Computer Beginner Guide

Step by step guide to building, using, repairing, securing, optimizing computer

 

Understanding Site Collections

First and foremost, a site collection is a (hierarchically arranged) logical container for grouping sites. From there, you need to know that the top-level site in a site collection is often a portal site that aggregates content from subsites - although this isn’t required - and that a Web application can host multiple site collections.

The number of site collections you create depends on many factors. Every site in a collection shares navigation, security and permissions, templates, and content types. You should plan to group together sites that need to share these items and make them a site collection.

Before you create a site collection, gather several pieces of information - including these:

  • Path: You can determine the path to your site collection before you create it. The servername in the URL is determined by the Web application. Your two default options are to create the site collection at the root of the URL or at the sites path. Subsites are created below this URL.
  • Administrators: You need to choose primary and secondary administrators for the site collection.
  • Web application: You have to decide which Web application should host the site collection.
  • Site template: A site template is a boilerplate for creating SharePoint sites. When you create a site collection, you create the top-level site in the collection. You need to select the template for the top-level site. See the next section, “Configuring Web Applications and Site Collections.”
  • Quota: You may choose to select a quota that defines limits on the sizes of the sites created in the site collection.

To create a site collection, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Application Management tab in the SharePoint Central Administration site.
  2. Click the Create Site Collection link in the SharePoint Site Management section. The Create Site Collection page appears.
  3. Using the Web Application drop-down menu, select the application where you want to create the site collection. To create a site collection, follow these steps: Click the Application Management tab in the SharePoint Central Administration site. Click the Create Site Collection link in the SharePoint Site Management section. The Create Site Collection page appears. Using the Web Application drop-down menu, select the application where you want to create the site collection
  4. Type a title and description for the site collection.
  5. In the Web Site Address section, type a URL for accessing the top-level site in the site collection. Your default options are to use the root path, which is depicted by a forward slash (/), or to use the /sites path. You can add more paths as needed.
  6. Select a template to use for the top-level site in the site collection. Your template options depend on whether you’re using Windows SharePoint Services or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. WSS offers collaboration templates for small teams and project groups such as Team Site and Document Workspace. MOSS 2007 includes additional templates that are suitable for divisional portals and enterprise uses. Some MOSS 2007 site templates, such as those for collaboration and publishing portals, can only be used when you create the top-level site in a site collection. Any other site templates can be used to create sites within the site collection hierarchy.
  7. Type or select the primary and secondary site-collection administrators. The accounts you use here are from your authentication provider (for example, Active Directory). You should generally specify two site-collection administrators. Having a backup administrator ensures that administration e-mail doesn’t go unanswered in the event the primary administrator is on vacation.
  8. Select a quota template in the Quota Template section. See Chapter 18 for more information about using quota templates to monitor and control site usage.
  9. Click OK. The Operation in Progress page appears. Wait while the site collection is created. The operation can take a few minutes while the content is added to the database. The Top-Level Site Successfully Created page appears. The URL for the top-level site appears in the page. You can click the link to test the site. Click OK to return to the Application Management page.

Setting up Web Applications

You can create as many Web applications as you feel are necessary, but the big thing about creating different Web applications is that you can isolate site collections from each other. And why is isolation a good thing? Well, if each Web application has its own configuration, that means that you can then do the following:

  • Use different authentication. Giving each Web application its own authentication scheme means you can have one Web application for internal use and another for external access.
  • Use separate application pools. If you set it up so that each Web application uses its own application pool in Internet Information Services, you can keep the applications separate from each other on the server so they can’t corrupt each other.
  • Use separate databases. By using different databases for each Web application, you can isolate content for backup and restore operations.

To create a new Web application, follow these steps:

1. Click the Application Management tab in the SharePoint Central Administration site.

2. Click the Create or Extend Web Application link in the SharePoint Web Application Management section. The Create or Extend Web Application page appears. On this page, you have two options: Create a new Web application, or extend an existing one. These steps create a new one.

