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Multiple servers for a three-tier farm (SharePoint Foundation 2010)


Applies to: SharePoint Foundation 2010

You can install Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 on multiple servers to create a Microsoft SharePoint Foundation farm that is deployed across three tiers.

The farm consists of two front-end Web servers, an application server, and a database server. The deployment sequence and configurations that are described in this article are based on recommended best practices. The resulting farm configuration is not complex, but provides a fundamental infrastructure for implementing a SharePoint Foundation solution on similar — or more complex — farms.

The farm is provisioned with SharePoint Foundation Search; Search is configured to crawl the content that is created as part of this deployment.

In this article:

  • Overview

  • Prepare the farm servers

  • Install SharePoint Foundation 2010 on the farm servers

  • Create and configure the farm

  • Add Web servers to the farm

  • Configure diagnostic logging and usage and health data collection

  • Configure SharePoint Foundation Search

  • Create a site

  • Post-installation steps


The basic steps in this deployment are as follows:

  • Ensure that you are familiar with the concept of a three-tier topology.

  • Ensure that you have done all the planning and preparatory work, such as verifying hardware and software requirements.

  • Install the required software updates on all servers that will be part of the farm.

  • Install the SharePoint Foundation prerequisites on servers in the application and Web tiers.

  • Install SharePoint Foundation on the application server and the Web servers.

  • Create and configure the SharePoint farm.

  • Provision services.

  • Complete post-deployment tasks as required.

Topology overview

This topology is typically used for the medium and large farms described in Deployment overview (SharePoint Foundation 2010). In terms of performance, capacity, and scalability, a three-tier topology is recommended over a two-tier topology. A three-tier topology provides the most efficient physical and logical layout to support scaling out or scaling up, and provides better distribution of services across the member servers of the farm. The following illustration shows the three-tier deployment that is described in this article.

SharePoint Foundation 2010: three tier farm

Referring to the preceding illustration, note the following:

  • You can add Web servers to the Web tier. These servers are be configured as conventional Web servers to handle user requests.

  • You can add farm servers to the application tier and configure them as dedicated servers that will host the Central Administration Web site or other services on the farm that require dedicated resources or isolation from the Web tier — for example, timer jobs and sandbox services.

  • You can add database servers to the database tier to implement a stand-alone instance, database mirroring, or a failover cluster. If you are configuring the farm for high availability, database mirroring or a failover cluster is required on the database tier.

Before you begin

Before you begin deployment, do the following:

Using the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products Preparation Tool

The Microsoft SharePoint Products Preparation Tool checks for the presence of prerequisites, and installs and configures any programs that are required. The Microsoft SharePoint Products Preparation Tool requires an Internet connection to download and configure SharePoint Foundation prerequisites. If you do not have an Internet connection for the farm servers, you will have to obtain installable images for the required software. For installation locations, see "Installing software prerequisites" in Hardware and software requirements (SharePoint Foundation 2010).

If you decide to obtain installable images, we recommend that you create an installation point that you can use for storing the images. You can use this installation point for installing future software updates.

Database server

Ensure that SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008 is updated to the required level and configured as follows:

  • SQL Server 2005: Local and remote connections are enabled and are configured to use the TCP/IP protocol.

  • SQL Server 2008: The TCP/IP protocol is enabled for the network configuration.

In organizations whose database administrators operate independently from SharePoint administrators, you will need to ensure that the correct version of SQL Server is available and updated to the required level. In addition, you will have to request a DBA-created database that is configured for your farm.


The procedures in this article do not use a DBA-created database; these procedures will be different in a DBA-created database deployment. For more information, see Deploy by using DBA-created databases (SharePoint Foundation 2010).

Public updates and hotfix packages

Ensure that public updates and the required hotfix packages are installed for the operating system, SQL Server, and SharePoint Foundation. We recommend that all servers be updated to the same software version before you apply the public updates. The following hotfixes must be applied for this release of SharePoint Foundation:

Prepare the farm servers

Before you install SharePoint Foundation, you must check for and install all the prerequisites on the application server and the Web servers by using the Microsoft SharePoint Products Preparation Tool.


If you decide to install prerequisites manually, you can still run the Microsoft SharePoint Products Preparation Tool to verify which prerequisites are required on each server.

Use the following procedure to install prerequisites on each of the farm servers.

To run the preparation tool

  1. Download SharePoint Foundation 2010 ( from the product installation location, and then double-click the appropriate executable file.

  2. If you install from a bootable image, click Install software prerequisites on the splash screen.


    You can download all of the prerequisites and install them from a network share. For more information, see Install prerequisites from a network share (SharePoint Server 2010).

  3. On the Welcome to the Microsoft SharePoint Products Preparation Tool page, click Next.


    The preparation tool may have to restart the local server to complete the installation of some of the prerequisites. The installer will continue to run after the server is restarted, and no manual intervention is required. However, you will have to log back on to the server.

