Thursday, 20 January 2011

SharePoint for small companies - A Small server farm solution

Overview:  Today I met a small company looking to put in SharePoint 2010, I was surprised at the requirement for 35 users but after some review I realised such a small user base provided they are heavy usage information workers could get great benefits out of SharePoint.  BPOS is to limited and I think SharePoint 365 will be a better option but as it still in restricted public beta and therefore it's not an immediate option. 
Problem: The client needs a solution for an Intranet, collaboration and replacement of drives, phase 2 would be a couple of applications such as a new simple CRM and MySites.
Initial Hypothesis:  I refuse to put SQL on the same server as SharePoint.  Using Windows 2008 R2 I want to run SP2010 on the virtual machine, I would put SQL Server 2008 R2 on the physical machine.  This allows for a fairly easy upgrade and the ability to backup and restore data the farm.  Only 1 windows standard licence is required for the VM and the physical SQL machine.
SQL Server can be licenced in 1 of 3 methods namely: 1) per processor (most common), 2) per server plus user cals or 3) per server plus device cals.  If you use option 2, you can use multiple processors and get performance increases.  However, you need to buy additional CAL's at +-£85 each as new users join.  SQL Server Standard Edition is preferable to the SQL Server 2008 Express edition.
SharePoint 2010 needs to be for internal users only, the question is between using the paid for Standard edition or Foundation server.
Resolution: SharePoint standard edition has features that will help the client however they are leaning towards SharePoint 365 ASAP.  I recommend 1 single server containing 8GB of RAM x64 that supports hardware virtualisation.   Windows 2008 R2 standard edition will be installed on the physical server.  A single virtual machine hyper-V instance will spawn up for the SP2010 software.  SP2010 foundation will be used in the discovery phase with 4GB of dedicated RAM.  The SQL Server database could be the express edition but as the threshold is 10GB per database, really to small so the web or workgroup SQL Server editions are better but will have additional licence costs associated.  Standard edition is more common however, you do need Enterprise edition for features such PowerPivot, remote blob storage, backup compression.

Summary: You get no resilience on the small farm's discussed but there are options and each can easily be built upon at a latter stage. This approach also lends itself to disaster recovery using VM image, Acronis base image and SharePoint farm backup.

More Info: Updated 23 March 2011
SP2010 edition comparison for search
SP2010 edition comparison for composite/applications dev
Licencing calc tool


Anonymous said...

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