January 21, 2014

Use Content Switching for your Netscaler XML Load Balancing

Working with a customer last week, we found ourselves short a couple IP Addresses to setup the XML Load Balancing for multiple farms on the Netscaler. Rather than go back to the Firewall administrator and
security team, we took matters into our own hands, and rather than using multiple IP Addresses, firewall rules, and LB vServers on the Netscaler, we instead decided to use a Content Switching vServer. 

If you have multiple XenApp or XenDesktop farms, or have the potential to add/remove farms to the infrastructure, this is a viable option for you. Here's how we did it and what it looks like.


Overview
You will need to create the following:

  • DNS
    • Create a CNAME for each farm (i.e. farm1.domain.com, farm2.domain.com)
    • Create an A Record to be the alias for the Content Switching vServer (i.e. CTXXML.domain.com)

  • Load Balancing
    • Create the Servers, Service Group, and Load Balancing vServers as you would normally. However, when creating the Load Balancing vServers for EACH farm, uncheck the 'Directly Addressable' check box.

  • Content Switching
    • Create 2 Content Switching Actions, one for each Load Balancing vServer created earlier, and make them the targets.
    • Create 2 Content Switching Policies and set the actions appropriately. The Expression will look for the FQDN DNS Entry created earlier.

    • Create a Content Switching vServer setting the appropriate XML Port and the vServer IP Address. Add the Content Switching Policies created in the previous step.

  • That's it. Now, add a new farm, add a DNS record and setup your Netscaler. No need for additional Firewall rules or involvement from the Network team!



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