Monday, I outlined the first five of 10 tips Azaleos outlines in the report, "10 Ways to Optimize SharePoint 2010 for Peak Performance." The five remaining tips, listed below, include managing Active Directory, provisioning adequate storage, and avoiding the perils of bringing external search data into the SharePoint platform.
6. Azaleos advises organizations to set up SharePoint to efficiently access Microsoft Active Directory for SharePoint's User Profile Service (UPS). UPS pulls data from Active Directory to help build an organizational chart, Jason Dearinger, director of SharePoint services at Azaleos, explained. The problem comes when UPS delivers more accounts that are needed, as happened to one Azaleos customer recently.
"They pointed the UPS at the Active Directory and said 'go,''' Dearing said, of the company with about 3,000 end users. "It pulled back over 50,000 accounts ... a lot of extra things like all their service accounts, security groups, things that shouldn't be seen by the general organization."
"It's about being able to be very tactical in your ability to say I only want this [list]," he said.
[ Microsoft recently detailed how SharePoint will be more accessible on the next version of Windows Phone 7. Learn more: Microsoft Touts UC Apps On Windows Phone. ]
7. Consider the risk of bringing external search into SharePoint. A customer may be humming along nicely running a 1-TB SharePoint environment only to see it sputter and stall after operators point SharePoint at a bank of external files servers holding 4 TB of data. That changes SharePoint from being a 1-TB environment to a 5-TB environment, throwing all the previous capacity planning out the window, Dearinger said.
"That has caught more customers than I care to count. Always, right out of the gate, plan for external search," he said.
8. Take long-term SharePoint planning guidelines with a grain of salt. Microsoft's guidelines for long-term planning are based on lab testing rather real-world situations, Dearinger said. A good rule of thumb, Azaleos advises, is to stay within 50% of Microsoft's suggested limits and boundaries. Dearinger also advises using the access control list (ACL) tool, which limits the capacity to 5,000 users for any one site collection.
9. Azaleos offers the same warning with storage subsystems planning. Storage systems have to be managed more for performance than for capacity, citing the cautionary tale of an Azaleos customer who used cheaper serial ATA (SATA) drives for its storage environment than higher-performing serial attached SCSI (SAS) drives, which resulted in subpar performance.
"In a lot of cases ... organizations don't take into account the fact that a disk can only spin so fast and that it can only transmit data so quickly," Dearinger said.
10. Azaleos urges careful care and feeding of the Microsoft SQL Server platform.
"SQL database is the heart and soul of SharePoint," he said, and must be properly maintained. A lot of data goes in and out of a SQL server in a SharePoint environment, which necessitates continuous monitoring and management.
Azaleos is a member of Microsoft's Technical Adoption Program (TAP) and formally consults on development of Exchange and Data Protection Management software, though only informally on SharePoint. Azaleos hopes that some of the problems it's identified with SharePoint 2010 will be addressed in the next version of SharePoint. Details about that update are expected at a SharePoint Conference in November 2012, said Scott Gode, VP of marketing for Azaleos.
Our InformationWeek 2012 Business Intelligence, Analytics, and Information Management Survey shows the old practice of following the money, using lagging financial indicators to guide a company's decisions, giving way to the forward-looking approach of following the data. Download the report now. (Free registration required.)