.NET Distributed Caching Solution Part 2: Configuration Options for Windows Server AppFabric

In this part, we will be talking about the various configuration options for AppFabric Distributed Caching Solution such as XML Storage Provider, and SQL Storage Provider and the differences between the two.

In Previous post, we have discussed on the installation of Windows Server AppFabric. Just reiterating the components of the series:

  • Part 1 - Installation of Windows Server AppFabric Distributed Caching Solution
  • Part 2 - Configuration Options for Windows Server AppFabric Distributed Caching Solution
  • Part 3 - Common Commands for Windows Server AppFabric Distributed Caching Solution
  • Part 4 - Configuring Sitecore with Windows Server AppFabric Distributed Caching Solution and Cache Eviction using Sitecore Events.
  • Part 5 - Production Configuration for Windows Server AppFabric Distributed Caching Solution

In this section, we would be talking about the Configuration Options for AppFabric. AppFabric Configuration Involves the following components. Once the installation is complete, go to Start -> All programs -> Windows Server AppFabric -> Configura AppFabric option.

There are two options of where you can store your Cluster Configuration Store Provider:

XML VS SQL Server Configuration Store Provider. These options support specific settings of cluster configuration. Below is mentioned are the available options with each.

XML Storage Provider SQL Server Storage Provider
Storage Provider XML SQL Server Configuration database
Configuration Storage Location UNC share, ex:\\OSHYN\AppFabricShare SQL Server Configuration Database that gets created during configuration
Caching Service Account Local Machine user account, ex: OSHYN\AppFabricUser (machineName\username) Domain Account, ex: oshyn.com\AppFabricDomainUser (domain\accountname)
Lead Hosts\Cluster Management Designated cache hosts (isLeadHost=true) serve as lead hosts that manage the cluster SQL Server manages the Cluster
Suitable Environments Generally suitable for Development environments Generally suitable for QA and Production Environments
High Availability As long as majority of lead hosts are up, the cluster is up. So if you have 4 nodes in the cluster, more than 2 nodes down will bring down the cluster. It also depends on usage of regions and some more conditions apply. Since the SQL server manages cluster, as long as there is one cache server up, the cluster is up and running (it also depends on how the cluster is configured, high availability option, and presence of regions)

Below is a pic that shows the options, this was for a cluster already created using XML Storage provider.

Windows Server AppFabric Configuration Wizard

Once you click next, the next screen would provide you options to change the ports for the cache service. However, general leave the default values. As you can see from the above configuration wizard, you chose "New Cluster" when you are creating a new cache cluster with the cache server being part of that cluster. When you are adding additonal cache servers to the existing cluster, you just chose to "Join Cluster" and it will be part of the existing cluster.

Windows Server AppFabric Configuration - Cache Node

You can enable the checkboxes for configuring firewall rules for AppFabric.

This would end the configuration section of AppFabric. The next part of the series would be list of commands that are handy while working with AppFabric.