Thursday, June 14, 2007

Our hardware and software configuration for TFS

I thought we'd take some time and share our hardware and software configuration for TFS. On the App Tier we're running a Primary with a Standby. Only one machine is "Active" at a time. We control what machine is "Active" with a load balancer (i.e. Big/Ip) and DNS entry (i.e. We actually don’t use the load balancer's "load balancing" functionally (unfortunately not supported by TFS), but do use its interface to drain users before activating the Standby. This allows anyone with long sessions (e.g. a large Get from Source Control) to finish their session before we switch over to the Standby. Moving back to the Primary works the same way.

Each App Tier machine is running Windows 2003 Server 32-bit Standard Edition SP1, has four 2.8 GHz Intel P4 processors and four gigs of memory. Windows says it only has 3,456 megs of memory, but from what the Sys Admins tell me it really has four gigs. My guess is there is some plausible reason for Windows not recognizing the other half gig of memory.

On the Data Tier we're using an active/passive cluster. Both machines are running Windows 2003 64-bit Enterprise Edition SP1, have four 3.8 GHz Intel P4 processors and four gigs of memory. Oddly enough, unlike the App Tier, Windows recognizes the four gigs (4,095 to be exact) on the Data Tier. I'm guessing that is either because we're running the 64-bit or Enterprise edition of Windows.

The App Tier is running Reporting Services 32-bit Standard Edition and using the included Reporting Services license that ships with TFS. The Data Tier is running the 64-bit Enterprise Edition of Reporting Services which we had to buy separately. As a side note, make sure someone with four PhDs and two law degrees reads the licensing white paper. Figuring out what you need to license can be a nightmare. Here is the one big thing we missed: If you have a "Duel-Server Deployment" you can only use the included Reporting Services license for either the App Tier or Data Tier. You must buy the second copy of Reporting Services separately. In addition, here is something we almost missed. Since Data Tier is an active/passive cluster you only need one license of Reporting Services for both machine. Since the second machine is "passive" you only need one license. When the "passive" machine switches to "active" (and "active" switches to "passive") the license switches over (just on paper of course). Again make sure the suites in procurement get this all straight before you sign on the dotted line.

If we run into performance problems the first thing we're going to do is increase the RAM on our Data Tier. We're only running four gigs, which may be a bit low. Our user base is expected to slowly grow to around 200-250 users so we'll monitor the usage patterns to see if we need to add memory.

Feel free to share your configurations!

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