3. Click the Create a New Web Application link. The Create New Web Application page appears.

4. In the IIS Web Site section, accept the default option to Create a New IIS Web Site. Here’s a list of handy things to know about this option:

  • You can select the Use an Existing IIS Web Site option if you’ve already created the Web site with IIS. It’s best to let SharePoint handle the creation of Web sites in IIS.
  • The IIS Web Site section includes a default description and path. Accept these defaults unless you have a reason to change them.
  • You have the option to set the port that IIS uses to access the site. SharePoint randomly generates a number to use for the port. You may change it if you want. Just make sure the port number doesn’t conflict with any existing port numbers.
  • Be sure to set the port to 80 if you’re creating the primary content Web application. Otherwise, your users have to type the port every time they pull up the site in the browser.
  • Host headers are a new feature in this version of SharePoint; they allow you to map multiple domain names to a single Web site. Type the domain name you want to map to the Web application in the Host Header field.

5. In the Security Configuration section of the Create New Web Application page, select the default values unless your network administrator gives you different information. In this section, you have the choice to select your authentication provider.

The default option is NTLM (short for Windows NT LAN Manager, an authentication protocol used for Windows NT 4.0 networks). Kerberos is more secure, however, so be sure to check with your network administrator.

If you want your Web application to use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for an added layer of protection, you can enable that capability by selecting the Yes radio button for SSL. SSL encrypts data sent to and from the Web application.

6. Type a URL to use as the load-balanced URL. By default, the URL is the servername and port. The load-balanced URL is the domain that’s used in all the links that point to the Web application.

7. In the Application Pool section, accept the default option to create a new application pool. By creating a new application pool, you’re assured that your Web application is isolated from other Web applications on the server. If one crashes, yours won’t crash as well.

You want to enter a username and password for the application pool to use. The username and password that you enter here is the identity used by the application pool. Microsoft recommends that you use a unique domain account for each application pool you create. The application pool account has access to all the content in the Web application. See your network or security administrator for assistance with creating domain accounts.

8. In the Database Name and Authentication section, enter the name for the database server, database, and service account to use for database authentication.

The database server is the name of the server where your database is hosted. I suggest you give a meaningful name to the database itself. Using the same My Site example from Step 7, I append MySite to the database name so I can easily recognize the database.

If you want to use an existing database with your Web application, you need to extend an existing Web application. Refer to Step 2 for more information.

The default option for database authentication is Windows authentication. I suggest you use Windows authentication unless you have a specific need to use SQL authentication. There’s no reason to create a separate set of accounts in SQL Server to manage.

9. In the Search Server section, select a server to use as the search server for this Web application. If you’re using MOSS 2007, search is provided by the Office SharePoint Server Search shared service.

10. Click OK. The Operation in Progress page appears. Wait while the Web application is created. The Application Created page appears after the application is created. The application has no site collections, so a link is provided to create a new site collection.

After you create your Web application, you must create a site collection before you can pull it up in the browser via the URL. You can also see the content database created for the Web application in SQL Server Management Studio and the Web site in IIS Manager.

Performing Administrative Tasks

One feature of SharePoint is that you can use it to collaborate with members of a team to accomplish a project. I can’t think of a better project that requires collaboration among many parties than installing and configuring SharePoint. Apparently Microsoft agrees; it added an Administrator Tasks list to the Central Administration Web site.

By using the Administrator Tasks list, you get a feel for how you can use SharePoint to manage tasks.

Viewing administrative tasks

When you install SharePoint, SharePoint creates a list of administrative tasks that you need to complete if you want to configure SharePoint. You may not need to complete every single task, and you may need to complete additional tasks that aren’t listed.

The list of administrative tasks is just a list that Microsoft believes most installations need to complete. MOSS 2007 includes additional tasks that don’t apply to Windows SharePoint Services such as configured shared services. To view the Administrator Tasks list, browse to your Central Administration site.

If you aren’t sure of the URL for your Central Administration site, you can access a shortcut on the front-end SharePoint server by choosing Start => All Programs => Administrative Tools => SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration. The Administrator Tasks list appears on the home page of the Central Administration site.

