Load Balancing VMware View 4.5 with Microsoft NLB

With the release of VMware View 4.5, the connection servers are now fully supported on Windows Server 2008 R2 – it seemed like a good time to test the easy-to-setup NLB inside the latest Windows Server OS.

To enable NLB on your View Servers you will have to enable the feature on both servers that you intend to balance.

From Server Manager select Features and click add feature, then check Network Load Balancing.

From there, open up Administrative Tools on one of servers and you should see a shortcut to the Network Load Balancing Manager.

Launching NLB Manager, right click on the top level tree and select New Cluster
Add the host name of your first View connection server and click connect – it should correctly resolve the IP address if your DNS is working correctly on your network. Click next.
Accept the unique host identifier of 1 –  as this is the first server in your NLB cluster. Leave other settings as is
Next, add the cluster IP address.
This is a free IP address on your network that will be the virtual cluster IP of your load balanced View servers
Add the DNS name to the cluster IP (you will need to make a DNS host record for your cluster IP)
NOTE: VMware recommends that you use multicast mode, because unicast mode forces the physical
switches on the LAN to broadcast all Network Load Balancing traffic to every machine on the LAN** VMware docs on NLB
Next define the port rules for load balance access to your cluster. By default it will load balance all ports 0-65535, both TCP and UDP.
You may wish to only allow HTTP/HTTPS TCP to be load balanced. Edit the ruleset to suit your environment. I used the defaults.
Click Finish and this will add your first host to the cluster
To add the second View Connection server to the cluster, right click the top level of the cluster and select add host to cluster and step thought the process again adding the details of the second View server to the cluster name and cluster IP.
When you’re done – you will have two VMware View connection servers in an NLB cluster. You should be now be able to ping both DNS name and IP address of the cluster from your network. (depending on firewall settings you may have on/off on Server 2008 R2 – but thats another matter)
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5 Responses to Load Balancing VMware View 4.5 with Microsoft NLB

  1. John Fisher says:

    “Next define the port rules for load balance access to your cluster. By default it will load balance all ports 0-65535, both TCP and UDP.
    You may wish to only allow HTTP/HTTPS TCP to be load balanced. Edit the ruleset to suit your environment. I used the defaults”

    Don’t want to be a critic but Microsoft strongle advices against using the default of “all ports” as it can cause al kinds of nasty side-effects.
    This is also my own personal expirience.

    Configure *only* the ports you really need !!

  2. Hugo says:

    Quick question… will this load balance socket connections on a specific port?
    Hence, i.e. a TCP/IP connection on port 6720

    Does NLB do per connection routing or per packet … or how does it work?

  3. soypa says:

    Hi Barrie

    So if I understand you correctly, I have to do these changes on both Connection Servers?

    This is my goal:
    Two connection Servers which do the load balancing.
    I can shutdown one connection server and the users automatically are directed to the powered on connection server.

    Is this what the above steps describe?

    Thanks

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