Evidian SafeKit brings load balancing and failover to IIS (Internet Information Services for Windows). This article explains how to implement quickly a IIS cluster without network load balancers or dedicated proxy servers. SafeKit is installed directly on the IIS servers. The high availabity module iis_farm.safe and a free trial are offered in the Installation tab below.
Note that SafeKit is a generic product. You can implement with the same product real-time replication and failover of directories and services, databases, docker containers, full Hyper-V or KVM virtual machines, Cloud applications. See other examples of mirror modules here.
This clustering solution is recognized as the simplest to implement by our customers and partners. It is also a complete solution that solves
On the previous figure, IIS services are running of the 3 servers. Users are connected to a virtual IP address which is configured locally on each server. The input traffic for the virtual IP address is received by all the servers and split among them by a filter inside each server's kernel.
The network load balancing algorithm inside the filter is based on the identity of the client packets (client IP address, client TCP port). Depending on the identity of the client packet input, only one filter in a server accepts the packet; the other filters in other servers reject it.
Once a packet is accepted by the filter on a server, only the CPU and memory of this server are used by IIS services that responds to the request of the client. The output messages are sent directly from the IIS server to the client.
If a server fails, the SafeKit membership protocol reconfigures the filters in the network load balancing cluster to re-balance the traffic on the remaining available servers.
Note that that you can deploy several modules on the same cluster. Each module will have its own virtual IP address. For example, you can implement a mixed of farm and mirror modules.
The configuration is presented with 2 nodes but it can be made with more than 2 nodes.
Important: all the configuration is made from a single browser.
Launch the web console in a browser on one node by connecting to http://localhost:9010 (next image). You can also run the console in a browser on an external workstation by connecting to the physical IP address of one node.
To secure the web console, see 11. Securing the SafeKit web console in the User's Guide.
Enter IP address of the first node and click on Confirm (next image)
Click on New node and enter IP address of the second node (next image)
Then click on the red floppy disk to save the configuration (next image)
In the previous image, the save operation put the IP addresses in the file c:\safekit\cluster\cluster.xml and apply the distributed command c:\safekit\safekit –H "*" -G which configures node 1 and node 2. So do not redo this operation on the other node. Check the connectivity and firewall between both nodes for troubleshooting.
In the Configuration tab, click on iis_farm.safe (xxx.safe in the next image) then enter iis_farm as the module name and Confirm (the console finds iis_farm.safe in the demo/ directory that you previously filled in the Installation tab)
Click on Validate (next image)
Set the virtual IP address of the cluster, the TCP port of the service to load balance and the criterion on source IP address or source TCP port (next image).
A virtual IP address is a new unused IP address in the same IP network (same subnet) as the IP addresses of the two nodes. The load balancing will be made on the virtual IP address/TCP port according the criterion. This article explains difference between source IP address and source TCP port.
Click on Validate (previous image)
Click on Configure (previous image)
Check the success green message on both servers and click on Next (previous image)
Start the cluster on both nodes (previous image). Check that the status becomes UP (green) - UP (green) (next image).
The cluster is operational with IIS services running on both UP nodes (previous image).
Be careful, components which are clients of the IIS services must be configured with the virtual IP address. The configuration can be made with a DNS name (if a DNS name has been created and associated with the virtual IP address).
Check with Windows Microsoft Management Console (MMC) that the IIS services have been started by start_both on both UP nodes. Put IIS services with Boot Startup Type = Manual (SafeKit controls start of IIS services).
Stop one UP node by scrolling down the menu of the node and by clicking on Stop. Check that the load balancing is reconfigured with only the other node taking all TCP connections. And check with Windows Microsoft Management Console (MMC) that the IIS services have been stopped by stop_both on the STOP node.
Configure boot start (next image on the right side) configures the automatic boot of the module when the server boots. Do this configuration on both nodes once the IIS load balancing and failover solution is correctly running.
Note that for synchronizing SafeKit at boot and at shutdown on Windows, we assume that a command line has been run on both nodes during installation as administrator: .\addStartupShutdown.cmd in C:\safekit\private\bin (otherwise dot it now only once).
Read the module log to understand the reasons of a failover, of a waiting state on the availability of a resource etc...
To see the module log of node 1 (next image):
Repeat the same operation to see the module log of node 2.
Read the application log to see the output messages of the stat_both and stop_both restart scripts.
To see the application log of node 1 (next image):
Repeat the same operation to see the application log of node 2.
In Advanced Configuration tab (next image), you can edit internal files of the module: bin/start_both and bin/stop_both and conf/userconfig.xml (next image on the left side). If you make change in the internal files here, you must apply the new configuration by a right click on the blue icon/xxx on the left side (next image): the interface will allow you to redeploy the modified files on both servers.