If the list includes more tasks than what can appear on the home page, click the More Items link to view the entire list of tasks. To view a task in the Administrator Tasks list, click the hyperlinked task title. The task detail appears in the browser. Each task provides the following information:

  • Action: A hyperlink to the page in SharePoint’s Central Administration site where you perform the task described.
  • Associated Service: The service that’s involved with completing the task.
  • Description: A high-level description of the administrative task, its purpose, and the information you need to complete it.
  • Order: The relative order in which the tasks should be completed.
  • System Task: A Yes/No value indicating whether the task is associated with setting up the SharePoint system.

The Administrator Tasks list is based on a standard SharePoint Tasks list. As a result, the list includes all the standard Tasks columns such as Status, Due Date, % Complete, and Assigned To.

Assigning administrative tasks

You probably have multiple people assisting you with your SharePoint configuration. Rather than keeping track of who needs to do what, you can use the Administrative Tasks list to assign tasks to members of your team.

To assign a task to someone, follow these steps:

  1. Click the task’s hyperlinked title in the Administrative Tasks list on the Central Administration site’s home page. The task appears in the browser.
  2. Click the Edit Item button.
  3. In the Assigned To field, type the account name of the person you want to assign to the task.
  4. Set the task’s Start Date and Due Date.
  5. Click OK to save the record.

If you configured the outgoing e-mail service, the person to whom you assign the task to receives an e-mail notifying him or her of the task assignment. You can click the Outgoing e-mail settings link on the Operations page of the Central Administration site to configure outgoing e-mail. Windows SharePoint Services includes an administrator task for this action.

Completing administrative tasks

You can use the Administrator Tasks list in several ways. In a simple configuration, you may want to step through each of the tasks and complete the task as you go. In a more complex configuration, you may need to do more research before you can complete the configuration.

You should consider using the Status, Due Date, and % Complete fields to keep track of your progress. You also have the option of attaching a document to the task. This feature might be helpful if you want to create a support document that outlines your progress.

I suggest you use the Administrator Tasks list as a roadmap for getting started with configuring your SharePoint deployment. To complete tasks in the Administrator Tasks list, follow these steps:

  1. Click the hyperlinked title to view the task details.
  2. Read the task’s description to get a better understanding of the task.
  3. Click the Action link to go to the page in SharePoint’s Central Administration site where you perform the configuration task.
  4. Configure the administrative task. Don’t be afraid to peek at SharePoint’s administrative pages. If you’re unsure how to complete the task, you may click Cancel and return to the page later.

Configuring an administrative task doesn’t update the task’s status in the Administrative Tasks list. You must manually update the status of the task. To manually update a task’s status, follow these steps:

  1. Click the hyperlinked title to view the task’s details.
  2. Click the Edit Item button.
  3. Update the Status and % Complete fields.
  4. Click OK.

The list of Administrator Tasks that appears on the home page of the Central Administration site is displayed by using a Web part. (SharePoint uses Web parts to display modules of content on a page.)

You may want to remove this Web part after you finish completing the administrative tasks. You may also want to change the view displayed in the Administrative Tasks Web part.

Creating a Shared Services Provider

MOSS 2007 requires that you create and configure a Shared Services Provider (SSP). SSP enables the servers in your server farm to share services with each other.

Most of the great features that you want to use in MOSS 2007, such as personalization, Excel Services, and the Business Data Catalog, are hosted by the Shared Services Provider. You usually only need one SSP per server farm, but it is possible to have more than one.

Before you can create the SSP, you must create a Web application for the SSP administration site in Internet Information Services (IIS). To create the new Web application for the SSP administration site, follow these steps:

  1. Browse to the Central Administration Web site.
  2. Click the Application Management tab on the Central Administration home page.
  3. Click the Create or Extend Web Application link in the SharePoint Web Application Management section.
  4. Click the Create a New Web Application link.
  5. The Create a New Web Application page appears. Accept the default settings in the IIS Web site and the Security Configuration sections of the page. Check with your network administrator to ensure that your domain uses a standard security configuration. You may need to adjust these settings. In the Description field, you may choose to rename the administration site to something more descriptive, such as SharePoint - SSP Admin. The description you type appears in IIS Manager.
  6. Accept the default settings for Load Balanced URL and Application Pool sections. You may want to change the application pool name to match the description you enter in Step 5.
  7. In the User name and Password fields, enter the service account for the application pool to use.
  8. In the Reset Internet Information Services section, indicate whether to restart IIS automatically or manually. In order for the new Web application to be accessible, IIS must be restarted. You can elect to have SharePoint automatically restart IIS on all servers in the server farm, or you can restart the servers yourself. You might choose to restart the servers manually to minimize the disruption on users who may be accessing those servers.
  9. Verify that the correct database server name appears in the Database Name and Authentication section. You may want to change the name of the database to a friendlier name, such as WSS_Content_SSPAdmin. This makes it easier to identify the database’s purpose.
  10. Accept the default database authentication method of Windows authentication unless your database is configured to use SQL authentication.
  11. Accept the default value for the Search Server section.  If you’re using a stand-alone server, you don’t have the option to enter a different search server.
  12. Click OK. The Operation in Progress page appears.
  13. Wait while the server creates the new Web application. This process could take a while; the server has to create a new database on your database server and then set up a new Web application in IIS. The Application Created page appears if the database and Web application are created successfully. If the process fails, check the event logs in your database server and your IIS server for clues as to why the process failed.

One of the services provided by SSP is My Site personal sites, which provides each SharePoint user with a personal portal. I suggest you create a second Web application to use for your My Site personal sites.

It isn’t necessary to create a second Web application, but, by doing so, you isolate your My Site personal site content from your SSP content in separate applications and databases. This makes it easier to back up, restore, and move any My Site personal sites in the future. You can follow the steps you use to create a Web application for the SSP administration site to create the Web application for the My Site personal sites.

After you create Web applications to house your Shared Service Provider administrative site and My Site personal sites, you can create the SSP.

To create a Shared Services Provider, follow these steps:

  1. Browse to the Central Administration Web site.
  2. Click the Application Management tab on the Central Administration home page.
  3. Click the Create or Configure This Farm’s Shared Services link in the Office SharePoint Server Shared Services section. The Manage This Farm’s Shared Services page appears.
  4. Click the New SSP button. The New Shared Services Provider page appears.
  5. Accept the default name in the SSP Name section and then select the Web application you created as the SSP administration site.
  6. Select the Web application you created for your My Site personal sites in the My Site Location section.
  7. Type a username and password in the SSP Service Credentials section. You should use the same account you used for the SSP application pool account.
  8. Accept the default values in the SSP Database and Search Database sections.
  9. Select the front-end server you configured Search on from the Index Server drop-down list.
  10. Accept the default value for the SSL for Web Services section.
  11. Click OK. The Operation in Progress page appears.
  12. Wait while your databases are created. The Success! page appears when the SSP is created. Click OK.

Don’t let this Success message give you any false hopes. You still need to follow several more steps before you can actually start using your SharePoint implementation.

Configuring SharePoint Services

The SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard creates the database and gets your servers ready for serving SharePoint. Before you can actually start using SharePoint, however, you have to configure which services you want to run on hardware in your server farm.

The following two services must be configured first for MOSS 2007:

  • Office SharePoint Server Search: This service provides search and indexing features to your SharePoint implementation. You must implement the service on at least one front-end server.
  • Windows SharePoint Services Web Application: This service must run on any front-end server that you intend to use as a Web server that would serve up the Web pages for your SharePoint server.

