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Office SharePoint Server at Microsoft: 12TB and counting

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Scott St. Jean is a program manager in Microsoft IT. He makes sure that the largest SharePoint installation in the world keeps working. Mark Swenson is also a program manager in Microsoft IT. His job is making sure that our intranet search is working, including things like making sure people can't find documents that they shouldn't have rights to.

I sat down with them to talk about what it takes to migrate, and index, and upgrade 12 terabytes of data to the latest version. If that wasn’t challenging enough, they started working with the products before they were the latest version, when they were still under development. Their experience shook out a lot of bugs that were addressed before the real world had to deal with them.

In addition to deployment and migration, we chatted about the backup and restore procedures for this multiple terabyte installation, and what happens when you tell everyone in the org to go ahead and create their own SharePoint sites. (in an outtake that I, um, took out, I asked the guys for their picks for the SuperBowl, and got one of the team names wrong. minus 100 cool points for me)


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  • Joshua RossJoshRoss Drinking Ovaltine since 2004
    Scott or Mark, did you choose to manage the all this SharePoint stuff or were you stuck with it? It doesn't seem like any of it makes you express any form of enthusiasm. What features would make your job fun? When is the last time you gave a High-Five? Why would any of us want to setup SharePoint? It seems as if backing-up several TB, or at least the idea, is the best part of the job. I've started installing a test version of SharePoint and it is not an application that runs out-of-the-box. I *wish* this was more the case, as it still does not work. Maybe I will look at it again, when I have a few weeks of free time.
  • Very objective interview.  Thanks for sharing bckp product you're using, cost per ticket, etc!
  • SharePoint is the best product I have ever worked with.
  • Wayne TaylorRamblingGeek​UK Backup People!
    Is SharePoint a free product?
  • SharePoint Portal Server 2003 (SPS 2003), or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007)are not.

    However, Widnows SharePoint Services (WSS 2.0 and WSS 3.0) that is what portal and server products are built on, just adding additional features, are. Free as in you need to have Windows Server 2003, so if you have that WSS is free.

    Of course you can get a full evaluation version as well

  • Wayne TaylorRamblingGeek​UK Backup People!
    Right Ok. Thanks for the feed back. I've be playing around with sharepoint services (I think) which come part of SBS 2003.
  • BluePhazeBluePhaze Live, Love, Code, Game, Rock, Rinse, Repeat...

    What did not work for you out of the box with SharePoint? There is a lot more to setup than just running the installer. Have you tried following any of the online documentation? I work on SharePoint 2003 and MOSS everyday and very rarely does it not work at the end of a setup. Those that have failed for me usually are tied to permissions issues with the service account or database permissions. Cool

  • Speaking of installing SharePoint.  Is there a command line installer or command line install options.  I’ve been playing with stsadm.exe and found to easy to set up new sites and security but would really like to be able to script an entire install.

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