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Managed Server Independence Mode

Sometimes managed servers fail leaving the hosting provider with a list of problems to fix. In order to prevent the client from being detrimentally affected by a server failure, hosting providers have several ways to ease the situation. A managed server is not the same as an administration server. It is a server that the client or host manages themselves. An administration server is a control point which sole function is to assist with tasks.

When a managed server begins to run, it first contacts the administration server. The administration server is responsible for holding the configuration information which is needed to start the managed server. Copies of these configurations are made and stored in files called config.xml, SerializedSystemIni.dat, and boot.properties in the managed serverís root directory. The root directory is the main directory in the managed serverís file system.

Sometimes, for different reasons, the managed server is unable to retrieve the configuration information directly from the administration server. When this happens, the managed server reads the stored files in its root directory. Other files are stored on the managed serverís system, and those are read as well .A managed server that begins by reading copies of files is considered to be in the managed server independence mode.

The managed server independence mode consists of the managed server using a cache of application files to start the applications needed by the server. This mode is vital to the recovery of failed servers. Unfortunately, most failures lead to others. This can have a catastrophic affect on the server because a failure can cutoff power, cause hardware to function improperly, crash the operating system, take down network partitions, and disrupt applications. Every one of these things can lead to a new failure continuing the destructive cycle.

In order to ensure these files are stored in the server managers root directory, the replication of configuration data must be enabled. To ensure the needed files to combat a failure are stored in the managed serverís root directory, the managed server should be started at least once while the administration server is running. This may sound easy enough, but there is a catch. The boot.properties file is not replicated. In order to ensure this particular file is in the directory, a copy must be created and saved in the directory. This can be done manually. It is vital to backup all files on the administration server.

In order to start a managed server in independence mode, the user must first start the administration server. The next step is to open the Administration Console. The administration console is used for system control and can also be used to edit a computer programs settings and variables. Next, open the Domain, then Servers, followed by the Managed Server. Look for a tab marked Configuration Tuning and click it. Once you have clicked the tab, scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Show and the Advanced Options display.

A check box followed by Enable MSI File Replication or Enable Managed Server Independence will appear. Check the box to enable the file replication. It is now time to restart the administration server and then the managed server. This allows the managed server to update its configuration. Shutdown both servers and restart the managed server. The administration server does not need to be restarted at this time. The application may now be accessed.

The managed server independence mode is an important step in prevention of failures, and to effectively manage a network of servers. In the long run, this type of tool and others like it are cost-effective and allow a network to run smoothly and efficiently.

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