For Windows SharePoint Server version 3 installations, you need only to start the Windows SharePoint Services Search service. To start a new service, follow these steps:

  1. Browse to the Central Administration Web site. The Central Administration site is hosted on the first machine on which you installed SharePoint. On that machine, choose Start→All Programs→Administrative Tools→SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.
  2. Click the Operations tab on the Central Administration home page.
  3. Click the Servers in Farm link in the Topology and Services section. The Servers in Farm page appears. The Servers in Farm page lists all the servers in your server farm. Use this page to manage all the servers in your server farm.
  4. Click the server you want to start services on. The Services on Server: Servername page appears, displaying a table of services that you may start or stop for the server you select. For example, click your front-end MOSS 2007 Web server if you want to start services such as Office SharePoint Server Search or Windows SharePoint Services Web Application.
  5. Click the Start or Stop hyperlink on the line of the service that you want to start or stop. MOSS 2007 displays a list of server roles, from which you can select. Selecting a role highlights the service you should enable on the server. If you’re using a stand-alone server, you can’t choose a role for the server.
  6. Configure the service if required. Some services, such as the Office SharePoint Server Search, require additional configuration information before the service can start.

You can view a list of all services running on the servers in your server farm on the Servers in Farm page. Follow the first three preceding steps to access the Servers in Farm page.

Creating the Server Farm

When you create a server farm, you usually build your back-end servers before you build your front-end servers. For example, you install your databases on your database server before you install your front-end servers.

Regardless of how you divvy up the servers, the first step in any server farm installation is planning. You need to plan how many servers you need and what services are going to be installed on each.

Here’s the general procedure for creating a SharePoint server farm:

  1. Plan your server farm. You must determine your server topology before you start installing software. (A topology is a fancy word that defines how many servers you’re planning to deploy.) If you’re unsure, you could start with the minimum two servers and scale up as needs require.
  2. Procure all the hardware and software required based on your plan.
  3. Prepare each of your servers for installation. You want to start with clean servers running Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1.
  4. Create service accounts for installing and running SharePoint. You need security accounts to install and configure SharePoint. The accounts you provide are used by SharePoint’s services to run on the server.
  5. Install SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2000 on your back-end database servers. The SharePoint installation installs the databases on the database server, so you must have your database servers installed first. Note that your back-end database server may actually be a cluster of database servers, depending on how you choose to configure. You likely want to include your database administrator in this process. Your database administrator may also choose to create the SharePoint databases in advance. If you’re using SQL Server 2005, be sure to run the SQL Server Surface Area Configuration tool and then enable TCP/IP and named pipes for local and remote connections.
  6. Install SharePoint on each of your front-end servers. Use the Advanced installation option on the Choose the Installation You Want page. On the Server Type tab, select the Complete option to install all SharePoint components on the front-end server. By installing all components, you can run the server as both a Web and an application server. If you want to run the server only as a Web server, select the Web Front End option. Windows SharePoint Services only includes options for Web Front End and Stand-alone. There are no other applications to install on the server for WSS. MOSS installs services such as InfoPath Forms Services and Excel Services. You can use the Stand-alone option to install SharePoint on a single server.
  7. Run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard to complete the installation. You have the option to run the configuration wizard after the installation wizard completes. You can run the wizard any time by choosing Start => Administrative Tools => SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard. Use the wizard to create a new server farm or connect to an existing farm. When you run the wizard on the first front-end server on your farm, choose to create a new server farm. When you add front-end servers, choose to connect to the existing farm.  The configuration wizard installs the database, Office SharePoint services, and the SharePoint Central Administration Web site. You must specify the name of the database server so the wizard knows where to create the database. The first front-end server you create must host the SharePoint Central Administration Web Application. Central Administration launches after the configuration wizard completes.
  8. Using the Central Administration Web site, enable and disable the services you want to run on each application and front-end servers. You configure all the settings for the SharePoint server farm using the Central Administration Web site.

The preceding steps walk you through the basic steps to install SharePoint. But installing SharePoint isn’t the same as deploying SharePoint. To complete your deployment, you must go through many more steps.

Installing SharePoint for the Real World

Unless your organization is especially small, you can’t get away with running SharePoint on a single server. Instead, you have to use multiple servers. When you use multiple servers to run an application, it’s called a server farm. You don’t have to start with a large farm because you can scale up by adding more servers as your needs require.

