Notes on "Planning and Governance – SharePoint" (Chandima Kulathilake, KnowledgeCue)

Chan from Knowledge Cue is talking about planning and governance for SharePoint, at the Christchurch SharePoint User Group. KnowledgeCue helps organizations to leverage existing investments in SharePoint.

Agenda:
– Before SharePoint
– During SharePoint
– After SharePoint

Opening question: "What is SharePoint?" A product or a toolbox?
Answers from the floor:
– a "framework"
– "a lot of work"
– "whatever you want it to be"

Before SharePoint
Wherever you start from with SharePoint, you need to have some thinking in place about where to go with SharePoint. You need governance … "the set of policies, roles, responsibilities and processes that you establish in an enterprise to guide, direct, and control how the organization uses technologies to accomplish business goals." That is, the "owners manual".

Governance in SharePoint:
– the IT services that SharePoint requires to operate in (Servers, Databases, etc).
– the Sites/Portals and content created and managed within a SharePoint deployment (the "information architecture")

Chan's planning model for SharePoint:
– Governance capacity planning and architecture
– Installation and configuration guide
– Load and stress testing
– Administration Guide
– Customization Guide
– User's Guide (Chan says, "set up a separate site with a wiki, and tell people why they should use the different parts of SharePoint, eg, a document library.")
– Support

Some other points:
– developers should have their own virtual environments for developing things
– don't install hotfixes unless it's broken. Better to wait for the Service Packs. Eg, SP2 is coming, probably early 2009
– SQL Server 2008? Is supported with SP1 for SharePoint.
– Use 64 bit hardware. Future versions will only support this. So do it now.
– Need to ensure that you plan enough data storage. Take content database size, then double it, and double it again to handle backup and restore.
– see the Administration Toolkit for SharePoint. Helps with spreading the load across content databases.
– planning for availability … 95% is 72 mins a day. As go up to a higher percentage, the hardware cost goes up quickly.
– take note of hard limits (or recommended limits) in SharePoint. Eg, documents per document library.

Planning for SharePoint:
– deployment topology and network architecture
– server names and URLs
– correct version of the software and key
– go with standard version if not sure.
– service accounts in Active Directory
– database server names – database names and permissions
– documented install guide and scripts SharePoint is installed. Is it ready? No … Time for testing. Eg, authentication, business data catalog, Excel Services, incoming email and email-enabled libraries … and more. Aim is to create a server benchmark.

Defining SharePoint as a service:
– provide a mechanism so people can request a site, eg, through a workflow process with automated install
– will need dedicated environments for different things, eg, internal farm and extranet farms, Site Collections for collaboration and intranet, etc.
– different levels of service for different types of applications.
– don't try to be a rock star when you are a newbie. Do different things once you have more experience.

Some gotchas:
– don't make Devs the Admins too
– SharePoint applications that start as SharePoint then become full development jobs.

See Chan's blog at www.chandima.com/Blog

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