In my colleague Sarah Steinhoff’s blog article entitled What Subscriptions and Server Groups Mean for StoreFront Designs, she mentions that load balanced VIPs should be utilized between StoreFront Server Groups in order to replicate the subscription data.  As part of the Citrix Consulting team that has been working with customers to deploy StoreFront, I have been asked on a number of occasions what the recommended setup for this subscription vServer should be.  This blog post will detail the recommended setup of the vServer’s needed for synchronization as well as some explanation as to the setup of the vServer.

First, I want to highlight that each server group that is deployed will need a separate load balanced vServer.   This is true if you have multiple server groups within the same data center or server groups in separate data centers.  [Please note, that this recommendation itself is not a requirement, as it is possible to use the same VIP address and create a separate vServer using port 808 instead.  However, the recommendation to create a separate VIP is for traffic management and operational support purposes.]  Remember, per Sarah’s article, “While subscriptions are automatically synced per Store on write between servers in the same server group, nothing is synced by default between StoreFront servers in different server groups.”  This is an important point that cannot be stressed enough.  If you are utilizing StoreFront in a multi-site configuration in which users are not bound to a single site, you will need to ensure that your user synchronization data is replicated to ensure a consistent user experience.

When Creating the Subscription Sync vServer’s

The following settings are recommended to be setup:

  • Set the TCP Port to 808 within the Subscription Sync VIP
  • Select ‘Round Robin’ as the Load Balanced Method
  • Select ‘Persistence’ to NONE
  • Select ‘Backup Persistence’ to NONE

Now let’s take a look at the above options.  First, we chose ‘Round Robin’ as the method for Load Balancing the synchronization VIP.  The synchronization schedule should be setup to run at specific times during the day, and as we do not care which server accepts the request during the sync process, as it will replicate out to the rest of the servers as part of the group replication, we can utilize the Round Robin method for our load balance.  Next we chose ‘None’ as our persistence.  The connection for the subscription synchronization does not require persistence.  If a connection is made to StoreFront Server 1 the first time and then StoreFront Server 2 the second time, that is not an issue, again as within the server group there is replication done amongst the server group members.

Again, ensure that you have created a load balanced vServer for each StoreFront Server Group you are going to be synching subscriptions between.  Once you have completed that, follow the replication instructions to setup the synchronization schedule between the server groups, and you are ready to go.

I hope the following overview of setting up the StoreFront Subscription Synchronization Load Balanced VIP was helpful to you in your StoreFront deployment.