Wednesday, June 25, 2008


ToTheSharePoint Newsletter
June 24, 2008

Dan Holme
Office & SharePoint Pro
Community Manager

Great Stuff

This week I'd like to turn the spotlight on several great things that have come out of Microsoft and out of the Community recently!

Scalability and Performance Whitepaper

Microsoft has had some interesting new adoptions of SharePoint over recent months, including some very high profile and active Web deployments and continuing adoption by enterprises of all sizes. For larger enterprises, scalability and performance, and how to design a SharePoint implementation to optimize performance, is a critical issue. To provide guidance, Microsoft released the SharePoint Server 2007 Scalability and Performance whitepaper, which tested out an implementation of 50 million content items. Paul Learning, a senior consultant with Microsoft Consulting Services, blogged about the setup of the testing on his blog. The whitepaper is more than 90 pages and will certainly be required reading for enterprises.

However, like some other product implementation guidance produced by the product's own vendor, you must read carefully and take a grain of salt (or perhaps an entire margarita) to interpret it. Luckily, MVP Eli Robillard read through the tome with a fine-toothed comb and cuts to the chase with his Review of the SharePoint Scalability White Paper. Definitely read his "nutshell" for some perspective before sitting down with that margarita (or a tall cup of coffee) and the white paper.

STSADM Extensions

In April, I met SharePoint MVP Gary Lapointe, who has created one of the more useful tools around for SharePoint admins. His free STSADM extensions are incredible additions to the administrative toolset! More than once, a client has asked me "How can I...?" and the answer has been, "Gary's STSADM extensions." He has had a MOSS version out for some time and recently released a WSS-specific version of STSADM Extensions. He's very good about keeping the code updated and relevant. If you haven't checked out his tools, do it now!

Telligent Community Server Integration

If you've read this newsletter over the last year, you know I'm a fan of Community Server by Telligent, which provides really rich forum and blog capabilities. The tool now integrates well with SharePoint, allowing us to replace the somewhat lacking feature set of WSS/MOSS blogs and forums. Learn more about how to integrate Community Server with SharePoint.

Podcasting Kit for SharePoint

I also have a sweet spot for the use of new media and (I hate the term) "Web 2.0" in the enterprise. Any human resources manager knows that new hires and existing employees are increasingly armed with skills and expectations regarding new media in the workplace, so why not make the most of them? Podcasts are, in the grand scheme of today's fast moving technology, not really even "new" any more, but they have a lot of untapped potential. Now you can implement podcasting from SharePoint with the new Podcasting Kit for SharePoint, available on Codeplex as a community project. Unlike some Codeplex projects, this one has a lot of heavy hitters behind it, so I expect it will continue to grow and evolve. Exciting stuff! Check it out! Also check out the release announcement.

FAST ESP Search Web Parts

Also available on Codeplex for free download are the new FAST Search Web parts and a site template. These are the result of the first, baby steps toward integrating FAST Search and Transfer with SharePoint since Microsoft completed the acquisition of FAST a few weeks ago. The Web parts and Site Templates are designed to provide drag-and-drop simplicity, and both compiled code and source code are available, allowing you to extend and customize the functionality.

And Speaking of Codeplex

Watch out, folks! The release of the FAST ESP Search Web Parts and Site Templates reflects a trend we'll start seeing a lot more of, I expect and hope. Microsoft's and FAST's own developers worked with external developers to provide this solution, and it's a good one. Microsoft is releasing this functionality "out of band" instead of waiting for the next release of SharePoint. By releasing it through Codeplex, Microsoft can insulate itself, to some extent, from its own increasingly rigorous internal requirements surrounding commercial release of a product or functionality and still be responsive to customer demand. In other words, just because it's on Codeplex or is considered a "community contribution" doesn't mean it should be discounted.

I've heard a few discussions recently that "if it's community, it must be bad." While I certainly understand (and support) the reasoning behind the sentiment, you must be very careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. There are certainly projects on Codeplex (and other community sites) that are stagnant or even should be avoided. But you might just find that you can get what you need, now, from the Community and that it is the same code you'll be paying for in a year or two. Please don't discount code on Codeplex or MSDN or other such resources just because they're free or labeled as community or open source projects. You'll miss out on a lot of great stuff between commercially released versions of Microsoft's own products. Just do your research, your testing, and your due diligence.

On to Beijing

This Saturday, I hop my plane to China. I can't believe the time has already come. I'll be traveling for three weeks to get a feeling for this fascinating culture and important nation. More than any of my previous travels, I'm going in with an incredibly open mind because I know there's so much I don't know. I cannot wait to discover, to enjoy, and to share. In mid-July, I wrap up my travels in Beijing, where I'll begin my stint supporting NBC Olympics for the broadcast of the summer Games. Next week I'll let you know where you can follow my journey and my adventures. Till then, happy summer!

Until next week, all the best!

Dan Holme
danh at intelliem dot (top level commercial domain)

Events and Resources

Delivering Reliable and Effective Web-Based Applications
Web-based services have become critical components of organizations' line-of-business applications, and they need to be highly available to prevent workflow disruption. To achieve that high availability, you need to understand the operation of applications and be able to monitor the components that make up your Web application infrastructure. Because failing to meet service levels can have a company-wide impact, implementing the tools and techniques that enable IT to live up to its promises is a key requirement for delivering reliable and effective Web-based services.

Best Practices for Managing ESI
Are you storing too much electronic information? It's absolutely essential to implement and automate effective email retention policies in balance with managing the costs and risks associated with electronically stored information (ESI). However, it's tough to know whether your retention policies and approach dovetail effectively with today's complex regulations, standards, and guidelines for retaining business records. Get expert legal advice and a better understanding of what you're required to do in this on-demand Web seminar.

Best Practices--Combat SQL Server Sprawl
SQL Server sprawl is the rampant, uncontrolled proliferation of SQL Server databases. The problem with SQL Server sprawl is that it's very costly on the server. Low hardware utilization rates, inefficient allocation of operational resources, and more planned and unplanned downtime all contribute to those costs. Learn an approach for successfully combating SQL Server sprawl in this free on-demand Web seminar.

Why SaaS Is the Right Solution for Log Management
In the past five years, both governmental and industry-specific regulations have included log management as a required control within an infrastructure. Read this white paper to learn how an on-demand log management solution is both cost effective and efficient.

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