Saturday, 16 May 2009

Starting with SharePoint for Administrators

Whether you’re a newbie admin holding together a one man shop or a seasoned technical veteran, when you find yourself lumped with rolling out Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and/or MOSS 2007 do yourself a favour and read this brief white paper on some of the more important considerations:

The above paper is about twenty pages and it’s a quick read that should help you step forward on the right foot. If nothing else, each of the topics presented links to additional TechNet and MSDN material and the paper is a valuable index from that perspective.

Like it or not, effective administration is pivotal to the success of the entire project from the very beginning right through the support phase and beyond; seemingly harmless mistakes made during the initial install can lead to major long-term problems. Like everyone else “doing SharePoint”, generic Windows/SQL Server/ASP.NET experience will get you started but you’ll still be faced with a very steep learning curve, depending on what you’ve been asked to accomplish. Bear in mind the SharePoint paradigm will not always sit right with conventional experience and may clash with existing corporate IT policies. SharePoint will challenge and frustrate you on many different levels, while at times seeming to throw common sense out the window.

Re-learning everything you know now isn’t strictly necessary to build a SharePoint environment :-) but the size and power of the SharePoint ecosystem does require a massive, sustained learning effort that will increase your professional maturity very quickly.

At a minimum, beware administering SharePoint will cover:

  • Windows Server
  • Active Directory
  • IIS
  • SQL Server
  • XML
  • SharePoint farm management
  • SharePoint Designer

From there, a “standard” WSS/MOSS rollout can involve:

  • Integration with LOB applications
  • Virtualisation
  • SAN management
  • Backup and restore
  • Content deployment
  • Load balancing
  • High availability
  • Database clustering
  • Reverse proxies/caches and content delivery networks
  • Security
  • SSL certificate management and distribution
  • Kerberos
  • Code access security
  • XSL, CSS, Javascript, C#, TSQL
  • Solution deployment
  • Remote debugging
  • Performance overhauls
  • Antivirus
  • SMTP
  • Exchange
  • InfoPath Forms
  • Excel
  • Office applications (Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Project)
  • [Your technology here]
  • [This space for rent in 2010]
  • [What did I miss?!?]

I’ve watched great admins balk at the overheads and oddities required of a SharePoint deployment, moving through the various phases of shock (ignore), denial (disbelief), anger (hate), depression (confusion), and finally acceptance (hope—SP1?!, resignation). If you’re moving through one of these phases or have come out the other end (or you’ve already deployed SharePoint and are starting to realise what’s involved), read this paper.

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