This section defines system scalability and availability.

Scalability is the capability of a system or a component to accommodate greater demand while maintaining an acceptable response time for users. Scalability is an important factor for organizations that anticipate future growth. Although it is important for organizations to deploy a configuration that can accommodate current performance requirements, organizations also need to consider their plans for future growth when planning their configuration.

Because the EPM solution is a multitiered infrastructure, you can plan for and manage the performance of each EPM solution component within each tier. In this way, your EPM solution design is a highly scalable system that can handle from a few hundred users, up to several thousand users.

Availability is the capability of a system or system components to respond to user input regardless of the immediate status of the individual system component. A system or individual component that has a high degree of availability continues to be available to users during planned downtime or in the event of an unexpected system failure or disaster.


Availability can be an important factor for organizations of any size. This means that high availability is not necessarily associated only with large enterprises but also can be an important consideration for some medium and small corporations.

Specifically, availability is important to organizations that have the following characteristics:

  • Users working in different time zones A high-availability configuration may be required if users in an organization are located across different time zones. When users are geographically dispersed, the definition of workday across the enterprise is much longer. This leaves much less time for regular maintenance.

  • Use of critical applications A high-availability configuration is required for organizations that cannot afford planned or unplanned downtime of any system components.

When you think about scalability metrics for your EPM system, here are the variables that you should consider:

  • Users per hour:

    • Maximum number of times a specified set of user operations, based on your business workflows, can be completed per hour.

    • Focus on peak times such as weekly progress reporting as determined by your business processes.

    • Size and complexity of project and resource data will affect this metric.

  • Cube building time

  • Size of your projects

  • Views publishing frequency and volume

Now that you understand what scalability and availability are, the following section looks at some key factors that impact the scalability of your EPM system.

Network Performance

Network performance is the most frequent bottleneck for most EPM solution installations. How do you know that you may have a problem with a network bottleneck? It may be typically indicated by poor performance or throughput with low CPU utilization on all tiers of the EPM solution.

In most cases, it is the result of latency rather than bandwidth, and the overhead associated with each network "round-trip."

Database Server Performance

A database server performance problem often presents itself as a bottleneck after resolving any problems with your network. To deal with these problems, use typical database server performance analysis and tuning tools. Solutions to these problems are well established and documented but can be costly in terms of software or hardware.

Project Server Security Usage

What enterprise project and resource data a given user has access to impacts the amount of data that needs to be retrieved from your Project Server database and transported throughout the other parts of your EPM system until it is ready for the consumption by your PWA or Project Professional client users.

You definitely want to consider use of restrictive permissions to limit the amount of data available to Project Professional users. Also, RBS-based security is a preferred way to leverage a role-based security system that is an integral part of a Microsoft EPM solution.


For additional details about default security settings for a Project Server 2003 EPM solution, review the >Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 Security Group Guide at the following location:

Project Server Data Usage

Project Server data usage patterns are another key scalability metric. To understand what is meant by data usage patterns, you should follow a few basic guidelines when it comes to how you want to use your enterprise project and resource data:

  • Depending on the portfolio management requirements of your organization, project management processes and standards can impact the way project data is grouped, filtered, and exposed for viewing in the EPM system.

  • It is important to find a balance between the number and size of your enterprise projects. You may want to decide what constitutes the maximum size of "manageable" projects for your organization and when it may make sense to break a large project into smaller, more manageable subprojects.

  • When your enterprise project average size exceeds about 1,500 to 2,000 tasks, consider segmenting these large projects into separate smaller ones. This can help to make projects more manageable and speed up the opening and saving of projects.

  • Use the Open (opening projects in Project Professional) feature from Project Center and enterprise outline codes to work with "sorted and filtered" project subsets efficiently.

  • Try to stay away from practices and business processes that require many project baseline saves.

  • Consolidate nonproject or administrative tasks into a small number of administrative projects. It is a good practice to create separate administrative projects for all departments for each fiscal or calendar year. That way, you can control the size of the administrative projects effectively without creating a huge performance impact on your system when administrative projects need to be updated.


If you ever need to explore Microsoft EPM solution architecture further and need more details, download the Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 Configuration Planning Guide from the following location and review Chapter 2, "Identifying Availability and Scalability Solutions"; Chapter 4, "Identifying Environmental Factors"; and Appendix H, "Best Practices for Deploying an EPM Solution" at

For further details also review the following Microsoft website titled Project Server Deployment Resources:

This Microsoft website provides an incredible wealth of information related to Microsoft EPM solution deployment with many useful links to other sources of information you may find beneficial when designing, planning, and implementing your EPM solution.

If you are still thirsty for more real-life, practical guidance from somebody "who's done it before," review the following Microsoft Technet webcast for additional ideas and concepts for your EPM solution deployment, titled "Planning the Project Server 2003 Infrastructure":

    QuantumPM - Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 Unleashed
    Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 Unleashed
    ISBN: 0672327430
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2005
    Pages: 227
    Authors: QuantumPM LLC © 2008-2017.
    If you may any questions please contact us: