Utility SpotlightSharePoint Capacity Planning

Peter Skjøtt Larsen and Satish Mathew

Planning a large installation of Microsoft® Windows® SharePoint® Services (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) can be a complex undertaking. Many factors go into determining the most cost-effective topology, hardware, and bandwidth requirements. And there are a multitude of configuration options to consider, depending on how the system will be used. Often, administrators and planners have little more than rules of thumb to help with sizing a system.

Happily, Microsoft has released the second generation of the Microsoft System Center Capacity Planner (SCCP) 2007, a general-purpose tool that combines a model of various apps with a simulator that can estimate how they behave in a particular deployment. This release introduces the new SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool, which adds two more models for WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 to this engine.

The SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool and the SCCP 2007 are freely available from the Microsoft Download Center at microsoft.com/systemcenter/sccp/default.mspx.

The SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool collects your organization's requirements by compiling your answers to questions about expected usage and operating conditions. To generate a preliminary design, a wizard prompts you for relevant information about your structure and your projected SharePoint needs, including number and type of users (authenticated versus anonymous), network parameters, hardware configuration, usage patterns (such as publishing or collaboration), storage requirements, and indexing and query requirements.

Results of a simulation in the SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool

Results of a simulation in the SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool  (Click the image for a larger view)

The tool then generates a recommended baseline topology using names particular to your own setup. You run load and usage simulations against the suggested topology to see how the proposed installation would operate under various conditions.

The initial topology can be modified with a model editor, and you can then run what-if scenarios to simulate the impact of usage growth, enterprise branch office expansion, additional hardware, and increased bandwidth. As the screenshot shows, the simulation generates estimated server loads and user experience reports that let you start optimizing the configuration based on parameters such as cost, performance, and available hardware. You can export a detailed or summary report to an Excel® spreadsheet and the topology diagram to a Visio® file.

The SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool eases the burden of greenfield deployment by letting you test a variety of circumstances to arrive at a reasonable starting configuration. Because you can also model an existing topology and run through various what-if scenarios, the tool is useful for exploring potential changes to existing deployments as well.

Peter Skjøtt Larsen is a Senior Product Manager on the Microsoft Solution Accelerator's team. He has been with Microsoft for four years, working with UNIX Migration and Communications and Collaboration.

Satish Mathew is a Program Manager on the Microsoft Solution Accelerator's team. He has been with Microsoft for almost five years, working first with the Windows PowerShell team before transitioning to his current team.

© 2008 Microsoft Corporation and CMP Media, LLC. All rights reserved; reproduction in part or in whole without permission is prohibited.