The Customer Requirement

Fuse Collaboration was approached to deliver an end-to-end SharePoint 2007 farm solution, from hardware installation, to production support, at the UK headquarters of a large defence manufacturer.

Initially supporting some 400 team-based workers, this model of MOSS farm could support a wide range of organisations, providing both high performance and availability. This is how we built the farm, and how the customer used the new features.

Hardware Installed

 
  • 2 x Dell PowerEdge 2950, with Windows 2003 x64 R2 Enterprise Edition
  • 3 x Dell PowerEdge 2950, with Windows 2003 x64 R2 Standard Edition
  • 1 x Dell PowerEdge 1950, with Windows 2003 x64 R2 Standard Edition
  • 1 x Dell/EMC AX150 Fibre SAN
  • 1 x Dell PowerVault TL4000 Automated Fibre Channel Tape Library
  • 1 x Brocade Fibre Channel Switch
  • 1 x APC Smart-UPS RT 10,000VA (Rack backup power)
  • 1 x APC APC Smart-UPS 750VA (SAN backup power)
  • 2 x Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Network Switches
  • 1 x Dell Rack console/KVM module
  • 1 x Dell 42U Rack
 

Software Installed

 
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 Standard and Enterprise editions (SP2)
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (SP1)
  • Microsoft Project Server 2007 (SP1)
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 x64 Standard edition - Database Engine,
  • Reporting Services, Analysis Services, Enterprise Manager
  • Microsoft System Centre Operations Manager 2007 (SP1)
  • Symantec Backup Exec 11.d with MOSS and SQL Agents
  • McAfee VirusScan Enterprise and Portalshield
  • EMC PowerPath HBA Multipath Management
 

Installation Process

All of the hardware and software were supplied directly from Dell to Citric’s specification. We then proceeded to rack all of the hardware, paying particular attention to the redundancy paths for the network and fibre connections. Once racked, we installed all of the operating system software, updating it as far as possible before joining the domain and creating the SQL cluster on the SAN. Finally we installed the application software, creating a medium-sized farm configuration in MOSS, and then adding the support software, which included Antivirus, Backup and management products.
 

Configuration of MOSS

Most of the users at this site are heavy users of IT, working in small teams on design projects. MOSS would be used to replace an existing SharePoint 2001 document management solution, as well as several other in-house applications and the site intranet. To meet these requirements, we configured a central collaboration portal, beneath which were team collaboration sites for each project, and department level sites. Project Server and Reporting Services were also configured to provide additional functionality to the farm.
 

Availability/Recovery

Due to the business critical nature of the project work being conducted within MOSS, it was essential to ensure the farm could survive the failure of a component, server or connection.
 
We achieved this by using three strategies:
 
  1. The servers were configured with redundant components, i.e. RAID for internal storage, multiple network cards for each connection, 2 PSUs etc.  
  2. Each one of a pair of connections, whether fibre or network, was connected to different end point, ensuring that if a switch or storage processor went down, the connection was still available.
  3. Essential Services were either clustered or load balanced, so that maintenance could be carried out on a server without bringing down the farm
 
A large 10,000 VA UPS provides power for the rack in case of a grid failure, whilst a smaller 750 VA unit provides dedicated power to the SAN to ensure the servers are safely powered down before the SAN in the event of a long-term power failure. Microsoft System Centre Operations Manager monitors all the servers in the rack and the wider domain environment, to provide performance alerts to IT staff before they become an issue to end users. The use of Symantec Backup Exec with the MOSS 2007 agent ensures that document-level recovery can occur, whilst the automated tape library manages an otherwise complex backup schedule without user intervention.
 

Performance

By deploying MOSS to a dedicated SAN-based SQL cluster, using highly expandable servers for the farm base, the customer has gained a high performance infrastructure that should meet their needs for a long time to come. However, should their use of MOSS suddenly accelerate, the farm can be easily expanded in three key areas:
 
  1. Server Scale Up: All of the servers currently have 4GB RAM. Because all of the servers are using 64bit OSs, this can be expanded to a maximum 32GB RAM per server, which would offer a significant performance increase to the SQL servers in particular. On-board storage can also be increased by adding up to 4 additional disks per server.
  2. Server Scale Out: Additional servers can be added to the farm to decrease the load on the existing servers. This is of particular benefit at the web front end level. These servers can either be physical servers, utilising the 10U of rack space remaining, or virtual servers, using a hypervisor cluster of two high performance servers.
  3. Storage Scale Up: The SAN disks currently have around 3TB of unused space, whilst the switch has a number of ports free. A second SAN could be added to the switch, another SQL cluster added to the SAN, or another enclosure added to the existing SAN.
Operations Manager can be used to monitor aspects of the farm’s performance, and decide where best to target resources for expansion.
 

Support

Fuse Collaboration deployed the farm working alongside the customer’s internal IT staff, ensuring our knowledge was shared and the IT department felt comfortable supporting the new technology. We return on a regular basis to implement new features, and overcome the inevitable teething problems of any large system.
 

Software Licensing

Licences were bought under the customer’s existing Enterprise agreement, but as a guide, the following licences would be required:
 


 

  • 4 x Windows Server 2003 Standard
  • 2 x Windows Server 2003 Enterprise 
  • 2 x Project Server 2007 Licence 
  • Processor licences for SQL Server 2005 (min 2) 
  • 3 x MOSS 2007 Server licences 
  • MOSS 2007 standard client access licences (CALs) for each named user OR Core CALs 
  • MOSS 2007 enterprise CALs if needed (in addition to above) 
  • Project Server Professional OR Project Server CAL per Project user 
  • 1 x Symantec Backup Exec 11.d Server Licence, plus additional keys for MOSS and SQL 
  • 1 x McAfee PortalShield, 6 x McAfee Antivirus Enterprise nodes 
  • 1 x System Center Operations Manager Server Licence, min 5 OMLs

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