A server farm consists of multiple servers that work together to provide the SharePoint experience. Companies often find it necessary to span services across multiple servers to provide the performance and availability their organization requires.

Server farms are made up of physical servers that run logical services. The physical servers are the computer hardware that you can touch. The logical services are the applications that run on the physical servers. In many cases, your physical servers pull double and triple duty by running multiple logical services.

A minimum SharePoint installation usually has the following two physical servers:

  • A front-end server that serves Web pages and other SharePoint services such as search and Excel Services.
  • A back-end server where the database is stored. All the content displayed in SharePoint’s Web pages is stored in databases.

The distinction between physical servers and logical services is important. SharePoint requires a dozen or so logical services to run. That doesn’t mean you need a dozen servers.

Some of these services run on front-end servers, and others run on back-end servers. (A server’s designation as front-end or back-end is based on the logical services it provides. A back-end server provides some kind of service that the front-end server requires in order to function. A front-end server provides services directly to end users.)

Logical services are installed on one or more physical servers. The logical services running on a physical server determines the role of the server in the server farm. For example, the server running the database is often called the database server.

A database server is back-end because it provides data to front-end Web servers. Typically, an installation has at least two physical servers - an application server and a database server. The application server hosts all of SharePoint’s applications and serves Web pages to end users.

The number and kind of servers you deploy depend on many factors including the number of users, the volume of data, and your requirements for performance and availability. If you have lots of users accessing a relatively low volume of data, then you may decide to add Web servers.

Alternatively, if your deployment is data heavy, then you may deploy additional database servers. If you’re making extensive usage of Excel Services or InfoPath Forms Services, you may need to deploy separate application servers to host those services.

Accessing SharePoint’s Administrative Pages

Administrators most often access SharePoint using a browser application such as Internet Explorer. When you install SharePoint, the application creates administrative Web sites that you use to administer SharePoint.

Before you can access SharePoint via the browser, however, you have to follow a few steps to configure your browser. These steps are also necessary for your end users to access SharePoint using Internet Explorer at their desktops.

Browsers, such as Internet Explorer, are mostly used for accessing content from the Internet. As such, they’re configured by default to strictly limit the extent to which you can interact with the Web sites. When you want to use internal sites, such as SharePoint, you must configure Internet Explorer so that it isn’t so strict.

In order to access SharePoint with Internet Explorer, you must do three things, in this order:

  1. Add SharePoint’s Web applications to the list of trusted sites in Internet Explorer.
  2. Verify that the security level is set at the proper level for the Trusted Sites zone.
  3. Configure your browser to bypass a proxy server.

Internet Explorer uses security zones to organize Web sites as well as apply security levels to said sites. By default, all Web sites are in the Internet zone, which has a medium level of security. Although you can access SharePoint from this zone, you receive more prompts when doing so.

For this reason, I recommend that you add SharePoint to the Trusted Sites zone. Sites in the Trusted Sites zone have a low level of security - which means you don’t have to jump through so many hoops to gain access to them.

To add SharePoint to the Trusted Sites zone in SharePoint, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Tools => Internet Options in Internet Explorer. The Options dialog box appears onscreen.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Click the Trusted Sites icon.
  4. Click the Sites button. A list of trusted Web sites appears.
  5. Clear the check box next to Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone. You can enable encryption using a technology called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which would require users to access sites using the HTTPS protocol. A server or network administrator can determine the best approach for encryption.
  6. Type or paste the URL for the SharePoint site in the Add This Web Site to the Zone field.
  7. Click Add.
  8. Click the Close button to close the dialog box and then click OK to close the Options dialog box.

If you’re opening SharePoint on a computer running Windows Server 2003, you’ll likely encounter a message from Internet Explorer’s Enhanced Security Configuration. On servers, Internet Explorer is locked down even more than on clients.

When you attempt to access SharePoint on a server, you’re immediately prompted to add the site to the Trusted Sites zone. Don’t ignore this prompt! You must add the site to the Trusted Sites zone; if you don’t, you’ll be denied access. Click the Add button on the Warning dialog box.

You may also want to configure Internet Explorer so that it doesn’t prompt you for a username and password. Instead, Internet Explorer can use the username and password that you use to log into the network. The upcoming steps show you how you can set this value as part of the security level for the Trusted Sites zone.

  1. Choose Tools => Internet Options in Internet Explorer. The Options dialog box makes another appearance.
  2. Click the Security tab and then click the Trusted Sites icon.
  3. Click the Custom Level button. The Security Settings dialog box opens.
  4. Scroll down to the User Authentication section and select the Automatic Logon with Current Username and Password radio button.
  5. Click OK to close the dialog box and then click OK on the Options dialog box.

If your company uses a proxy server to access the Internet, you may need to configure Internet Explorer to bypass the server for local addresses. Otherwise, the browser attempts to detect the settings, which can slow down access to SharePoint.

To configure Internet Explorer to bypass the server for local addresses

  1. Choose Tools => Internet Options in Internet Explorer.
  2. Click the Connections tab.
  3. Click the LAN Settings button. The Local Area Network (LAN) Settings dialog box appears.
  4. Place a check mark next to Use a proxy server for your LAN.
  5. Select the Bypass Proxy Server for Local Addresses check box.
  6. Click OK and then click OK again to close the Options dialog box.

Creating an Evaluation Server

For evaluation purposes, you may choose to install SharePoint on a single server. You can even use SharePoint in a very limited capacity in production on a single server - although, admittedly, that’s rather unlikely. (For the sake of argument, though, imagine using SharePoint for a single department - in that situation, a single-server installation may be appropriate.)

You can use the steps in this section to install either Windows SharePoint Services or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. The installations are very similar for a single-server installation.

Your server needs to meet these minimum hardware requirements in order to install SharePoint:

  • Dual-processor computer with at least 2.5 GHz processors.
  • Minimum 1GB of RAM, but 2GB of RAM is recommended.

If you intend to run SharePoint on multiple servers, you may need to beef up hardware on each server. Microsoft recommends 4GB for MOSS 2007 application servers. Hardware requirements for the database server depend on which edition of SQL Server you install. For more details, see the topic “Determine hardware and software requirements” in the MOSS 2007 TechNet library.

As with any server application, you need to prepare your server before you begin installation of SharePoint. You should start with a clean server - a server with a freshly installed Windows Server 2003 operating system - otherwise, you may have unexpected results.

Also make sure, before you start, that your server meets the minimum hardware requirements (as described in the preceding section). Windows SharePoint Services version 3 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 take advantage of many new technologies.

These technologies have been retrofitted to work with technologies already existing at the time of SharePoint’s release. At the time of SharePoint’s release, the latest release of Windows Server is Windows Server 2003 R2. Version 3.0 of the .NET Framework was released around the time as SharePoint.

SharePoint needs both version 2.0 and version 3.0 of .NET. In order for SharePoint to work with these technologies, a number of prerequisite technologies must be installed.

The following instructions assume you’re going to install SharePoint on a server running Windows Server 2003. The next version of Windows Server after the 2003 version is code-named Windows Server Longhorn.

Longhorn Server, as it is often called, likely has the official name “Windows Server 2007.” This version of Windows Server likely has all the prerequisites you need to install SharePoint. Therefore, your only preparation step is to install Windows Server 2007 on the server.

Preparing a Windows Server 2003 server for SharePoint installation requires many steps. If you’ve never configured a Windows server, then you may need to get someone with technical experience to help you.

