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In recent years the advances of technology have changed the way we teach and learn. VirtualLearning Environments have taken learning online but the importance of these websites beingaccessible 24 hours a day is increasingly important.Students are using the internet every day and all days and will learn better when it suits them,teaching in the classroom between 9 and 3 is not where it ends as they log into web pages andextend their learning when they want.What happens if th
e single online learning server goes down and the students can’t learn? They lose
confidence in the technology and are denied the education they want. But technologies fromMicrosoft have allowed websites to stay accessible through their high availability products andfeatures.
Understanding the Architecture
In this scenario there are six servers running in a Microsoft Active Directory domain. Two servers arerunning Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition and the others are running Windows Server2008 R2 Standard edition.Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise includes the role Microsoft Clustering. In this scenario we areusing the Active/Passive setting which means one server is currently the live server running thedatabase services while the Passive server is set in standby waiting in case the other server fails. If itdoes fail, the passive server will take control of the database services enabling the database to beonline again. This server will then become the active Node. In this whitepaper we will be using 1Active and 1 Passive but you may want to increase the number of nodes if you require.Windows Storage Server 2008 allows large amount of data to be stored on a specially designedstorage server which will have a large number of physical hard drives. This technology has beendeveloped to house data in a central location instead of on multiple servers.We will be using the Windows Storage Server to house the SQL database and the files required torun the website.In this environment we are using virtual servers but depending on your requirements and databaseread/write speeds you may want to use physical SQL Servers in your cluster.The two web front end servers will convert the Moodle PHP files to a website. These two serverswill be Network Load Balanced (NLB) allowing one server to be down and the other to still presentthe website. When both servers are online users will connect to both but should one fail the otherwill take the load.