Having a look at the stats for my site and my blogs about backup have the most traffic. Second are my pictures of Australia. So this blog will cover one of the many products I’m working with that will help operationalize SharePoint 2007.
According to Avepoint:
DocAve 4.1 Backup, the industry’s first true item level backup solution for Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Server 2007, offers fast, flexible, real-time backup and full-fidelity restore for all Microsoft SharePoint products and technologies.
It provides customers with 24×7 fault-tolerant SharePoint environments by protecting organization’s collaboration efforts against destruction. Whether it is complete hardware failure, a virus that destroys the SharePoint site, or individual file corruption, you can quickly restore your SharePoint environment at the site, sub-site or item level.
The installation of Docave is very straightforward, install the backup server engine and then the client on the SharePoint server. The instructions provided by Avepoint are very detailed and provide screen shots so that you are able to follow step by step.
I used my lab for the testing which consists of the following servers:
- Domain controller
- SQL Server 2005
- SharePoint Server 2007
- Live Communication Server 2005
- Exchange Server 2003
The user interface is web based, you simply open a browser, enter the URL and login as Admin. You create your job (Select from site or item level backups), save it and then schedule it to run. By default Docave will backup to disk and will create a series of files similar to the SharePoint backup.
Though simple to install and use, disk storage and network planning will be required to make sure you have the capacity and speed required to backup during your window of availability – per you SLA. Avepoint states the recovery speeds are as follows BUT depends on your backup and network infrastructure:
- Site collection backup – 200 GB/HR
- Item level backup – 100 GB/HR
- Site collection restore – 175 GB/HR
- Item level restore – 30 GB/HR
Note that restoring documents may only take seconds.
Believe it or not, many very large organizations I speak with are simply using their existing Windows/SQL Server backup infrastructure to backup the content databases – speed and cost are the top priorities.
Want more info? See Avepoint
What is section 508?
In 1998 the US Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual’s ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. 794d), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others.
Want more information?
Wikipedia has a very good write up as well.
Recently my company hired a new motivational speaker to help get the Microsoft practice back in gear. These are some excellent training and motivational videos he’s given us:
- Monday Wednesday Friday – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7eeBMf6BL8
- Did you get the memo – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxPaiEiGWsM&feature=related
- Business Attire – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWRM0qj_qVM&feature=related
- Raise – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcrDp2RwTdo&feature=related
- Learning – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKRRkPrM01s&feature=related
- Hang in there – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFx_iLB9fbM&feature=related
- Is this my pen – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yU85CwL_QY&feature=related
- Coaching – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbRFtwCxKHM&feature=related
I believe its important that corporate America invest in and promote management such as this excellent example to maximize shareholder value, get the company back to the industry benchmark and really improve quality through employee morale building exercises.
It’s here! Yet another SP1 blog…
MOSS 2007 SP1 – The 2007 Microsoft Office Servers Service Pack 1 delivers important customer-requested stability and performance improvements, while incorporating further enhancements to user security. This service pack also includes all of the updates released for the 2007 Microsoft Office System servers prior to December of 2007. You can get a more complete description of SP1, including a list of issues that were fixed, in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 936984: Description of the 2007 Microsoft Office Servers Service Pack 1.
WSS v3.0 – Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 delivers important customer-requested stability and performance improvements, while incorporating further enhancements to user security. This service pack also includes all of the updates released for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 prior to December of 2007. You can get a more complete description of SP1, including a list of issues that were fixed, in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 936988: Description of the Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Service Pack 1.
Heres a posts about someones experience applying the SP http://blog.richfinn.net/2007/12/13/WSS3MOSSServicePack1AppliedSuccessfully.aspx and http://www.sharepointfusion.com/2007/11/event-id-5617-after-installing-hotfix_21.html. I updated my lab and everything seems to work fine – will eventually have more time for testing in the new year.
Microsoft IT is a great case study for the largest SharePoint implementation to date. Microsoft has released IT showcase related information in the form of web casts, presentations and Technical White Papers. All of these provide us with better guidelines of How-To scenarios. Especially the SharePoint bit is quite interesting. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Hosting – A Deployment Experience Overview Technical White Paper (TWP) contains nice run down of best practices and lessons learned. I would recommend this TWP to anyone in the SharePoint arena.
Here is an excerpt from the TWP Best practices for initial activities
- Perform a thorough audit of all products and platforms that the upgrade may affect, including Windows Server, SQL Server, IIS, Windows SharePoint Services, and prior versions of SharePoint Products and Technologies, in addition to portals, sites, and content.
- Optimize and clean up current environments. These activities include:
- Merging and splitting databases to optimize sizes.
- Balancing content loads among databases.
- Consolidating server farms where possible.
- Make sure that level settings are consistent across the environment to be upgraded.
- Identify and install missing language packs. Doing so during the upgrade itself is inefficient and can cause problems.
- Document initial activities and discoveries made during the process, creating a reference in case personnel need to look back during the upgrade to see what actions were performed and to help make future upgrades easier.
Best Practices for Planning
- Schedule and analyze pre-scan by using the pre-scan tool (Prescan.exe) at least two days before each upgrade.