<!DOCTYPE safe> <safe> <macro name="VIRTUAL_IP" value="VIRTUAL_IP_TO_BE_DEFINED" /> <macro name="IIS_PORT" value="TCP_PORT_TO_BE_DEFINED" /> <service mode="farm" maxloop="3" loop_interval="24"> <!-- Farm topology configuration for the membership protocol --> <!-- Names or IP addresses on the default network are set during initialization in the console --> <farm> <lan name="default" /> </farm> <!-- Virtual IP Configuration --> <!-- Use VIRTUAL_IP defined in macro above --> <vip> <interface_list> <interface check="on" arpreroute="on"> <virtual_interface type="vmac_directed"> <virtual_addr addr="%VIRTUAL_IP%" where="alias"/> </virtual_interface> </interface> </interface_list> <loadbalancing_list> <group name="IIS"> <!-- Set load-balancing rule on IIS_PORT defined in macro above --> <rule port="%IIS_PORT%" proto="tcp" filter="on_addr"/> </group> </loadbalancing_list> </vip> <!-- TCP Checker Configuration --> <!-- Use VIRTUAL_IP and IIS_PORT defined in macros above --> <check> <tcp ident="HTTP_IIS" when="both"> <to addr="%VIRTUAL_IP%" port="%IIS_PORT%" interval="10" timeout="5" /> </tcp> </check> <!-- User scripts activation --> <user nicestoptimeout="300" forcestoptimeout="300" logging="userlog" /> </service> </safe>
@echo off rem Script called on all servers for starting applications rem For logging into SafeKit log use: rem "%SAFE%\safekit" printi | printe "message" rem stdout goes into Application log echo "Running start_both %*" set res=0 net start w3svc if not %errorlevel% == 0 ( %SAFE%\safekit printi "IIS start failed" ) else ( %SAFE%\safekit printi "IIS started" ) set res=%errorlevel% if %res% == 0 goto end :stop set res=%errorlevel% "%SAFE%\safekit" printe "start_both failed" rem uncomment to stop SafeKit when critical rem "%SAFE%\safekit" stop -i "start_both" :end
@echo off rem Script called on all servers for stopping application rem For logging into SafeKit log use: rem "%SAFE%\safekit" printi | printe "message" rem ---------------------------------------------------------- rem rem 2 stop modes: rem rem - graceful stop rem call standard application stop with net stop rem rem - force stop (%1=force) rem kill application's processes rem rem ---------------------------------------------------------- rem stdout goes into Application log echo "Running stop_both %*" set res=0 rem default: no action on forcestop if "%1" == "force" goto end %SAFE%\safekit printi "Stopping IIS..." net stop w3svc rem If necessary, uncomment to wait for the real stop of services rem "%SAFEBIN%\sleep" 10 if %res% == 0 goto end "%SAFE%\safekit" printe "stop_both failed" :end
|OEM Software||Distributed Enterprise||Remote Sites|
|A software publisher uses SafeKit as an OEM software for high availability of its application||A distributed enterprise deploys SafeKit in many branches without specific IT skills||SafeKit is deployed in two remote sites without the need for replicated bays of disks through a SAN|
The ideal product for a software publisher
“SafeKit is the ideal application clustering solution for a software publisher. We currently have deployed more than 80 SafeKit clusters worldwide with our critical TV broadcasting application.”
The product very easy to deploy for a reseller
“Noemis, a value added distributor of Milestone Video Surveillance, has assisted integrators to deploy the SafeKit redundancy solution on many projects such as city surveillance, datacenters, stadiums and other critical infrastructures. SafeKit is a great product, and Evidian provides a great support.”
The product to gain time for a system integrator
“Thanks to a simple and powerful product, we gained time in the integration and validation of our critical projects like the supervision of Paris metro lines (the control rooms).”
In video surveillance systems and access control, Evidian SafeKit implements high availability with synchronous replication and failover of
Sebastien Temoin, Technical and Innovation Director, NOEMIS, value added distributor of Milestone solutions:
"SafeKit by Evidian is a professional solution making easy the redundancy of Milestone Management Server, Event Server, Log Server. The solution is easy to deploy, easy to maintain and can be added on existing installation. We have assisted integrators to deploy the solution on many projects such as city surveillance, datacenters, stadiums and other critical infrastructures. SafeKit is a great product, and Evidian provides great support. Happy to help if you have any questions."
Harmonic is using SafeKit as a software OEM high availability solution and deploys it with its TV broadcasting solutions over satellites, terrestrials, cable, IPTV.
Over 80 SafeKit clusters are deployed on Windows for replication of Harmonic database and automatic failover of the critical application.
