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How simple planning can prevent common SharePoint deployment snags

I'm thinking about a new SharePoint deployment in my organization. What are the biggest problems I need to watch out for?

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The most common problems with new SharePoint deployments stem from a lack of planning. It's possible to install most applications and immediately begin using them, but this isn't really the case with SharePoint.

Even though SharePoint is technically an application, it's better described as an application framework. SharePoint isn't something you should simply install and then allow users to immediately begin using -- you'll most likely have problems if you do.

What kinds of problems occur as a result of poor or insufficient planning, and more importantly, what can you do about them?

Most problems with SharePoint deployments generally fall into two categories -- infrastructure and governance.

Infrastructure problems occur because of either not understanding how SharePoint works or cutting corners to save time or reduce deployment costs. These types of problems aren't usually felt until weeks or even months after the deployment completes.

Some infrastructure-related problems include performance issues, lack of fault tolerance and insufficient storage. Adjusting SharePoint's configuration can sometimes resolve problems, but the fix often requires extensive effort.

The other big problem that results from insufficient planning is governance. SharePoint is a framework. Like any other framework, rules must be put into place to control its use.

SharePoint administrators must create rules to deal with policies, like who's allowed to create sites and site collections, how long documents in libraries will be retained or who will be allowed to perform e-discovery. Without a firm governance policy in place or controls to enforce that policy, it won't be long before the SharePoint deployment becomes unwieldy and extremely difficult to manage.

The worst configuration mistake an administrator can make in SharePoint deployments is to set SharePoint up as a standalone server rather than a farm. Standalone deployments are slightly easier to perform, but that completely eliminates the ability to scale up your SharePoint deployment to meet future needs.

About the author
Brien Posey is an eight-time Microsoft MVP for his work with Windows Server, IIS, Exchange Server and file system storage technologies. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and health care facilities, and was once responsible for IT operations at Fort Knox. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the nation's largest insurance companies.

This was first published in October 2013

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