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Amusingly MOSS ...It's funny how difficult some stuff is when it really shouldn't be

Okay, Mr. SharePoint Architect.  You've been asked to lead your developers to SharePoint glory, and you're ready to whip out your MSDN DVDs, and stand up a brand spankin'-new MOSS farm.  You know the drill, too - you've done this 10 or 20 times, so it's no sweat.  Right?

Well, it isn't much of a sweat if the client wants a 100% vanilla, no-frills, no-customization MOSS instance.  While this sounds ludicrous to you and me now, it brings me unending amusement how so many people bought SharePoint licenses thinking it would be a turn-key solution to all of their business problems.

"SharePoint is 100% configurable - all you'll need are some BA's who are savvy in XML to solve all of your business problems!"

No, that's not a real quote, but it's darn close to the fleece that was pulled over many of our client's eyes.  But it's great news for me, because it means that I'm gainfully employed now that they all realize that they can't get where they want to go without help from us SharePoint magicians...  but I digress (albeit, a little snootily).

So now that I'm done rambling, here’s the real reason I’m writing this post: I want to impart some questions that you should ponder before diving into an architecture diagram.

1.     Will the environment be a 32-bit or a 64-bit environment?

Before we go any further, allow me to relay something to you that was stated to me by a member of Microsoft support staff when I was asking for help on a super-obscure error in the SharePoint log (the specifics of the error don’t matter, just his response):

“Yeah, MOSS isn’t really designed for a 32-bit implementation – it’s really meant for a 100% 64-bit platform.”

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen – while MOSS will run in 32-bit, you’ll want to build a 64-bit environment realize the full potential of MOSS.  You’ll run into less weird problems that require you to call granddaddy Microsoft for help.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve done quite a few very successful 32-bit implementations, but I’ve seen far better perofrmance (in terms of speed and less utter lunacy in the error logs) from 64-bit installs.

2.     What version of SharePoint should be installed (WSS 3.0, MOSS Standard Edition, MOSS Enterprise Edition)?

The differences can be found here.  Your decision will mostly be driven by scale of the implentation, but here are a few “litmus” tests for weeding out what they really want:

    • Search requirements
    • Collaboration requirements
    • CMS requirements
    • Audience control requirements
    • Integrating with/searching external application data

3.     How many web application servers are required in the farm?

This will be affected primarily by the load you’re expecting to see (among other things), and I may choose to write more about this later.

4.     What type of external access requirements are there? What constitutes an “outside” user?

These questions have implications primarily in the authentication space, but depending on the answer, you’ll want to think about extending your content-bearing sites to include other forms of authentication (forms or windows), alternate access mappings, and the implications of who will get profiles.

You should be able to at least get the conversations started about how to architect your farm with these thoughts. 

Next issue, I’m going to dive a bit into some system requirements for what I’ve seen work for development environments and production environments for MOSS Enterprise.

Posted on Saturday, January 31, 2009 9:52 PM SharePoint | Back to top


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