The details of all thirty-plus tasks required to prepare a Windows Server 2003 server to install SharePoint are beyond the scope of this post, but here’s a high-level overview of the procedure:

  1. Install Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 on a clean server. You can use any edition of Windows Server 2003 except Web Edition. You could install SharePoint on a domain controller, but it’s generally not recommended.
  2. Using the Manage Your Server window, add the Application Server role to your Windows Server 2003. The Manage Your Server window usually appears automatically when you log on to a server running Windows 2003. You can open the Manage Your Server window by choosing All Programs => Administrative Tools => Manage Your Server. In the Manage Your Server window, you click the Add or Remove a Role link to launch the Configure Your Server Wizard. Then you step through the wizard to add the Application Server role to your server. The wizard installs Internet Information Services (IIS) on your server, which turns it into a Web server. The Application Server role appears in the Manage Your Server window.
  3. Download and install version 3.0 of the .NET Framework.
  4. Enable ASP.NET 2.0 in the IIS Manager. Version 2.0 of ASP.NET installs with the .NET Framework. You must enable IIS to use ASP.NET. Choose Start => All Programs => Administrative Tools => Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager. Enable ASP.NET 2.0 in the Web Service Extensions folder.

To install Windows SharePoint Services or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 on a single server, follow these steps:

  1. Double-click the Setup.exe file to start the installation. If you download Windows SharePoint Services from Microsoft’s Web site, you can double-click the SharePoint.exe file that downloads from their site.
  2. If you’re installing MOSS 2007, enter your Product Key and click the Continue button.
  3. Read the licensing agreement and select the check box if you accept the terms of the agreement. Click the Continue button.
  4. Click the Basic button on the Choose the Installation You Want page.
  5. In the setup window - after the installation process completes - select the Run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard check box and then click the Close button. The Installation wizard closes, and the Configuration wizard opens.
  6. Click Next to start the Configuration wizard. The wizard displays a dialog box notifying you that it must stop several services before starting the wizard.
  7. Click Yes to confirm that the wizard can stop SharePoint services. The wizard steps through ten tasks that automatically configure SharePoint, such as creating databases and sample content.
  8. After the configuration is complete, click the Finish button to exit the wizard.  The home page of your SharePoint Web application appears in the browser.

You see several prompts when SharePoint opens in the browser for the first time. Several configuration and administrative tasks must still be completed before you can start using SharePoint.

Installing SharePoint

Just so you know the real lay of the land out there, installing SharePoint means making your way through eight (count ’em, eight) high-level steps in order to get SharePoint set up. Not only that, to progress through these steps, you’re going to need the cooperation of many people.

Note that these steps just cover the installation of SharePoint. After you complete these steps, you have a functioning SharePoint installation - nice job! - but you can’t afford to rest on your laurels yet. You still have to implement SharePoint.

But first, here’s my list of eight high-level steps you’ll be facing:

1. Planning your installation.

The planning process requires you to identify how many users you have and how you expect them to use SharePoint. You have to think about how critical SharePoint is for your organization so you can plan how much redundancy to put into your installation.

2. Building and preparing your servers.

Microsoft recommends that you use at least two servers for SharePoint. You may find you need to use three or four servers to provide the level of redundancy and availability that your organization requires.

3. Installing SharePoint on your servers and running the SharePoint Configuration Wizard on each server.

You must install SharePoint on each server and run a wizard to configure SharePoint on the server.

4. Enabling SharePoint services on your servers.

The services you run on your server determine the server’s role in your SharePoint installation. For example, you may have one server dedicated to serving Web pages and another to running databases.

5. Creating Web applications for administrative and content sites.

You must create Web applications to store the Web pages for SharePoint’s administrative sites and for the content sites that your end users will access. You determine the number of Web applications to create based on your planning.

6. Creating the Shared Services Provider (SSP) for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS).

If you’re installing MOSS 2007, you must enable a special feature in MOSS called Shared Services Provider. The SSP makes it possible to share the SharePoint services across servers.

7. Configuring content sites and site collections.

You have to create containers - structures such as sites - to store your site’s content. A small-to-medium size company may have only one content site and site collection. A larger organization may choose to create separate site collections for each division in the company.

8. Completing post-installation steps.

A number of services must be configured and administrative tasks must be completed before your SharePoint installation is fully operational.