  4. On the Installation Complete page, click Finish.


    After you complete the Microsoft SharePoint Products Preparation Tool, you must install KB 949516 ( and KB 971831 ( You might also need to restart the server after installing this hotfix.


    If the error message "Loading this assembly would produce a different grant set from other instances. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80131401)" is displayed when you start the IIS worker process (w3wp.exe), another service, or a managed application on a server that is also running SharePoint Foundation 2010, you must install KB963676 ( You must restart the computer after you apply this hotfix.

Install SharePoint Foundation 2010 on the farm servers

After the prerequisites are installed, use the following procedure to install SharePoint Foundation on each of the farm servers.

To run Setup

  1. On the Start page, click Install SharePoint Foundation.

  2. On the Read the Microsoft Software License Terms page, review the terms, select the I accept the terms of this agreement check box, and then click Continue.

  3. On the Choose the installation you want page, click Server Farm.

  4. On the Server Type tab, click Complete.

  5. On the File Location tab, accept the default location or change the installation path, and then click Install Now.


    As a best practice, we recommend that you install SharePoint Foundation on a non-system drive.

  6. When Setup finishes, a dialog box prompts you to complete the configuration of your server. Clear the Run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard now check box.


    For consistency of approach, we recommend that you do not run the configuration wizard until SharePoint Foundation has been installed on all application and front-end Web servers that will participate in the server farm.

  7. Click Close to finish Setup.

Create and configure the farm

To create and configure the farm, you run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard. This wizard automates several configuration tasks, including creating the configuration database, installing services, and creating the Central Administration Web site. It is recommended that you run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard on the server that will host the Central Administration Web site before you run the wizard on the other servers in the farm.

To run the configuration wizard and configure the farm

  1. On the server that will host Central Administration (the application server), click Start, point to All Programs, and then click Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products.

  2. In the list of available options, click SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard.

  3. On the Welcome to SharePoint Products page, click Next.

  4. In the dialog box that notifies you that some services might need to be restarted during configuration, click Yes.

  5. On the Connect to a server farm page, click Create a new server farm, and then click Next.

  6. On the Specify Configuration Database Settings page, do the following:

    1. In the Database server box, type the name of the computer that is running SQL Server.

    2. In the Database name box, type a name for your configuration database, or use the default database name. The default name is SharePoint_Config.

    3. In the Username box, type the user name of the server farm account in DOMAIN\username format.


      The server farm account is used to create and access your configuration database. It also acts as the application pool identity account for the SharePoint Central Administration application pool, and it is the account under which the Windows SharePoint Services Timer service runs. The SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard adds this account to the SQL Server Login accounts, the SQL Server dbcreator server role, and the SQL Server securityadmin server role. The user account that you specify as the service account must be a domain user account, but it does not need to be a member of any specific security group on your Web servers or your database servers. We recommend that you follow the principle of least privilege, and specify a user account that is not a member of the Administrators group on your Web servers or your database servers.

    4. In the Password box, type the user password.

  7. Click Next.

  8. On the Specify Farm Security Settings page, type a passphrase, and then click Next.

    Ensure that the passphrase meets the following criteria:

    • Contains at least eight characters

    • Contains at least three of the following four character groups:

      • English uppercase characters (from A through Z)

      • English lowercase characters (from a through z)

      • Numerals (from 0 through 9)

      • Nonalphabetic characters (such as !, $, #, %)


      Although a passphrase is similar to a password, it is usually longer to enhance security. It is used to encrypt credentials of accounts that are registered in SharePoint Foundation 2010. For example, the SharePoint Foundation 2010 system account that you provide when you run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard wizard. Ensure that you remember the passphrase, because you must use it each time you add a server to the farm.

  9. On the Configure SharePoint Central Administration Web Application page, do the following:

    1. Either select the Specify port number check box and type a port number if you want the SharePoint Central Administration Web application to use a specific port number, or leave the Specify port number check box cleared if you want to use the default port number.


      If you want to access the SharePoint Central Administration Web site from a remote computer, ensure that you allow access to the port number that you configure in this step. You do this by configuring the inbound rule for SharePoint Central Administration v4 in Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.

    2. Click either NTLM or Negotiate (Kerberos).

  10. Click Next.

  11. On the Configuration Successful page, click Finish.


    If the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard fails, check the log files on the drive on which SharePoint Foundation 2010 is installed, which are located in the %COMMONPROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\LOGS folder.

  12. The Central Administration Web site will open in a new browser window.

    On the Help Make SharePoint Better page, click one of the following options and then click OK.

    1. Yes, I am willing to participate (Recommended).

    2. No, I don’t wish to participate.

  13. On the Configure your SharePoint farm page, you have the option to use a wizard to configure services or you can decide to configure services manually. For the purpose of this article, we use the manual option. Click Cancel.

    The choice you make here is a matter of personal preference. The Farm Configuration Wizard will configure some services automatically when it is run; however, if you configure services manually you have greater flexibility in designing your logical architecture.