Philippe Vidal, Product Manager, Harmonic says:
“SafeKit is the ideal application clustering solution for a software publisher looking for a simple and economical high availability software. We are deploying SafeKit worldwide and we currently have more than 80 SafeKit clusters on Windows with our critical TV broadcasting application through terrestrial, satellite, cable and IP-TV. SafeKit implements the continuous and real-time replication of our database as well as the automatic failover of our application for software and hardware failures. Without modifying our application, it was possible for us to customize the installation of SafeKit. Since then, the time of preparation and implementation has been significantly reduced.”
The European Society of Warranties and Guarantees in Natixis uses SafeKit as a high availability solution for its applications.
Over 30 SafeKit clusters are deployed on Unix and Windows in Natixis.
Fives Syleps implements high availability of its ERP with SafeKit and deploys the solution in the food industry.
Over 20 SafeKit clusters are deployed on Linux and Windows with Oracle.
Testimonial of Fives Syleps:
"The automated factories that we equip rely on our ERP. It is not possible that our ERP is out of service due to a computer failure. Otherwise, the whole activity of the factory stops.
We chose the Evidian SafeKit high availability product because it is an easy to use solution. It is implemented on standard servers and does not require the use of shared disks on a SAN and load balancing network boxes.
It allows servers to be put in remote computer rooms. In addition, the solution is homogeneous for Linux and Windows platforms. And it provides 3 functionalities: load balancing between servers, automatic failover and real-time data replication.”
Over 20 SafeKit clusters are deployed on Windows.
Tony Myers, Director of Business Development says:
"By developing applications for air traffic control, Copperchase is in one of the most critical business activities. We absolutely need our applications to be available all the time. We have found with SafeKit a simple and complete clustering solution for our needs. This software combines in a single product load balancing, real time data replication with no data loss and automatic failover. This is why, Copperchase deploys SafeKit for air traffic control in airports in the UK and the 30 countries where we are present."
Software vendor Wellington IT deploys SafeKit high availability with its banking application for Credit Unions in Ireland and UK.
Over 25 SafeKit clusters are deployed on Linux with Oracle.
Peter Knight, Sales Manager says:
"Business continuity and disaster recovery are a major concern for our Locus banking application deployed in numerous Credit Unions around Ireland and the UK. We have found with SafeKit a simple and robust solution for high availability and synchronous replication between two servers with no data loss. With this software solution, we are not dependent on a specific and costly hardware clustering solution. It is a perfect tool to provide a software high availability option to an application of a software vendor."
Paris transport company (RATP) chose the SafeKit high availability and load balancing solution for the centralized control room of line 1 of the Paris subway.
20 SafeKit clusters are deployed on Windows and Linux.
Stéphane Guilmin, RATP, Project manager says:
"Automation of line 1 of the Paris subway is a major project for RATP, requiring a centralized command room (CCR) designed to resist IT failures. With SafeKit, we have three distinct advantages to meet this need. Firstly, SafeKit is a purely software solution that does not demand the use of shared disks on a SAN and network boxes for load balancing. It is very simple to separate our servers into separate machine rooms. Moreover, this clustering solution is homogeneous for our Windows and Linuxplatforms. SafeKit provides the three functions that we needed: load balancing between servers, automatic failover after an incident and real time data replication."
And also, Philippe Marsol, Atos BU Transport, Integration Manager says:
“SafeKit is a simple and powerful product for application high availability. We have integrated SafeKit in our critical projects like the supervision of Paris metro Line 4 (the control room) or Marseille Line 1 and Line 2 (the operations center). Thanks to the simplicity of the product, we gained time for the integration and validation of the solution and we had also quick answers to our questions with a responsive Evidian team.”
The software integrator Systel deploys SafeKit high-availability solution in firefighter and emergency medical call centers.
Over 30 SafeKit clusters are deployed on Windows with SQL Server.
Marc Pellas, CEO says:
"SafeKit perfectly meets the needs of a software vendor. Its main advantage is that it brings in high availability through a software option that is added to our own multi-platform software suite. This way, we are not dependent on a specific and costly hardware clustering solution that is not only difficult to install and maintain, but also differs according to client environments. With SafeKit, our firefighter call centers are run with an integrated software clustering solution, which is the same for all our customers, is user friendly and for which we master the installation up to after-sales support."
ERP high availability and load balancing of the French army (DGA) are made with SafeKit.
14 SafeKit clusters are deployed on Windows and Linux.
Alexandre Barth, Systems administrator says:
"Our production team implemented the SafeKit solution without any difficulty on 14 Windows and Linux clusters. Our critical activity is thus secure, with high-availability and load balancing functions. The advantages of this product are easy deployment and administration of clusters, on the one hand, and uniformity of the solution in the face of heterogeneous operating systems, on the other hand."
