An Administrators Quick Look at SharePoint for SBS 2011 Standard

[Today's post comes to us courtesy of Shawn Sullivan, Gagan Mehra, and Sabir Chandwale from Commercial Technical Support]

SharePoint Services have been an integral part of Small Business product line since SBS 2003. It serves as a secure web based collaboration platform that is easy to deploy, maintain, and protect. Among the standard features that have been available since the 2003 days are:

  • Access through a web front end running in IIS. Data storage is handled by one form or another of SQL server.
  • Protection with Secure Sockets Layer encryption.
  • A permissions structure that authenticates and authorizes users for access and administration who have a backing account in Active Directory.
  • A repository for documents, calendars, archived email, archived faxes.An email alerting system capable of notifying administrators and other interested parties of changes made to key data inside the site structure.
  • Multiple methods of data backup.
  • Customization options to tailor the look and flow of the website(s) to meet the requirements of the business.
  • The ability to access the website from the internet through the SBS Remote Web Workplace web portal.

Historically, SBS 2003 and later has always deployed the latest freely downloadable edition of SharePoint at the time of product release. The benefit that SBS provides is that it automatically installs Sharepoint during initial setup and creates team homepage that is ready for immediate use for internal users. This involves several configuration tasks in IIS, DNS, Active Directory, Sharepoint specific security objects, Exchange configuration, and fax configuration that would otherwise have to be completed manually by a skilled administrator.

Windows SharePoint Foundation 2010 is the version that ships with the new SBS 2011 Standard edition. Below are some changes within the SharePoint product itself that administrators of its predecessor, Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 on SBS 2008, should be aware of:

  • It is no longer installed in single server mode, but in farm mode. Normally, Sharepoint Foundation 2010 running in farm mode is exempt from automatic updating. However, installations installed on SBS 2011 Standard will continue to be updated automatically through WSUS unless explicitly configured otherwise after SBS setup.
  • You must now manually run PSConfig each time you apply an update or service pack to SharePoint.  This has changed from the previous version, where PSConfig was ran automatically as part of the update process. For more information see our previous post:
  • It uses an instance of SQL 2008 R2 Express Edition, as opposed to the Windows Internal Database. This has implications on content database size, since 2008 R2 imposes a 10GB size limit where Windows Internal Database had no such limit. For more information see the following post:
  • Instead of using a single IIS website with bindings on both port 80 for HTTP and 987 for SSL, these bindings are now split between two different websites called Companyweb and SBS SharePoint. Both of these sites are extended by the same SharePoint Web Application and deliver the same content when browsed. Do not make changes to either one.

You can view the list of improvements in this version of Sharepoint at the following “What’s New” link:

SharePoint 2010 Learning Resources: