Why You Don't Want to Administer the SharePoint Farm - dummies

Why You Don’t Want to Administer the SharePoint Farm

By Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

SharePoint Online farm administration is not for the faint of heart. If you look at the list of typical SharePoint farm administration tasks, your eyes will probably glaze over. In Office 365, Microsoft manages SharePoint farm-level administration. This is the value of having SharePoint Online as a service hosted in the cloud. In a sense, “putting up the farm” in SharePoint is a risk-free exercise.

The following list covers the SharePoint farm administration tasks:

  • Backup and recovery: A backup is a copy of a set of data as insurance in case of system failure. You use a backup to restore and recover lost data. Recovery in SharePoint farms enables administrators to quickly restore the farm in the event of a disaster.

  • Database management: This administration task includes adding, attaching or detaching, and moving content databases, moving a site collection between databases, and renaming or moving service application databases.

  • Security and permissions: Your organization’s SharePoint sites most likely will contain data that you don’t want to be publicly available. To restrict access, security and permissions need to be configured. At the highest level, this configuration is done in a SharePoint farm.

  • Service application and service management: When resources are shared across a SharePoint farm, service applications are deployed. Services that are deployed are named service applications. Service applications are tied to web applications by service application connections. Some services can be shared across farms.

  • Web application management: In order to create a site collection, such as My Site, a web application must be created first. A web application isolates a site’s content database from another. It also defines the authentication method for connecting to the database.

  • Health monitoring: As with any IT systems, it is important to monitor how the SharePoint server system is running in order to determine issues, analyze problems, and repair those problems. The monitoring feature in SharePoint collects data in a log, which in turn is used to create health reports, web analytics reports, and administrative reports.

  • Farm administration settings management: Configuring and customizing the default SharePoint farm settings are part of the farm administration settings management tasks. In addition, these tasks include enabling some key features that are turned off at the initial installation, such as diagnostic logging, e-mail integration, and mobile account connections.

  • Farm topology management: At some point, a SharePoint farm will need to be updated to address current needs. Farm topology management tasks include adding or removing a web or application server, adding a database, renaming a server, and managing the search topology.