Switching state server to another machine in cluster
We have a number of web-apps running on IIS 6 in a cluster of machines. One of those machines is also a state server for the cluster. We do not use sticky IP's.
When we need to take down the state server machine this requires the entire cluster to be offline for a few minutes while it's switched from one machine to another.
Is there a way to switch a state server from one machine to another with zero downtime?
You could use Velocity, which is a distributed caching technology from Microsoft. You would install the cache on two or more servers. Then you would configure your web app to store session data in the Velocity cache. If you needed to reboot one of your servers, the entire state for your cluster would still be available.
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You could use the SQL server option to store state. I've used this in the past and it works well as long as the ASPState table it creates is in memory. I don't know how well it would scale as an on-disk table.
If SQL server is not an option for whatever reason, you could use your load balancer to create a virtual IP for your state server and point it at the new state server when you need to change. There'd be no downtime, but people who are on your site at the time would lose their session state. I don't know what you're using for load balancing, so I don't know how difficult this would be in your environment.