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I'm shortly going to be setting up our eCommerce site on 3 web servers, all running Windows Server 2003 We also use a hardware load balancer.

What is the best way of keeping all 3 in sync?

Ie: our 3 servers are:

Web1 Web2 Web3

How can i make web2 and web3 be the same at all times, so i only need to ftp / transfer files to Web1?

Is there such a thing?

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Will your servers have the R2 addon for 2003? If so, you've got DFS Replication right out of the box. It's designed for exactly the situation you describe. All files in a particular folder are automatically synchronized between each member in the replication group. It happens automatically as soon as any changes are detected on any member and only sends the changed bits of files over the network. It works really well.

Don't let the seemingly complication documentation scare you. It's pretty simple to get setup assuming you've already got an Active Directory.

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You could use DFS (Distributed Files System) to keep the directories in sync.

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One of the ways this is accomplished in a Linux environment is to use iSCSI/SAN and a cluster file system like OCFS2. Each of the web nodes mounts the same file-system and the Distributed Lock Manager ensures concurrent read/write access without file corruption.

Not sure what the solution in a Windows environment is as OCFS2 is Linux only but hopefully this might give you some ideas.


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Another option, if you would like to keep individual copies of your content on each of your web servers, is SyncToy (available as a free download from Microsoft, and is part of their PowerToys collection), which makes use of the Microsoft Sync Framework.

Of course, if you prefer a more retro approach, you could schedule a batch job to run a robocopy (Robust File Copy), which is included in all of the Windows Resource Kits (and now finally included with the OS since Vista and 2008)...

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I've heard good stuff about MSdeploy but haven't ever tried it. Worth a look though? This article has some links and such:

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