Thanks SPC09 and all of the Exhibitors!

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Kudos for Microsoft and all the Exhibitors that contributed to the success of this years SharePoint Conference. A lot of really great sessions and surprisingly close to 8,000 people this year. Close to double the size of last year and very close to the size of TechEd (9,000). Will the SharePoint conference surpass TechEd, I think it just might. SharePoint is application platform more than ever.

Not only did my team and I find a wealth of great content at the conference but had a blast at all the after events. There was something going on every night. The one big social was the 80’s party which had Huey Lewis and the News and 80’s stuff to play with(goofy 80’s sun glasses, classic arcades & XBox arcade games)

The networking socials were a hit as well, a few I went to was at the Mandalay poolside (PointBridge), Eye Candy x2 (Intelligent Effects and SharePint), Ghost Bar (CreativeMaven) and House of Blues (Catapult).

 

 

SPC09 80's Party 2 SPC09 80's Party SPC09 80's Party 3

Thanks to dinnouti for all the great pictures.

RBA Consulting went all out with a suite at the Hardwood Suite in the Palms Casino! This suite that is famous for having stars from Hollywood stay has a half court basketball court, a pool table, professional locker rooms, built in bar, extra large jacuzzi tub, two master bedrooms, three extra large beds on the court that you can pull down, and two large lounge areas.  Its about 10,000 square feet and two stories. If you want to stay there it will only set you back 25k…

harwood-suite   hardwood2

On top of all this a good friend of mine got married in Vegas, Congrats Rob!

Forrester: Mapping out Your Organizations Road to SharePoint Success Session

This was a great session that talked more about setting the expectation of what SharePoint really is, a Application Services Platform.

Great quote:

There isn’t one role but it takes a “village” of people to make it happen.

 

Making SharePoint Implementations Successful

In the presentation he went through the many roles it takes to successfully deploy a SharePoint platform. Thus, you must organize to capitalize. Below are the key roles needed:

  1. Operations Manager
  2. Solutions Architect (This is more of an EA role)
  3. Network Analyst
  4. Security Analyst
  5. Librarian and records manager (I think of this more as an Information Architect)
  6. Human Factors / UI Designer (I would call this UX Engineer or User Experience Designer)
  7. Community Leader
  8. Application Architect (Deep architect resource that know the bolts of SharePoint very well)
  9. Collaboration Manager
  10. Other IT Roles

 

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Twitter on SharePoint

‘MyPeeps’ – What’s on your mind? eGov 2.0 Kit ‘My Peeps’ templates enable social sharing of information within government entities and allows optional promotion of this information to public facing social networking sites. This solution’s major advantage is that it is hosted on-premise for “government-only” social networking and all information is kept internal unless otherwise tagged to be posted to Internet sites like Twitter or Facebook.

mypeeps

You can get it here:

http://egov.codeplex.com/

 

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Using SharePoint as a Project Management Portal

Dux and the folks over at Bamboo Solutions gave a presentation on using SharePoint as a Project Management portal. You can see not only from this presentation but from the Microsoft side the significant investments they are making to enrich the Microsoft Project management solution set.

Here are a list of examples:

  • Visual Studio Team System native integration with SharePoint
  • Project and Portfolio Service Merging in 2010
  • Project Server now riding on the SharePoint 2010 platform natively
  • Office Integration in general

In the presentation which is also summarized on Dux’s blog here:

http://www.cmswire.com/cms/enterprise-cms/spc09-the-future-of-sharepoint-project-management-005854.php?utm_source=MainRSSFeed&utm_medium=Web&utm_campaign=RSS-News

SharePoint can deliver to an organization is the ability to address project management challenges, such as inefficient communication among stakeholders, poor information management practices and undefined project collaboration standards that compromises project success.

Benefits of using SharePoint for Project Management

  • Centralize project information and communication in a SharePoint site
  • Automate project processes like change control process by utilizing built in SharePoint workflows
  • Efficiently interact with project information on a SharePoint site by integrating it with common Microsoft Office tools such as Word, Excel, and Outlook
  • Enable alerts to send automated reminders to project stakeholders
  • Define and monitor project tasks in the enhanced project task list which now shows task dependencies and a “Microsoft Project-like” Gantt view interface

 

To read the full article go to the full blog entry here.

The Business Case for Social Media

Business Case for Social with ROI

WebworldTech posted a great recap of a session I was in and thought I would share his great thoughts. You can find his post on The Business Case for Social Media here: http://blog.webworldtechnologies.com/?p=27

Value Proposition Highlights

  • Quality of dialog
  • Reduced storage costs due to centralized /de-duplicated storage
  • Communal information – tap in to corporate knowledge better
  • More rapid peer-to-peer computing
  • Collaborative problem solving
  • There’s a lot of BI that you can’t easily abstract with a chart or a spreadsheet – it’s a question that gets answered by SOMEBODY and that’s social networking to solve that
  • Decreased time-to-value for new employees
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Building Knowledge Management Solutions on SharePoint 2010 Session

I really got a lot out of this session as it really opened my eyes to the investment Microsoft has made into the social computing space. They really did a great job of marrying the enterprise publishing world with social. Another trend that Microsoft has really latched onto is context aware solutions. The composite architecture patterns exposed in SharePoint 2010 really start to enable this.

In this session the presenter is talking about re-architecting a select few of Microsoft’s internal knowledge management systems. They have already started to re-architect the site onto the SharePoint 2010 and was showing some real life demos. These KM systems currently has close to a 1TB of mission critical data. This repository holds mostly sales and marketing data to enable the Microsoft field.

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As a previous user of this information it was rather clunky and it looks like MS thought so as well. They approached the problem in a rather simplistic manner by splitting content into directories and using the Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS) method to ensure success. Additionally they scoped the project appropriately by just focusing on publishing and discovery of content.

