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Chapter 4: 'SharePoint Architecture Fundamentals'

So you've just installed SharePoint. Or you're about to. How do you get the most out of your investment? This is a book about Microsoft's SharePoint platform, with a particular focus on three commonly requested topics: end-user features, operational and configuration needs, and creating effective solutions. This book was written because collaboration, knowledge and content management, and Web accessibility are three of the most sought-after features in a corporate software solution, and one of the key products that is the basis for most Microsoft-based solutions is SharePoint.

Download chapter 4: 'SharePoint Architecture Fundamentals'

Excerpted from the book 'Essential SharePoint 2007', ISBN 0321421744, Copyright 2007. Written permission from Pearson Education is required for all other uses. Copyright © 2007 Pearson Education. All rights reserved.


Chapter Excerpt:

Windows SharePoint Services

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 builds on the operating system and database services to add additional features, such as team sites and collaboration features. Specifically, WSS 3.0 provides the following platform capabilities:

  • Storage. Through content databases, which are literally SQL databases managed by SharePoint to accommodate the pages, data, and documents stored in the various portals, team sites, and workspaces
  • Management. Administration pages with deep configuration options
  • Deployment. Web farms, physical servers, and roles
  • Site Model. Web application, site collection, and sites
  • Extensibility. Features, Web parts, and templates

WSS provides more than just these core technology services. Microsoft decided to make WSS a powerful application out-of-the-box and thus provides the core collaboration features for MOSS:

  • Document collaboration—check-in/out and versions
  • Wikis and blogs
  • RSS support
  • Project task management (lightweight functionality, which should not be confused with Office Project Server 2007, also built on WSS 3.0)
  • Contacts, calendars, and tasks
  • E-mail integration
  • Integration with Office client applications

Office SharePoint Server 2007: Applications and Services

Architecturally, Office SharePoint Server 2007 consists of a common set of shared services that support five server application components:

  • Portal. Templates, people, audience targeting
  • Search. Search center, cross-site search
  • Content management. Authoring, publishing, records management
  • Business process. Forms server, line of business (LOB) integration
  • Business intelligence. Excel services, Key Performance Indicator (KPI) lists, Report Center (not to be confused with Business Scorecard Manager and Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, which both provide additional BI capabilities)

Each of these is built on the platform services and collaboration components of Windows SharePoint Services and the shared services components of Office SharePoint Server 2007.


Shared Services

Shared services provide the features that are used by multiple applications in MOSS 2007. What does that mean? Let's use an example—user profiles. You might want to use the user profile feature, which provides an out-ofthe- box employee directory, including basic information (name and phone number, for example), along with some custom properties and a photograph. You might also want to create several different portals within your organization—for example, an Internet presence, an employee intranet site, and a collaboration portal for self-service team site use. You wouldn't want to create and manage three separate profile databases. In this case, the user profile service can be shared across the various portals—hence a shared service. Specifically, the following features are provided by shared services in MOSS 2007:

  • User profile store
  • Audiences
  • Search services
  • Usage reporting
  • Excel services
  • Business Data Catalog (BDC)
  • Notification service for generating alerts
  • Single sign-on services

So what exactly do shared services support? They support the fundamental element of SharePoint: sites. Some of a site's services are site-specific, while others are shared and provided by a Shared Services Provider (SSP), which we will discuss shortly. When a site is created, it is based on a template. You can think of a site as the cookie and a template as the cookie cutter. In the next section, we discuss sites, templates, and more about shared services.

Chapter 4: 'SharePoint Architecture Fundamentals'

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