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We have what we believe to be a very common problem but are having trouble coming up with a solid answer. In our production Windows web environment we have 4 redundant public-facing web servers. Content changes are done on an internal-only web server and should be immediately available on the front end servers. Currently we achieve this through CA Arcserve, which seems to work well except for when it doesn't (bugs/crashing/misconfiguration/etc?)

In our unix environment we use a clustered file system (veritas), to achieve this, and are considering switching our windows environment to use the same technology.

What are the common solutions to this problem? Are there writeups of tradeoffs between using clustering technology versus replication technology? What are the most commonly used solutions in other enterprises?

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Assuming these servers are all in the same Windows AD forest, and you can handle up to a few seconds delay from a file being closed, you have a perfect use case for Microsoft DFS Replication.

If you really need truly immediate updates for some very strange reason, then you will need a real clustered and distributed file system that does multi-phase commit between all the replicas. Note that this will make write performance as slow as your slowest server and link.

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And Veritas also has such a clustered file-system for Windows, much as it does for Unix. They're like that. – sysadmin1138 Aug 26 '11 at 14:31
Thank you! We asked this question to MS and the response was that DFSR was not optimal in our environment for the following reasons: we currently have our public web servers in a separate AD forest which is unsupported, single master/multiple slave configuration (one way sync) is possible but not supported, little to no reporting – Joel Aug 26 '11 at 17:13
The single master/multiple slaves secnario is The reporting is adequate in my experience. The separate AD forests a is probably your showstopper for using DFS-R. If you can change that, it will work very well. Otherwise I would look at third-party file replication solutions (rather than a full-on clustered+distributed filesystem, which is a big hammer to hit a small nail in this case.) – rmalayter Aug 26 '11 at 18:10

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