Building SharePoint Enterprise Platforms - Off the beaten path


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To point and click our way through a SharePoint installation is relatively easy, but what about all the other 'stuff' that we might not have considered? These slides are from Andy Talbot's MetaVis webinar for a detailed discussion on building SharePoint platforms fit for enterprise customers.

In this webinar, Andy talked about some of the common challenges that can take some enterprises by surprise, factors that we should have planned for, and common failure points. Attendees should have benefited from this discussion regardless if they were starting out with their deployment, or already in production.

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Building SharePoint Enterprise Platforms - Off the beaten path

  1. 1. Off the Beaten Path.... Building SharePoint Enterprise Platforms with Andy Talbot
  2. 2. Who? Andy Talbot SharePoint Architect | #SUGUK IOM Leader | MCSE: SharePoint | Isle of Man & UK Nomadic | Coauthoring ‘SharePoint Survivors Guide’ /AndyTalbot @SharePointAndy
  3. 3. Shocker! We won’t talk about Azure today, as I’m going to cover this as a new dedicated session (sorry!)
  4. 4. Content Covered This session includes: • Pain points • Lessons learnt • Sensible questions • Common sense thoughts …you decide what applies to you!
  5. 5. SharePoint On-Prem IS ALIVE! “When it comes to the cloud, we’re “all in,” but we’re also realistic. We have a large on-premises installed base that’s important to us, and we’re committed to future releases of the server.” – Jared Spataro, Senior Director, Microsoft Office Division, “Yammer and Enterprise Social Roadmap Update” March 2013 Ref:
  6. 6. Understand your Vision
  7. 7. Product Capabilities • Do you understand what you are trying to achieve? • Will you have service separation? • What is the purpose/s of the platform? • Understand different capability behaviours e.g. Collaboration apps will be read/write intensive VS WCM read intensive
  8. 8. Governance Governance is SERIOUS stuff and you can’t afford to not think about it. “SharePoint Governance is a guideline of rules within your organisation, including what, why, when, where and how #SPGovManifesto” – Andy Talbot The SharePoint Governance Manifesto’
  9. 9. Governance Axis There are multiple governance axis, but from a platform perspective, at a minimum you should have considered : • Organisational • Informational • Operational Part of the story: sharepoint-governance-an-inside-outperspective-part-2/
  10. 10. Good Governance • Consensus Orientated • Participatory • Follows the rule of law • Effective and Efficient • Accountable • Transparent • Responsive • Equitable and Inclusive
  11. 11. Quality Assurance • Can you afford not too? • Enforces quality • What’s more expensive; testing or loss of service? • It should be baked into deployments and configuration change/s
  12. 12. Understand test types • Understand what to test AND when • Update test plans when you change something: - Platform changes - New developments • Don’t undervalue your QA team REF: osts/Post.aspx?ID=122
  13. 13. Go a little deeper Understand what each type of test area means
  14. 14. RACI R RESPONSIBLE: • Who is/will be doing this task? • Who is assigned to work on this task? A ACCOUNTABLE: • Who’s head will roll if this goes wrong? • Who has the authority to take decision? C CONSULTED: • Anyone who can tell me more about this task? • Any stakeholders already identified? I INFORMED: • Anyone whose work depends on this task? • Who has to be kept updated about the progress?
  15. 15. RACI Example Choose a recipe Grocery Shopping Pre-heat the oven Prepare ingredients Bake dinner in oven DAD C MOM A/R SON C R R A A/R R DAUGHTER C
  16. 16. Roles & Responsibilities Introduce clear separation of duties e.g. • • • • • • • • • SharePoint Architect Configuration Manager Platform SMEs Functional SMEs Support SMEs Trainers Testers Product Managers Requirement Gatherers
  17. 17. Roles & Responsibilities Different each role comes a mix of responsibilities. e.g. • Leadership • Support • Management • Planning • Performance • Strategy Understand who is responsible for what in your organisation
  18. 18. Release Management Typical responsibilities: • Deployment Management • Environments Management • Release Process Management • Build Management • Configuration Management • Change Management
  19. 19. Be careful.... Sometimes we overlook things (shocking!). Maybe we didn’t stop to consider: • When will product support stop? • Base or Project cost? • How long can I keep my resources?
  20. 20. Staying Current It’s important: • Understand vendor product and strategy developments • Helps you to plan ahead for change • Underpins personal development planning (right?)
  21. 21. Documentation It’s important: • To be current • Stored in an appropriate place (e.g. don’t store SharePoint DR docs in SharePoint!) • Version controlled • Maintained
  22. 22. Typical Documentation At a minimum the following should be documented: • On boarding process • Build & Configuration • DR plan • Development HLD’s & LLD’s • Test plans
  23. 23. Successive Layers of Defence • Project Governance • Architecture Governance • Information Governance • Release Management • Quality Assurance
  24. 24. Shared Platforms • Solution delivery aligns to platform capacity • Changes are communicated to all platform stakeholders • Peer review opportunities (DWG?) • Switching on features may affect others (e.g. Auditing)
  25. 25. SharePoint Centre of Excellence See Andrew Woodward’s deck from SPC12: /SharePointConference/2012/SPC214
