Managing Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Deployments

Here's a way of assessing and managing rogue SharePoint deployments in the enterprise.

ORLANDO, Fla.-Microsoft is currently testing a new SharePoint server inventory assessment tool to help IT administrators get control of their environments.

IT administrators are often responsible for ensuring that SharePoint sites comply with both internal company policies and external regulations, but this can be difficult to do given that the product is easily deployed, even at the department level, if for no other reason than it is included automatically with Windows Server 2003.

Speaking at Microsoft's TechEd here, Group Program Manager for Solution Accelerators Luis Camara Manoel said his group has created tools to help IT administrators get a handle on SharePoint deployments, assess and monitor their health and capacity utilization, and achieve corporatewide standardization.

"We want to take it towards this nirvana of a managed and monitored solution where SharePoint doesn't introduce surprises for your IT department," Manoel said.

How critical is this issue? According to Manoel, the number of SharePoint sites at a large airplane manufacturer located in the Pacific Northwest (care to guess what company that could be?) is growing by 300 sites per week.

"Imagine what that's going to do to storage, capacity [and] bandwidth," he said.

Jeff Raikes, former president of Microsoft's business division, predicted in October 2007 that SharePoint would be the "sleeper" hit of the huge rollout of products in 2007.

During a speech about SharePoint 2007 at Microsoft's Convergence conference in Copenhagen in October 2007, Raikes said:

"SharePoint is perhaps the sleeper of the latest release of the Office System. It's become the hot topic with our customers as they see how much value it delivers in document management, in enterprise search, in electronic forms, in workflow, in Excel services for business intelligence. We invested in SharePoint for you so that SharePoint can become a platform for how you interoperate with business information and business process."

The speed of SharePoint adoption is one issue; the fact that sites are often launched without IT's knowledge makes them impossible to manage remotely. "There's no way because you have no visibility as to where they are-there's no way to monitor that which you do not know exists," Manoel said.

Microsoft is offering IT administrators four tools as part of its solutions acceleration program that are intended to help manage those sprawling SharePoint farms.