Evidian SafeKit farm cluster with load balancing and failover
The solution does not require load balancers or dedicated proxy servers above the farm for imlementing load balancing. SafeKit is installed directly on the IIS servers in the farm. The load balancing is based on a standard virtual IP address/Ethernet MAC address and is working with physical servers or virtual machines on Windows and Linux without special network configuration
This is not the case with network load balancers
This is not the case with dedicated proxies on Linux
This is not the case with a specific multicast Ethernet address on Windows
The solution includes all clustering features: virtual IP address, load balancing on client IP address or on sessions, monitoring of server / network / software failures, automatic IIS restart with a quick revovery time and a replication option with a mirror module
This is not the case with other load balancing solutions. They are able to make load balancing but they do not include a full clustering solution with restart scripts and automatic IIS restart in case of failure. They do not offer a replication option
The cluster configuration is very simple and made with the iis_farm.safe module. There is no domain controller or active directory to configure on Windows. The solution works on Windows and Linux
Other services and multiple virtual IP addresses can be added to the iis_farm.safe module to complement the SafeKit / IIS high availability solution
If servers are connected to the same IP network through an extended LAN between remote sites, the virtual IP address of SafeKit is working with load balancing at level 2
If servers are connected to different IP networks between remote sites, the virtual IP address can be configured at the level of a load balancer with the help of the SafeKit health check. Thus you can implement load balancing but also all the clustering features of SafeKit, in particular monitoring and automatic recovery of the critical application on application servers
SafeKit imlements a farm cluster with load balancing and failover. But it implements also a mirror cluster with replication and failover.
Thus a N-tiers architecture can be made highly available and load balanced with the same solution on Windows and Linux (same installation, configuration, administration with the SafeKit console or with the command line interface). This is unique on the market
This is not the case with an architecture mixing different technologies for load balancing, replication and failover
A simple software cluster with the SafeKit package just installed on two servers
Complex hardware clustering with external storage or network load balancers
SafeKit is a shared-nothing cluster: easy to deploy even in remote sites
A shared disk cluster is complex to deploy
Application HA supports hardware failure and software failure with a quick recovery time (RTO around 1 mn or less).
Application HA requires to define restart scripts per application and folders to replicate (SafeKit application modules).
Full virtual machines HA supports only hardware failure with a VM reboot and a recovery time depending on the OS reboot.
No restart scripts to define with full virtual machines HA (SafeKit hyperv.safe or kvm.safe modules). Hypervisors are active/active with just multiple virtual machines.
No dedicated server with SafeKit.
Each server can be the failover server of the other one.
Secondary server dedicated to the execution of the same application synchronized at the instruction level.
SafeKit implements real-time synchronous replication with no data loss in case of failure
With asynchronous replication, there is data loss on failure
SafeKit implements real-time byte-level file replication and is simply configured with application directories to replicate even in the system disk
Block-level disk replication is complex to configure and requires to put application data in a special disk
To avoid 2 masters, SafeKit proposes a simple split brain checker configured on a router
To avoid 2 masters, other clusters require a complex configuration with a third machine, a special quorum disk, a special interconnect
No dedicated proxy servers and no special network configuration are required in a SafeKit cluster for virtual IP addresses
Special network configuration is required in other clusters for virtual IP addresses. Note that SafeKit offers a health check adapted to load balancers
This video shows a mirror module configuration with synchronous real-time replication and failover.
The file replication and the failover are configured for Microsoft SQL Server but it works in the same manner for other databases.
This video shows a farm module configuration with load balancing and failover.
The load balancing and the failover are configured for Apache but it works in the same manner for other web services.
This video shows a Hyper-V cluster with full replications of virtual machines.
Virtual machines can run on both Hyper-V servers and they are restarted in case of failure.
Real-time file replication and failover
|Generic mirror >||Generic mirror >|
|Microsoft SQL Server >||-|
|Oracle >||Oracle >|
|MariaDB >||MariaDB >|
|MySQL >||MySQL >|
|PostgreSQL >||PostgreSQL >|
|Firebird >||Firebird >|
|Windows Hyper-V >||-|
|-||Linux KVM >|
|Milestone XProtect >||-|
|Genetec SQL Server >||-|
|Hanwha Wisenet >||-|
|Nedap AEOS >||-|
|Amazon AWS mirror >||Amazon AWS mirror >|
|Microsoft Azure mirror >||Microsoft Azure mirror >|
|Google GCP mirror >||Google GCP mirror >|
|Other cloud >||Other cloud >|