Approach and Capabilities Needed

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Key Challenges

  • User Experience – Too many user experience makes it difficult for people to find what they need.
  • Collaboration – Pages are documents and managed differently buy multiple teams
  • Information Discovery – Search results aren’t relevant and difficult to refine

 

Architecture

I really enjoyed hearing about how they architecturally viewed the problem. it was clear they had a good separation of concerns in the architecture. This will ensure that the solution can expand to growing business needs. they talked about three  logical layers to the architecture.

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  1. Publishing – Working area for publishing
  2. Document Center – A place for authoritative finished content
  3. Shared Services Platform – Enterprise capabilities and information taxonomies

Using the concept of SharePoint or aspects of SharePoint as a Shared Services Platform is a notion I have been evangelizing for sometime and it looks like it is mainstream in the messaging from Microsoft both internally and externally.

Governance was talked about quite a lot and for obvious reasons. Keep in mind this was a case study on Microsoft and not authoritative guidance necessarily. The Microsoft culture is a lot different than most organizations. With that said, there was a lot of push back on governance. Two forces were at odds in the Microsoft implementation, governance (Maintain content discovery and authority) vs. enablement (empower more people to contribute). They defined the two as follows:

Maintain content discovery and authority

  • One sanctioned place to get information
  • Consistent layouts and branding
  • Tight OOTB way to integrates pages and document
  • Subject management experts have final word

 

Empower more people to contribute

  • Just a few clicks to contribute to topic
  • Rating tagging commenting
  • No hang-ups

 

Their implementation use a bit more in the enablement category and rightfully so for their business. As the presentation went on more it was clear that Microsoft made a huge investment to put social computing at the forefront of the publishing capabilities.

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Scaling SharePoint Topologies Session

Hosting_SharePointProducts2010

Simon Skaria gave a great session. I was very impressed with the architectural thought process and approach to designing SharePoint sites. This is a bit different from a typical Microsoft session, very refreshing. 

The session was great for intranets but didn’t cover internets at all. I would assume that these are similar but there are other considerations to support the usage profiles and security that is attributed to an internet type of site. There is follow-up topology information for SP2010 on the SharePoint Server 2010 TechNet site located here:

Download the model

This model helps you understand hosting environments and provides an overview of the following:

  • Hosting features and concepts such as multitenancy, site subscriptions, and service partitioning
  • Enterprise hosting environments
  • Shared hosting environments

 

Additionally the hardware requirements can be found here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485(office.14).aspx

 

Key Themes

  • Patterns can be used to accelerate deployments
  • Improved Security Model
    • Claims based authorization
    • Cross farm communication
  • Administration simplified
  • Service Isolation
  • Each app can use separate database and optionally separate app pool
  • Support mult applications with different accounts and databases
  • Multitenency support
  • Some service apps can be partitioned to handle multi-tenants

 

General Considerations

  1. Start with logical architecture
    1. Consolidated vs. Distributed
  2. Logical Topology Considerations
  3. Business Needs, Regulatory Impacts, IT considerations (information architecture)
  4. Physical Considerations
  5. Scale up vs. Scale Out
  6. Link Latency – If you are deploying over a WAN and how to handle this.
  7. Directory Architecture – Host services relationship with AD and how to handle sync
  8. Separate meta data repositories based on the need in the organization. Example HR could create tags that manages personnel. For example, pay grade or performance ratings. This metadata wouldn’t go outside the HR department.
  9. MOSS 2007 is not interoperable with 2010 farms
  10. Microsoft’s suggestions on upgrading
    1. Upgrade All – This seems a bit risky, especially if you have mission critical solutions on SharePoint. Additionally it could be time intensive.
    2. Phased Upgrade – This is what Microsoft is doing internally. They do weekend upgrades till they get all upgrade.

 

Scaling Services – General recommendations are to scale within the farm. Identify where there are bottlenecks are put them on their own dedicated server.

    1. Search and user profiles are SQL intensive and can be a bottle neck.
    2. Usage logging service (new) you want to put that on a separate server
    3. Scale out on each tier.
    4. Add Web front Ends (WFE) for content servers if additional capacity is needed
    5. Add apps servers for LOB centric / transactional needs.
    6. Adding multiple content farms will help for organizations that deal with a lot of content to scale
    7. Multiple service farms are used in international WAN based solutions.

 

Scenarios where given for implementation profiles of small to mid to large size companies. These profiles are great starting points but I see that there are a lot more patterns that will be more applicable. For example, the mid sized profile doesn’t account for Disaster Recovery or High Availability. These two non-functional requirements do not hinge on the number of users. 

The small company profile was fairly simplistic with WFE and app server combined with dedicated SQL Server.

For mid sized profile < 50k users.

  • Single farm
  • Isolated web apps
  • Multiple services apps (metadata)
  • Multiple proxy groups
  • WFE and Application Server is separated
  • SQL on separate server

 

Large Enterprise profile is >50k users that may be international distribution and leveraging most if not all advanced features of the SharePoint platform.

  • Multiple farms that could be distributed across datacenters.
  • Centralized IT services that manages the growth through governance and policy
  • Disaster Recovery support and High availability. These two where not talked about in length.

 

For more resources, take a look at:

SharePoint 2010 Website – to view SharePoint 2010 in action

SharePoint 2010 forum– for SharePoint 2010 questions

SharePoint 2010 PressPass– for the SPC 2009 keynote video, a Q&A with Jeff Teper, and more

SharePoint 2010 Developer Center – for developer info

http://www.mssharepointitpro.com – for IT Pro info

http://www.microsoft.com/sharepoint – for more SharePoint information