Your new or upgraded SharePoint Server 2007 solution will depend on many pieces of IT infrastructure. Most of these will be covered here, but there is always the possibility your unique implementation, such as Line-of-Business (LOB) system integration, will require additional components.
SharePoint Server 2007 can be installed on Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 or higher. Installing all updates prior to installing SharePoint Server 2007 is recommended.
Most SharePoint Server 2007 implementations will use Active Directory for authentication. This arrangement is fairly straightforward, and most administrators will find it simple to use. Be sparing when using Active Directory groups exclusively to authenticate SharePoint Server 2007 users, otherwise certain features such as Task Lists and Contacts might not function as desired. SharePoint 2007 provides a new list view called By My Groups, but users might overlook that functionality.
There is a second method to authenticate against an Active Directory, and it is often used by Internet service providers. Active Directory account creation mode is selected during the initial installation of SharePoint Server 2007 and cannot be reversed. When a user account is created in SharePoint Server 2007, an account is also created in Active Directory. Although this approach works fine for ISPs whose Active Directory is single-use, it is unfavorable for most organizations with an existing Active Directory. Unlike its predecessor, SharePoint Server 2007 does not require Active Directory. It can authenticate access against local system accounts or external data sources using pluggable authentication. This functionality is acceptable in a workgroup environment or implementations with extranet accounts.
Domain Name System (DNS) will play a small but critical role in your SharePoint Server 2007 deployment. If you are not the DNS administrator in your organization, be sure to include the administrator in the very early stages of your design. In a single-server installation, you need a single entry (A record or CNAME) for your server name. In a load-balanced deployment, you will need a CNAME record for the cluster node IP address, as well as for each individual network interface card IP address.
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Many implementations will have Internet-facing servers publishing the same data with different security controls in place. As a security best practice, it is important to publish only the external IP addresses in DNS and not the intranet addresses.
To use alerting, discussion groups, and other functionality of SharePoint Server 2007, you need to have an e-mail server correctly configured for SharePoint Server 2007. SharePoint Server 2007 provides the ability to allow inbound mail to document libraries and discussions. Correct functionality requires the following minimum configuration:
SMTP relaying SharePoint Server 2007 cannot authenticate to an outbound Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) connection. Your SMTP solution must allow relaying based on an IP address.
Single SMTP host SharePoint Server 2007 does not provide a method to use multiple SMTP servers. Large organizations can implement round-robin DNS for SMTP high-availability.
Any SMTP server can be used to send and receive e-mail for a SharePoint Server 2007 implementation. Check with your e-mail administrator for further details.
SharePoint Server 2007 is heavily dependent on a well-running SQL Server back end. Except in the most limited deployments, you should not use SQL Express for your long-term database solution. SQL Server hosts the content and configuration databases, forming the foundation to SharePoint Server 2007.
Carefully plan your SQL Server installation to provide the level of service required by your SharePoint Server 2007 deployment. Although SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 3a (SP3a) or later will support SharePoint Server 2007, SQL Server 2005 will give a definite performance increase and has an improved feature set, including enhanced transaction log shipping and database mirroring. In addition, some of the Business Intelligence (BI) features in the Excel Calculation Services require SQL Server 2005.
Because there are many possible SQL Server configurations, it is wise to include your SQL database administrator (DBA) from the very beginning. The simplest configuration is a standalone Microsoft SQL Server for SharePoint Server 2007. Although this is an acceptable solution for organizations that are already using Microsoft SQL Server, it doesn't provide fault tolerance. Configurations based on a single SQL Server will not function if a SQL Server failure happens. If availability or performance requirements introduce multiple Web front-ends, it is time to consider a clustered SQL Server back end.
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You can find more information about high-availability SQL Server solutions at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/technologies/highavailability/default.mspx.