Deploying Dundas BI as a server farm

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1. Overview

Dundas BI supports multi-server deployment for load balancing purposes. In this scenario, multiple servers have Dundas BI installed but each installation points to the same Dundas BI Application Database and Warehouse Database.

This article shows you how to deploy the application on multiple servers as a server farm. This deployment process relies on a single main instance to create a farm node information file, which is then used to create additional farm nodes on the other servers. Each farm node is a replication of the main instance, but without any styles and images, and is automatically configured to use the databases and scheduler service from the main instance.

The typical Dundas BI farm setup
The typical Dundas BI farm setup

Important
Setting up and configuring a load balancer is not covered in this article. The process depends on the chosen load balancer, but session affinity (also known as sticky sessions) must be set up. If you do not have a load balancer you can use the built-in one from IIS, see Overview: Build a Web Farm with IIS Servers

2. Instance vs farm node deployment

Farm nodes are designed to be an extension of the regular instance. The farm nodes will avoid doing certain tasks during upgrade. This is to avoid doing things that are only required to be done once per instance. Farm nodes will not import themes and styles, and will not run the database schema upgrade as that is performed on the instance that farm node was created from.

3. Deploy an instance

If you do not have a Dundas BI instance installed on any of your servers, follow the instructions for installing Dundas BI to install a full instance.

This instance should either install or point to the application and warehouse databases to which all of the farm servers will point, and it should have a scheduler service configured.

4. Create a farm node information file

Launch the Dundas BI Deployment application.

Click Farm on the left, and then click Create a farm node information file from an instance.

Create a farm node information file
Create a farm node information file

4.1. License agreement

You must agree to the terms of the Dundas BI License Agreement before proceeding. If you agree with the terms, select the checkbox and then click Next to continue.

4.2. Select an instance

Select the Dundas BI instance to use as the main farm node. 

Select the main farm instance
Select the main farm instance

4.3. Farm node options

Indicate whether the farm node information file should include custom files (such as overrides, extensions, styles, and images) for the selected instance. The available options include:

  • No Files – This farm node information file will not copy any custom files from the main instance. Ideal when not using any customized application files.
  • Only Overrides – This farm node information file will copy the override file from the main instance. Ideal when the only customized application files are the override files.
  • All Website Files – This farm node information file will copy all of the application files from the main instance. Ideal when using files with custom extensions, JavaScript, images, etc.

Select whether to include custom files
Select whether to include custom files

4.4. Destination file

Click the ellipsis (...) and indicate the location where to save the farm node information file.

Indicate the file location
Indicate the file location

4.5. Deployment details

Review all of the options you selected one more time before proceeding.

Click Finish to create the farm node information file.

4.6. File created

When the file creation completes, click the provided link to open the file location.

You can also review the file creation log from this screen.

Click Finish to return to the Dundas BI Deployment application.

5. Create a farm node deployment

With the farm node information file, you can quickly create farm nodes on the other servers.

For each server, launch the Dundas BI Deployment application.

Click Farm on the left, and then click Create a farm node deployment.

Create a farm node deployment
Create a farm node deployment

5.1. Prerequisites

The farm node deployment requires a number of prerequisites to be installed before it can proceed further. If your system has all of the prerequisites, simply click Next to continue.

If your system is missing some of the prerequisites, install the missing prerequisites. Then return to this screen and review the Prerequisite details again. Once all of the checks have passed, click Next to continue.

Prerequisites
Prerequisites

5.2. License agreement

You must agree to the terms of the Dundas BI License Agreement before proceeding. If you agree with the terms, select the checkbox and then click Next to continue.

5.3. Farm node information file

Click the ellipsis (...) and indicate the location where the farm node information file was saved.

Farm node information file location
Farm node information file location

5.4. Deployment details

Review all of the options you selected one more time before proceeding.

Click Finish to deploy the farm node.

6. Upgrade farm node deployment

When you are ready to upgrade the server farm to a new version, start by upgrading the main instance.

Create a new farm node information file for the upgraded instance using the steps above and then upgrade each farm node using the Upgrade a farm node deployment option in the Dundas BI Deployment application.

Upgrade a farm node deployment
Upgrade a farm node deployment

Important
When upgrading, you should stop the instance and farm nodes (Dundas BI websites and services) in order to not have two different versions pointing at the same application database.

7. Multiple scheduler services

Dundas BI allows for multiple scheduler services to be running and sharing an application database. Only one scheduler will be active at a time. The other schedulers will wait on call, and will become active if the other schedulers stop.

One scheduler service active and two waiting on call
One scheduler service active and two waiting on call

8. Notes

  • Dundas BI licensing is tied to a specific Dundas BI instance which refers to everything that uses the same Dundas BI Application Database (App DB). If multiple servers are all referencing the same App DB, then additional licenses may or may not be required when you add another such server.
  • The load balancer should set the following HTTP request headers: X-Forwarded-For, X-Forwarded-Proto, and X-Forwarded-Host. If the port is not already included in the X-Forwarded-Host header, an X-Forwarded-Port header should be set with the corresponding value.
  • The IP address of the load balancer should be specified in the Trusted Proxy IP Addresses configuration setting in Dundas BI.
  • If multiple nodes in a server farm need to override Dundas BI configuration settings with the same values, the best practice is to accomplish this using server groups. For more information, see Managing server groups.

9. See also

 

Dundas Data Visualization, Inc.
500-250 Ferrand Drive
Toronto, ON, Canada
M3C 3G8

North America: 1.800.463.1492
International: 1.416.467.5100

Dundas Support Hours: 7am-6pm, ET, Mon-Fri