We’ve done some testing on the recommended ways to install Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) for use with a Team Foundation Server (TFS) warm standby Application Tier (AT) configuration and we would like to share our suggestions with you.

If you are planning a TFS warm standby configuration, you should plan to install WSS on a server that is separate from either AT machine. This is the officially recommended solution.

If you find yourself in a different situation, please read the section below:

If you have already installed your primary AT and have installed WSS on that server, you need to consider a few options before installing the warm standby AT server. The installation of the warm standby AT server WILL NOT install WSS on the warm standby AT server. Once the installation process detects that a warm standby AT is being installed it assumes you have already planned your WSS installation. If you haven’t, here are the options you have (in addition to a separate WSS server):

A. Install WSS 3.0 on the Standby AT as a new server farm with its own config & admincontent databases. Extend the default web site on the warm standby AT with a temporary content database. At the time when a failover needs to occur & the primary AT is not available, you can attach the content db of the WSS 3.0 deployment on the primary AT as the content db of the default web site on the secondary (warm standby) AT and remove the temporary one. If using FQDN and/or SSL you will need to add to or correct the Alternate Access Mappings in WSS.

B. Install WSS 3.0 on the Standby AT as a new server in the existing server farm created by the WSS 3.0 deployment on the primary AT. This configuration will not create a new config & admincontent db. The WSS 3.0 deployment on the primary & standby ATs will share the same Config & AdminContent dbs. The catch here is that once the standby AT becomes a server in an existing farm shared with the primary AT, you won’t be able to extend the default web site on it. When the need comes to failover to the WSS 3.0 instance on the standby AT (with the WSS 3.0 on primary no longer available), you would have to un-extend the default web site of the primary AT through the central admin site on the secondary AT without deleting the content database. Then use the central admin site on the secondary AT to create a new web application, extend the default web site with a temporary content db on the secondary AT & attach the content database containing your site collection to this new web application.

Many thanks to Lakhminder Singh for researching this issue. Watch here for some terrific scripts he will be providing to automate the actions mentioned above.

Trevor Hancock

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