This section contains an overview of the different components that comprise a full installation of Project Server 2003. In addition, it outlines the recommended software versions that will help facilitate the overall reliability, security, and manageability of the system. These include the following:
Understanding how these components fit together provides a foundation for maintaining and troubleshooting the Project Server implementation.
Active Directory and Windows Server 2003
Microsoft Windows 2003 Server, Standard or Enterprise, is the operating system most highly recommended for Project Server 2003 implementations. All Windows 2003 Server versions, except the Web Edition, include the latest version of Active Directory (AD). AD is a directory service that provides the capability to integrate and manage users, groups, and computers from a central location and provides a system to assign permissions to resources across the enterprise. AD was originally introduced in Windows 2000 and has since been updated and refined to offer network administrators scalability, accessibility, and functionality to manage the service requirements of enterprise computing environments.
The main benefits to Project Server 2003 offered in the latest flavor of AD include easier management of users, groups, and organizational units, as well as providing increased security. Additionally, you can now rename a domain and still maintain the global unique identifier (GUID) and security identifier (SID) of the domain. Although this was possible in Windows 2000, there were considerable restraints. Changing the name of a domain can be an exceptionally useful feature that greatly simplifies scenarios such as renaming a newly acquired organizational domain to match an existing AD infrastructure. In the Project Server world, this may be useful in support of corporate reorganizations, mergers, or the combining of two separate departments, and so on. The new Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) snap-in is indispensable to maintaining a large number of users.
Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0
Internet Information Services (IIS) is Microsoft's popular Web Server software and is a requirement for the Project Web Access (PWA) feature of Project Server. The latest implementation of IIS in the Microsoft family is highly recommended for Project Server 2003. Besides the security and reliability improvements, IIS 6.0 adds ASP.NET integration, which is extremely useful when designing customizations to Project Server code.
Structured Query Language (SQL) Server 2000
SQL Server 2000 is Microsoft's relational database engine that is the backbone of Project Server 2003 and Windows SharePoint Services. Project Server 2003 requires either the Enterprise or Standard version of the software. The Standard version has all the features of the Enterprise version with the exception that the Enterprise version allows for a scalable solution, such as clustering. The Enterprise version is required if you have potential external (outside your firewall) PWA users and want to provide PWA Portfolio Analyzer views through a single exposed port. See the following section "Analysis Services (AS)" for more information on Portfolio Analyzer.
Analysis Services (AS)
Analysis Services (AS), often referred to as Online Transaction Processing (OLAP) Services, comes with SQL Server 2000 and is advertised as a multidimensional database server. Project Server 2003 uses AS to analyze all the different dimensions of data in the Project Server database and display that data in an informative and often three-dimensional graphical view. Components such as the Portfolio Analyzer use the OLAP cube built by AS. As with SQL Server 2000, Analysis Services comes in Standard and Enterprise versions. Project Server 2003 requires the Enterprise version of Analysis Services if you intend to display Portfolio Analyzer views via PWA over an extranet on port 80 without the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Without the Enterprise version, you have to expose port 2725 to allow the browser Portfolio Analyzer ActiveX control to access Analysis Services.
The Session Manager is a unique component for Project Server 2003 that monitors and maintains a user's session information, such as the current PWA panes being viewed and recently viewed PWA pages. It utilizes Remote Procedure Calls (RPC) to communicate with IIS. IIS has similar functionality built in (workable in single IIS server implementations); however, the Session Manager provides this flexibility in a load-balanced or web farm solution. You can offload this service to increase availability, reliability, and performance regardless of the state of the server running Project Server 2003.
Views Processor (VP)
The process of publishing a project to the Project Server is database and processor intensive. The Views Processor was created to improve the performance and scalability of the views generation process. This process contains three subcomponents: Views Notification Service, View Processor, and View Manager. The Views Notification Service monitors the ViewDrop folder for an XML metadata file indicating that views processing should be performed for a specific project within the database. It opens and checks the XML file and, if validated, passes it on to the View Processor. The View Processor performs a check that removes duplicate publish requests for projects by project and/or user. Finally, the View Manager writes the views to the Project Server database by transforming the data it pulls from the project file to be published into view information in the enterprise project database.
Windows SharePoint Services (WSS)
Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) is an optional web-based application used to add document management, issue tracking, and risk management to Project Server 2003. Microsoft provides this application free with Project Server. WSS for Project Server 2003 requires Windows Server 2003. It is provided with Project Server to provide project-centric collaboration sites.
WSS can easily be used to implement an effective trouble ticketing system providing a valuable resource for communication and collaboration. Use WSS Admin functionality to create your own WSS subweb; then issues can be logged, tracked, and searched readily by support personnel.