Sharepoint Architecture

The architecture is composed of Web Server front ends running the WSS application with MOSS plugging-in functionality where required, generally a search service which crawls the data store creating an index, a number of other services, and the database back-end, a standard enterprise architecture.

As such it can be built out by load balancing more web servers on the front end and building larger clusters of SQL Server on the back-end. Though recommended to be installed on physical machines, virtualization has been used with MOSS and the previous marks to create this architecture, though not officially supported at the time of writing.

SharePoint allows administrators to create Web Applications each on its own port. A separate web application on a separate port can contain site collections, each having its own database in SQL Server. Site collections can have sites which can contain subsites. A web server can contain hundreds of site collections.

One of the weaknesses of the tool is its own ease of use. Administrators may be tempted to start one port 80 and build a single site collection with sub-sites underneath, exposed to the company as a home page and sub-pages. Though this makes sense for a large organization or one with bespoke portals using custom Web Parts or Forms Server, it can cause problems. All the sites in a site collection will be stored in the same database, which can become too large to effectively back-up. Moreover, bespoke development using the same Web Application and Application pool can bring a company-wide intranet down.

MOSS 2007 also allows content types and document libraries to have information management policies, which allows the triggering of workflow or deletion of information after a certain fixed event or time period, helping to reduce many of the size-growth problems of earlier versions.

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