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.