IT sounds like your config idea is good and what allot big hosts do. its best not to put everything on one server. Load balance.
Have X number of servers/virtual servers
Load X servers with just IIS
Load (ie) 2 servers with DNS, one as primary one as secondary
Load X servers with SQL Server
Then use a control panel (like helm) to manage all the machines and load balance it.
So when a domain is added in helm, the DNS goes on both machines, IIS setup on another machine, Email on another, DB on another etc.
This way if (ie) a DNS server went down, the website would still work as the secondary DNS will still be up. Unless using web farms, if the IIS server goes down/rebooted, it wont effect other services like Email/Webmail etc as they are on seperate servers.
This setup we have used for years and it works!
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Master Web Server, will constantly sync with Slave web servers to serve the
websites (each web server will have the entire copy of the websites?)
Then I will need Media Servers that will also be setup as above? to server
the media out and the NAS that I purchased is usless and should be used as
Whoever told you that works.. sure it works if you have a small site/operation but doesn't scale very well. Our largest cluster just borke 7TB of content.
Don't use a control pnael. Please don't.
Don't rsync data, you'll drive yourself crazy with trying to keep data in sync.. especially if you have user submitted content.
Use a NAS devices if you can that can fit your needs and scale with you. Whoever said NFS doesn't work well is full of them selfs, we have a NFS device pushing well over 1.5Gbps without skipping a beat ever and this is using normal 1500MTU's not jumbo frames.
Both ways are possible. You can rsync like your friend suggested but this is highly undesirable. Sort of a poorman's load balancing setup.
NFS as Spudstr suggested is a good option as well as GFS (contrary to some opinion). I have setup both a GFS and NFS clusters before. The LBs were 2 P3 LVS machines with multiple WEB front-ends hooked up to GFS or NFS.
The short story is, there are many ways to setup a Highly Available environment, but only one may work with your budget/needs.
Can I ask how do you need so much Ram on a web server? What is it that consumes that much Ram?
If you're going to be using Windows and IIS with MSSQL then you're going to also need a session state machine to enable you to have more than one web server.
You could just use Windows NLB to get you started, no need for dedicated load balancers I wouldnt have thought.
What kind of switch have you got? Or is it supplied as part of the colo?