- Leave space on the schedule to catch up after unexpected events. Upgrading is a complex process with a big impact on the business. It should be completed efficiently but not rushed.
- Upgrades can fail for a variety of reasons. Have a contingency plan in place in case minor or major roadblocks occur.
- Schedule database upgrades based on free space.
- Determine the priority of exceptions and to what degree they will be allowed to affect the schedule. Communicate this information to affected users.
- Frequently update the calendar and provide it to all teams involved.
- Schedule, perform, and confirm backups before performing upgrades. Ensure that backups and upgrades are not scheduled to run at the same time, because this will cause upgrade failure.
- Schedule time and resources for testing and previews of the new functionality.
- In performing a database attach, the number of sites is the most important factor in how long the upgrade will take. If many sites exist on a farm, schedule upgrades based on the number of sites. If there are fewer sites (as may be the case with team and portal sites), schedule them based on the quantity of data.
- Before upgrading, communicate that sites cannot be accessed or reverted during the upgrade.
- Define the upgrade process thoroughly before sending communications about the schedule and process. Not doing so will confuse end users and may encourage them to think the schedule is negotiable.
- Avoid committing to specific dates where possible.
- Use images in communications to explain the upgrade process to non-technical personnel.
- Send notifications to site owners and administrators often—before, during, and after the upgrade.
- Finishing the upgrade is not the end of the upgrade process. Define, convey, and implement a post-upgrade communication plan.
- Define the support process for exceptions and escalations. If some technical issues are not supported, make sure that users know beforehand.
- Training is key to getting the most benefits from Office SharePoint Server 2007, even if users are familiar with Windows SharePoint Services 2003 and SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Plan to invest time, resources, and money in training users.
- Determine whether to reset pages to site definitions (re-ghost) or leave customizations intact during the upgrade
Best Practices for the Upgrade Process
- Perform a dry run whenever feasible. Identifying and fixing problems beforehand will increase the likelihood of maintaining the schedule after the upgrade begins.
- Do not avoid testing because of limited hardware resources. Use virtual machines for testing if excess hardware capacity is not available.
- Data requirements usually grow during an upgrade; exceeding the capacity of a database will cause the upgrade to fail. Increase the target databases to appropriate sizes before the upgrade process and set databases, temporary databases, and log files to auto grow.
- Watch for upgrade problems caused by full-text search. Moving the SQL Server database to a different server or disabling full-text search on the SQL Server computer can mitigate the impact.
- Maintain a list of which sites have been upgraded.
- Move exception sites to a new content database via the Stsadm.exe command-line tool so that they do not interfere with the general upgrade process and schedule.
- Shut down and restart (bounce) SQL Server computers between SQL Server instances.
- It is difficult to complete tasks correctly the first time no matter how carefully custom templates, definitions, and Web Parts are configured before the upgrade. If performing a gradual upgrade or database attach, maintain a copy of the previous environment to allow for rollbacks if necessary.
- Do not finalize the upgrade until you are sure the upgrade is finished. Finalizing the upgrade removes the connection to the previous version and deletes any temporary data, and it is irreversible.
- Allow only one administrator at a time to make changes to the configuration database.
Best Practices for Validation
- Document the entire process in as much detail as possible. This will enable personnel to track problems back to their sources and will make future upgrades easier.
- Develop custom user guides to help users understand the specifics of your Office SharePoint Server 2007 environment.
- Lock previous site versions after the upgrade to prevent users from making updates to old sites. This not only prevents general confusion, but also helps avoid a situation in which misapplied updates are lost when old versions are taken offline.
Its finally here!
Explore the Office SharePoint Server 2007 product at your leisure. Simply download the file to get the grand tour of the latest features and changes, including automated workflows to track approval cycles, business dashboards showing how well you are performing on your goals, and syncing documents to Outlook.
The installation process requires a few steps which take a few minutes:
- Running the MSI and batchfile that adds the WSP
- Creating a Training Site
- Activating the Features
The training, which includes articles, videos, and interactive tutorials, will lead you step-by-step through the rich features of Office SharePoint Server 2007.
- Web Front End – The WFE serves up pages, processes workflows for site collections. Note that WFE can be added to scale out the farm and can be load balanced.
- Index – The index server is the device that crawls the content sources (SharePoint, FileShares, Exchange etc.) and creates the search index. Note you can only have one per SSP.
- App – For Excel Calculation Services and Forms Server.
- Search Query – A server with a query role is a search server in SharePoint that has the “Office SharePoint Server Search” service running and configured for serving search queries.
- SQL Server – A database server (or cluster) hosting the content databases, the configuration database and other SharePoint databases.
- Central Administration – contains the administration functions for the farm
So farms can be a mix of these servers, for example:
- Small farm – One SharePoint server running as a WFE, Query and Index and a SQL server.
- Medium farm – Two load balanced WFEs (WFE and Query), dedicated Index and a SQL Server active passive cluster.
- Large farm – Four load balanced WFEs, Four Query, dedicated Index and a SQL Server active passive cluster.