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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Scaling Logical SharePoint Components

The key to SharePoint's success is in its capability to intelligently present information needed for each individual user, allowing them quick and easy access to that information. SharePoint accomplishes this through various logical mechanisms that exist to help organize this content, structuring it in a way that pulls unstructured data together and presents it to the user. For example, a file server simply holds together a jumbling of documents in a simple file structure. Multiple versions of those documents further confuse the issue. SharePoint contains mechanisms to organize those documents into logical document libraries, categorized by metadata, which can be searched for and presented by the latest version.

In addition to the most obvious logical components, SharePoint allows sets of data to be scaled out to support groups of users. For example, by utilizing different site collections with their own unique sets of permissions, SharePoint can be configured to host different groups of users on the same set of machines, increasing flexibility.

Scaling Out with Site Collections

Building on the success of SharePoint Team Services and Windows SharePoint Services 2.0, SharePoint sites in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 allow various teams or groups of users to have access to particular information relevant to them. For example, sites can be set up for each department of a company to allow them access to information pertinent to their groups.

Sites can be scaled out to support various site collections for each group of users. This allows the data to be distributed across a SharePoint environment logically, allowing a much larger population of users to be distributed across a SharePoint server environment. Each site collection can be administered by a unique owner designated within the site structure, as shown in Figure 3.1. This allows for security to be scaled out across a SharePoint site.

Figure 3.1

Figure 3.1 Setting site permissions for a SharePoint site.

Scaling Out with IIS Virtual Servers and Web Applications

SharePoint stores its data in a SQL Server 2000/2005 database, but serves up access to that data via HTML and ASP.NET web services. Access to this data is served up to the user via the Windows Server 2003 Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0. IIS is composed of various logical structures known as virtual servers, which are entry points of sorts to web content. Each virtual server can be configured to point to various sets of information located on the web server or extended via SharePoint to be unique SharePoint web applications.

Utilizing unique virtual servers and/or web applications with SharePoint can help to scale the functionality of an environment further, allowing the flexibility to grant access to SharePoint using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption or across different ports. In addition, deploying multiple virtual servers allows for the use of multiple host headers for a SharePoint organization, such as sharepoint.companyabc.com, docs.companyabc.com, info.companyabc.com, moss.organizationa.com, and so on.

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