has spent considerable time gathering input from customers on previous
versions of SharePoint. This input was directly used by the development
team to create new functionality and features in this version of
SharePoint. The product team delivered a huge range of services and
functionality. For SharePoint administrators familiar with SharePoint
2007, it is important to gain a better understanding of what those
changes are and how they can be used to build a better collaboration
environment for your organization.
Understanding the Scalable Service Application Model in SharePoint 2010
One of the most
significant architectural changes in SharePoint 2010 is the change to a
service application architecture from the shared services provider
architecture of SharePoint 2007. Service applications in SharePoint 2010
are independent services that can be shared across web applications or
Service applications in
SharePoint 2010 include the Business Data Connectivity Service, which
allows for connection to an external data source, the Managed Metadata
Service, which enforces common metadata across a farm, and the Search
Service, which is critical for Enterprise Search functionality. In
total, there are more than a dozen service applications available
out-of-the-box in SharePoint 2010, and Microsoft enables third-party
service applications to be created as well.
Service applications enable
a SharePoint 2010 environment to be more scalable because they can be
easily shared across multiple servers. SharePoint architects can define
which servers run which service applications, and which service
applications apply to what farms. By separating the functionality in
SharePoint onto this highly flexible service application tier, it
becomes easier to scale up the environment with the needs of the
individual environment. For example, Figure 1.3
illustrates a very large farm with multiple servers running individual
service applications. Although most organizations will be served by smaller farms, it shows the scalability of the service application model.
Figure 1. Viewing a large distributed SharePoint 2010 farm.
Outlining Search Improvements in SharePoint 2010
Another area of significant
improvement in SharePoint 2010 is SharePoint’s built-in Enterprise
Search functionality. Rebuilt as a service application, SharePoint’s
native search tool has been rearchitected to enable the following:
functionality, now providing for index redundancy and high availability,
something not possible in SharePoint 2007.
Content sources can now be divided among multiple index partitions, such as what is illustrated in Figure 1.3. This allows for a greater load to be distributed between multiple servers.
Improved search relevancy.
addition to improvements in SharePoint 2010’s native search, Microsoft
also offers a different tool for SharePoint search: FAST Search Server
2010. FAST Search has all of the improvements available with the native
SharePoint 2010 search but adds additional features, such as thumbnail
previews, click-through relevance, and automatic metadata tagging.
Accessing the Improved Administration, Monitoring, and Backup Tools
There are two major
improvements in the area of administration for SharePoint. The first
comes in a revamped SharePoint Central Administration tool, shown in Figure 2. The second comes with the addition of Microsoft PowerShell as a scripting administration interface.
Figure 2. Examining the revamped SharePoint Central Administration tool.
with SharePoint 2007 will recall the SharePoint Central Admin tool, a
web-based interface used to administer SharePoint functionality.
SharePoint 2010 greatly improves this interface, organizing functional
tasks within specific pages, adding support for the SharePoint Ribbon to
make tasks easier to perform and adding new functionality that
previously was unavailable.
The addition of Microsoft
PowerShell as a SharePoint administration tool enables administrators to
have a robust and comprehensive scripting interface that allows for
automation of manual tasks, scripted installations, and remote
administration support. Microsoft created more than 500 commandlets for
PowerShell specific to SharePoint, some of which are shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Using PowerShell for SharePoint 2010 Administration.
Using the Improved Backup and Restore Tools
Backup and Restore in the SharePoint admin interfaces in SharePoint 2010, shown in Figure 4,
has been improved over SharePoint 2007’s available out-of-the-box
options. New improvements include progress bar indicators, granular site
recovery options, and the capability to recover data out of unattached
Figure 4. Using SharePoint Central Admin’s improved backup interface.
Although these tools
improve the administration available in SharePoint 2010, they do not
necessarily provide comprehensive enterprise backup and restore
capabilities. In certain cases, it may become necessary to use a
third-party product or an enhanced Microsoft tool such as System Center
Data Protection Manager.
Gaining Storage Flexibility with the Remote BLOB Storage Option
2010 now has the capability to natively support the storage of database
BLOBs (binary large objects)—essentially the actual documents in the
database, outside of the SharePoint content database, using a concept
known as Remote BLOB Storage (RBS). Because the space consumed within
SharePoint content database is approximately 80 percent BLOB content,
using RBS can have a significant effect on the size and maintenance of
Using the Improved Interface and Ribbon Integration
The Office Ribbon,
introduced with the Office 2007 client tools, presented a completely
different way of working with Office documents, placing commonly used
tasks across a tabular ribbon that remained at the top of the product.
The success of this Ribbon meant that it found its way into SharePoint
and is an integrated part of the SharePoint Web Experience, even at the
top of the SharePoint Central Admin tool in some interfaces, as shown in
Figure 5. Viewing the SharePoint 2010 Ribbon.
integrating the Ribbon into the out-of-the-box experience in SharePoint
2010, Microsoft made it easier to perform common tasks. By integrating
the Ribbon within the SharePoint Central Admin tool, it makes
administration tasks easier and more intuitive to perform.