Reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) is the goal of any organization. SharePoint Server 2007 has several new features to lower TCO when organizing and managing content. Use this section as a guide for designing new or upgraded installations of SharePoint services.
With the highly anticipated features released in SharePoint Server 2007, many organizations will consolidate document libraries, lists, site collections, subsites, and even entire portals. The following sections present ideas for consolidating content when upgrading from SharePoint Services 2003 and migrating from other platforms such as Exchange Public Folders, file shares and third-party document management systems.
SharePoint Services 2003 allowed a single content type per document library. This limitation necessitated many top-level document libraries to handle multiple types of metadata associated with documents. Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 native functionality allows several content types and predefined templates in a single document library. This functionality can give you and your site administrators the ability to group content by business, security, and other organizational requirements.
One of the most exciting enhancements to SharePoint Server 2007 is the ability to have granular permissions-similar to NTFS permissions-on any document, document library, or list. In SharePoint Portal Server 2003, many organizations had to create multiple document libraries to control access to content. Early adoptions of SharePoint Server 2007 are seeing document library consolidations of as much as 20 to 1 with the ability to change permissions on a per-item level.
SharePoint Server 2007 now includes full Enterprise Content Management (ECM) functionality. SharePoint Server 2007 ECM benefits content consolidation by allowing a variation of multiple languages, security policies, and content archival. Go to Chapter 11, "Web Content Management and Publishing Features," for more information on Web content management.
SharePoint Server 2007 document management eases the management of large document libraries and increases their usability. In Windows SharePoint Services 2.0, document libraries with hundreds or thousands of documents were difficult to navigate and manage. SharePoint Server 2007 natively supports document and records management that can be integrated with workflows and third-party archival solutions. When planning for consolidation and migrations, remember that you can have only one records management repository per site collection. Refer to Chapter 9, "Document Management," and Chapter 10, "Records Management in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007," for more information.
When it comes to Web portals, much has changed with this version of SharePoint Services. SharePoint Portal Server 2003 was very different from Windows SharePoint Services 2003. New administrators always struggled with the different management interfaces and areas structure. In contrast, SharePoint Server 2007 simply extends the management of Windows SharePoint Services 2007 while simplifying the customization and addition of portals.
A corporate portal is a central Web location to aggregate and distribute organizational information. With SharePoint Portal Server 2003, you created a single portal per IIS Web application. The process of customizing SharePoint Portal Server 2003 was also very different than Windows SharePoint Services 2.0. SharePoint Server 2007 has greatly simplified portals by making them a site template rather than having them always be the root of a site collection. Gone are the limitations and nuances of SharePoint portals, such as areas and bucket Webs.
Most organizations will create a site collection at the root of a namespace, such as https://portal.contoso.msft, and apply the Corporate Intranet Site template there. This approach produces the common look and feel of legacy SharePoint portals. Remember, this version is highly customizable, and there might be instances where you have several portals in a single namespace.
Another type of portal in SharePoint Server 2007 is a My Site, or personal, portal. A My Site portal provides a feature-rich, one-to-many collaborative area for each user. Examples of the features available are Private and Public document libraries, blogs, wikis, rollup views, custom links, and many others. A great selling point for My Sites is that users can use their My Site instead of thumb drives, personal Web mail, and other disconnected storage for content. This functionality encourages centralized storage that can be captured and indexed, reducing the loss of tacit knowledge. When designing your My Site's framework, be sure to consider the default size limitation of My Sites, bandwidth requirements, and access control. Large personal portals are becoming more feasible with the downward trend in storage costs. Enterprise-class organizations will require dedicated hardware serving MySites content.