Confused about roles and services? SharePoint 2007 has a few server roles you should be familiar with when designing farms.
These roles are as follows:
  • 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.
So 2007 offers more flexibility over 2003 by enabling modular scalability of services a features. Not sure where to start? Go with a medium farm as most do.
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