In creating SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft developed an excellent enterprise architecture plan. This plan, although seemingly complex, has the following main concepts built into it.
The 2007 Microsoft Office system runs in the existing Microsoft Windows 2003 environment because it is designed with minimal dependence on any specific version of the Windows operating system. The Microsoft Office system is organized into independent and encapsulated services that are connected through a set of standards and rules known as the provider framework. To make administration, support, organization, and deployment easier, these services have been organized into the applications associated with the Microsoft Office system, including SharePoint Server 2007.
The SharePoint Server 2007 architecture also provides you with the ability to extend its capabilities and services without disrupting the core software platform. An example of this is Microsoft Office Project Server 2007. When installed, Project Server 2007 provides project teams with all the services they need to implement project management methods in the enterprise. Rather than create a competing and largely incompatible enterprise project management tool, Microsoft created a modular application that extends the capabilities of SharePoint Server 2007 to meet the demands of project management.
Possibly the most meaningful advancement in SharePoint Server 2007 is its ability to scale. Need greater user interface capacity? Just add more first-tier Web servers. Need greater shared services capacity? Just add more second-tier application servers. Need to handle larger databases? Just add more third-tier database servers. SharePoint Server 2007 offers flexible and unlimited scalability in any tier of the architecture, without requiring a redesign and redeployment of the other two tiers.
Its scalability includes giving you the ability to scale out the SharePoint Server 2007 services as well. If you have a need to crawl and index large volumes of information, you can scale out the number of search servers to accommodate your needs. If user demand is very high for queries of your index, install more index servers. If your Excel calculation needs are high, consider installing more than one Excel Calculation server. SharePoint Server 2007 is scalable in any manner you want so that you can create any topology configuration that meets your needs and can adapt as those needs change.
The architecture of SharePoint Server 2007 has been created to provide separation between the concerns and operation of the various architecture layers. In other words, the entire three-tier environment can be deployed to a single server or it can be deployed to any number of Web servers, application servers, and database servers, and in any combination. The SharePoint Server 2007 logical architecture is not tied to any particular physical deployment architecture because the various aspects of the architecture have been separated from each other. They are not intertwined in a manner that dictates how they are deployed, which frees administrators to make capacity planning, business continuity, and deployment decisions that are driven by the needs of the business organization and not by the constraints of the software.