Application Center Feature Set and Requirements

Application Center 2000 is hard to deploy if you don't understand how it benefits you, the purpose of the rollout, what preparations you need to make, and so on. Just like every other technology we've discussed, it's all about the plan and design. Anyone can install software and get something to work eventually but, without a solid plan and meeting good prerequisites, most high-availability designs won't perform well during implementation. Let's step back and review the specifics before we get to the installation.

The feature set behind Application Center 2000 is light on the surface, but gets dense when you use the product. The heart and soul of Application Center 2000 revolves around the cluster. You're taking Windows 2000 Servers and providing yourself (or your staff) with a better way to implement and manage the cluster. Application Center 2000 isn't cryptic like NLB on Windows 2000 Advanced Server. With Windows 2000 Advanced Server there is no central console and no Deployment Wizard. Application Center 2000 is scaled down. If you were asked by management to give an accurate assessment of the load on a four-node Windows 2000 Advanced Server NLB cluster, this would be difficult to do. Once Application Center 2000 is installed, you have the benefits of Health Monitor (explained later) to use for this purpose alone, as well as its many other uses.

Application Center 2000 also supports both NLB for network load balancing (NLB) and component load balancing (CLB). Be aware that the Application Center 2000 product is key to successful web site deployment, content deployment (which uses the load-balancing feature for all components within the web sites), and management of its high availability within many tiered environments.

Application Center 2000 also plays a major role in the synchronization, replication, and deployment of nodes—up to 32 in total. When you make a system's settings change, this change is quickly replicated to all other nodes within your cluster. This makes deployment of changes easy (and quick) to do.

Application Center 2000 allows you to apply more control over affinity as well. We discussed affinity and how to configure it with Windows 2000 Advanced Server NLB

in Chapter 2, but as we move forward with Application Center 2000, you'll see it's more easily managed and configured.

Application Center 2000 is feature-rich and builds your infrastructure to allow your servers to be managed and monitored better. You now have a tool to deploy content. Let's look at the requirements.

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