or results of operations and includes error and warning messages.
    • Detailed– Displays all trace messages.
  • News– The condition that generated the message.

Configure logging

WFF logging information is generated by the named serviceWebFarmService. By default, the service only provides error information in theWebFarmService.logfile in the%Programme%\IIS\Microsoft Web Farm FrameworkBinder. If you want to log other messages, you need to add a new oneDWORDnamed valueEnabledTraceLevelto the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\IIS Extensions\WebFarm Framework

You can set the value ofEnabledTraceLevelKey to match the verbosity level filter you want to apply to logging. The verbosity filter corresponds to the EnabledTraceLevel value as follows:

0 - Off
1 - Error messages only
2 - Warning and error messages
3 - Information, warning and error messages
4 - Detailed (all messages)

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