News reports and online forums have detailed problems users have had with storage management, Active Directory, configuration, governance, and other issues within their SharePoint environments. One Microsoft partner, Azaleos, has shared advice on how to head off some of the thorniest problems before they become disasters.
Azaleos, which provides managed email, collaboration, and unified communications services for Microsoft shops, recently released its "10 Ways to Optimize SharePoint 2010 for Peak Performance" that, if followed, should make the SharePoint environment run as it should. This story will look at the first five; the second five tips will come Tuesday.
1. The key to effective deployment is in planning, said Jason Dearinger, director of SharePoint services at Azaleos, who warns that while SharePoint may look easy to use at the start, that can change over time and that little caveats, details, and other variables can make SharePoint "deceptively complex."
"One of the general guidelines is to know where you want to go," Dearinger said. By that, he means consider how the organization wants to use SharePoint for business intelligence, collaboration, or content management. Then plan what resources are needed and what variables may affect planning. The plan horizon should be six months to a year.
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2. Azaleos advises users to carefully maintain a quota of "site collections," which is an inventory of all the projects being managed on SharePoint. Some long-finished projects can move to backup storage from the SharePoint platform.
"Why do you need four years of Christmas party pictures within this site?" Dearinger asked, rhetorically. "It really helps to guide the site and keep it fresh with the most current content."
3. When calculating SharePoint capacity needs, it's critical to think beyond the amount of content data being generated, Dearinger said. Having 100 GB of content does not mean the organization needs only 100 GB of storage because there are also external applications or services on top of the content that consume IT resources, such as search, Web analytics, and user profiles. For proper planning, Azaleos advises a ratio of 4 GB to 8 GB of capacity for external applications for every 1 GB of content.
4. Recycling bin management is important. It seems like a small matter, those onscreen icons of an office wastebasket that collect deleted files, but Dearinger said they deserve careful consideration. He describes two stages of recycling bin operation. In the first, the bins store files for up to 30 days before deleting them. The second stage concerns what happens to files after 30 days. They can still be retrieved, but in the second stage repository, files are deleted not based on what date they arrived but on the total capacity of the repository, relative to the size of the site quota. If the site quota is 1 GB, the secondary recycling bin has about half that, usually 512 MB.
5. Site collections, which can be groups of separate projects in a related area--perhaps marketing plans for successive years--are seen by SharePoint as one group, which makes it easier to move that collection among databases. However, it's more difficult to communicate between site collections, he said. Azaleos advises maintaining a site collection structure based on teams, projects, and departments. This will give each site collection a different look and feel and provide more flexibility for communicating with databases.
Azaleos participates in Microsoft's Technical Adoption Program (TAP), in which it tests alpha and beta versions of pending software upgrades and provides feedback. While it is on the TAPs for Microsoft Exchange and Data Protection Manager, it's not on the SharePoint team, said Scott Gode, VP of marketing for Azaleos, but does provide informal feedback based on the experiences of its customers.
Look Tuesday for Azaelos' five other tips on optimizing SharePoint 2010.
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