    For information about using the wizard to configure services, see Configure services (SharePoint Foundation 2010). If you are using Microsoft Office Web Apps, see Office Web Apps (Installed on SharePoint 2010 Products).


    If you are using a DBA-created database you cannot use the Farm Configuration Wizard, you must use SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard.

Add Web servers to the farm

After you create the farm on the application server, you can add the servers for the Web tier by following the same process described earlier in this topic for installing SharePoint Foundation on the server that hosts Central Administration. The only difference is that during Setup, you will be prompted to join and existing farm. Follow the wizard steps to join the farm.

For additional information about adding servers to a farm, see Add a Web or application server to the farm (SharePoint Foundation 2010). This article also provides detailed information for the steps in the following procedure.

Configure diagnostic logging and usage and health data collection

After you add the front-end Web servers, configure initial diagnostic logging and usage and health data collection for the farm.

Diagnostic logging can help identify and isolate issues as they occur in your server farm. Accept the default settings when you configure diagnostic logging on new installations. Then, when issues occur in your server farm, you can revisit these settings and adjust the levels accordingly. This will help to identify the cause and isolate the issues. Usage and health reporting can be used to show where diagnostic logging settings deviate from the default values.

For more information about diagnostic and health usage, see:

Use the following procedures to complete the initial configuration of diagnostic logging and usage and health data collection.


Because this is an initial farm deployment without any benchmark data, default settings are accepted unless otherwise noted.

To configure diagnostic logging

  1. On the Central Administration Home page, click Monitoring.

  2. In the Reporting section, click Configure diagnostic logging.

  3. On the Diagnostic Logging page, verify that Enable Event Log Flood Protection is selected. If not, click the corresponding check box to enable this feature.

  4. The default location for the Trace Log is on the drive where you installed SharePoint Foundation. As a best practice, we recommend that the trace log be stored on a non-system drive.


    If you change the trace log path to a non-system drive, this location must exist on all the servers in the farm. Existing or new servers cannot log data if the location does not exist. In addition, you will not be able to add new servers unless the path you specify exists on the new server. You cannot use a network share for logging purposes.

  5. Click OK to save your changes.

After you finish configuring diagnostic logging, configure usage and health data collection.

To configure usage and health data collection

  • On the Central Administration Monitoring page, click Configure usage and health data collection.

  • Click the check box to enable Usage Data Collection.

  • Click the check box to enable Health Data Collection.

  • Click OK.

SharePoint Foundation Search is automatically installed when you install SharePoint Foundation. However, the search service is not started and some configuration is required.

Use the following procedure to configure and start search for the SharePoint Foundation farm.

To configure SharePoint Foundation Search

  1. On the Central Administration home page, click Manage services on server.

  2. On the Services on Server page, click SharePoint Foundation Search. This action opens the Configure Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Search Service Settings page, where you configure the following settings.

  3. In the Service Account section, type in a User name and Password.

  4. In the Content Access Account section, type in a User name and Password for an account that will have read-only access to all the content.

    securitySecurity Note
    Do not use a highly privileged account or one that can modify content.
  5. Click OK to save your configuration changes.

  6. On the Services on Server page, click Start to start SharePoint Foundation Search.

Create a site

To create a site during this phase of the deployment, you must create a Web application and a site collection. Use the procedures in the following articles to create a Web application by using Central Administration, and then create a top-level Web site that is associated with the Web application.

  • Create a Web application


    When creating a new Web application or extending the existing Web application into a new zone initially, ensure that the public URL is the URL that end users will use to browse to the Web application. If you are using reverse proxy servers or load balancers, you may also have to add internal URLs for alternate access mapping (AAM). We recommend that you configure AAM before creating a site collection.

  • Create a site collection (SharePoint Foundation 2010)

Post-installation steps

After you install and configure SharePoint Foundation 2010, your browser window opens to the Central Administration Web site of your new SharePoint site. Although you can start adding content to the site or customizing the site, we recommend that you first perform the following administrative tasks by using the SharePoint Central Administration Web site.

  • Configure outgoing e-mail You can configure outgoing e-mail so that your Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server sends e-mail alerts to site users and notifications to site administrators. You can configure both the "From" e-mail address and the "Reply" e-mail address that appear in outgoing alerts. For more information, see Configure outgoing e-mail (SharePoint Foundation 2010).


    You can configure incoming e-mail so that SharePoint sites accept and archive incoming e-mail. However, we recommend that you undertake this task after you complete the initial farm deployment and configuration. For more information, see Configure incoming e-mail (SharePoint Foundation 2010).

  • Configure a mobile account   You can configure a mobile account so that SharePoint sends text message (SMS) alerts to your, or site users', mobile phones. For more information, see Configure a mobile account (SharePoint Foundation 2010).

See Also

Other Resources

Resource Center: Installation and Deployment for SharePoint Foundation 2010