  26. 26. Resources & People • Often we ask for more system resource, but don’t plan for more human resources • Do we on-board people properly, or are they left guessing on your standards, processes, etc.
  27. 27. Embracing Talent Ask yourself: • Do you encourage and foster learning and development? • Do you recognise emerging talent? • Shouldn’t each capability have a base achievement standard? E.g. Certification, internal standards, etc. • Does training align with product roadmap? Technology is nothing without people
  28. 28. Capturing User Feedback Ask yourself: • Do we really LISTEN? • Is it EASY for users to feedback? • Do we REVIEW feedback? • Do we MEASURE THE VALUE of delivery against customer feedback? • Do we let GOOD IDEAS DIE?
  29. 29. Realignment Sometimes we need to realign for various different reasons, e.g. • • • • • Mergers & acquisitions Improve efficiency and effectiveness Senior management changes Market response Change of strategy Have we thought about how we would approach this the need arose?
  30. 30. Who makes the Decisions? Carefully consider who should AND shouldn’t be making different types of decisions. Worryingly it’s not always the right people, e.g. • Project Managers making technical decisions (tick boxing?) • Techies making business decisions • Power Brokers (you know the type!) Do decisions support the vision? “To Steer…. Governance….”
  31. 31. Communication It’s important to: • Have a communication plan • Get across the intended value • Set expectation • Use it to promote cultural change • Show that you listened • Promote recent successes • Warn about service disruption INTEGRATE, Commitment INFORM, Awareness INVOLVE, Engagement
  32. 32. Guiding Principles • Set an internal expectation • Encourage commitment and quality • Encourage early warning of issues • Enjoy what you do!
  33. 33. Support Framework • Establish triage process • Understand your estate • Identify trends, update training and FAQs • Encourage community feedback, possibly with Gamification techniques
  34. 34. Capacity Planning • • • • • • • • • • Recertification process? Monitor growth Storage reduction opportunities Plan for Site Quotas & Content Databases Understand boundaries, limits and thresholds, and respect them! Migrations Site creation control Auditing Service Separation Storage Tiers / IOPS Does existing hardware meet company’s needs Implement Capacity Planning Determine if existing infrastructure can support anticipated growth Determine the company’s future needs Identify opportunities to consolidate
  35. 35. Load Planning • Profile expected traffic patterns (account for time differences in different countries) • Understand usage age patterns of each web app – determine the best architectures to fit (e.g Collaboration – large read / write) • Understand caching options and what they do (which can impact platform capacity) • Office Web Apps (SP2010)
  36. 36. Get the Balance right • What will come first, Load or Capacity? • Do you understand your points of failure? • Have you planned for the future?
  37. 37. Architecture / Topologies • Properly planned? • Physical & Logical design Documented? • Use it to understand how to change your farm/s • Traditional vs Streamlined topologies Technical diagrams for SharePoint 2013:
  38. 38. Scaling • Understand the difference between scaling UP and scaling OUT • Plan Content Databases (quotas, thresholds, warnings, migration process) • Understand caches (e.g. Blob, distributed, object, page)
  39. 39. Monitoring • System Logs • Performance • Growth • Usage • Functional Requests • Support Issues ….are you being PROACTIVE or REACTIVE?
  40. 40. Hardware Considerations • Do you understand your hardware refresh cycle? • If on a managed platform, do you understand your suppliers refresh cycle and limitations? Understand exit strategies too • Will purchase restrictions prevent changes in topology • Does your company have a cloud strategy for the future? • Do you know what to do if you introduce new hardware (e.g. update SQL Alias, web.config, etc.)
  41. 41. 3 rd Party Tools • Upgrade ready? • Infrastructure requirements understood? • Training • Support model • Understand your procurement framework • Licencing, perpetual or annual? Have with planned for growth e.g. enough seats
  42. 42. vNext Ready? • Understand your corporate roadmap • Be as upgrade ready as possible • Understand deprecated features • Learn architectural changes, both logical and physical • Microsoft Product Line Architecture (PLA) "How would Microsoft deploy this technology?" or "how would Microsoft do it?" It was from this simple question that the PLA was born.
  43. 43. Outsourced Functions Typical for support and development capabilities. Take time to: • Understand the ‘Continuum of Cultural Characteristics’ • Agree on standards • Agree communication methods • Understand the QA process • Major public holidays (different from country to country)
  44. 44. Patching • 99.9% uptime really means ‘x’ downtime allowance • Understand why you’re making a change. • SP’s, CU’s, PU’s, COD, etc. Understand the differences • READ THE RELEASE NOTES! It might fix one thing and break another
  45. 45. What Availability Uptime Really Means Availability % Downtime per year Downtime per month* Downtime per week 90% ("one nine") 36.5 days 72 hours 16.8 hours 95% 18.25 days 36 hours 8.4 hours 97% 10.96 days 21.6 hours 5.04 hours 98% 7.30 days 14.4 hours 3.36 hours 99% ("two nines") 3.65 days 7.20 hours 1.68 hours 99.5% 1.83 days 3.60 hours 50.4 minutes 99.8% 17.52 hours 86.23 minutes 20.16 minutes 99.9% ("three nines") 8.76 hours 43.8 minutes 10.1 minutes 99.95% 4.38 hours 21.56 minutes 5.04 minutes 99.99% ("four nines") 52.56 minutes 4.32 minutes 1.01 minutes 99.999% ("five nines") 5.26 minutes 25.9 seconds 6.05 seconds 99.9999% ("six nines") 31.5 seconds 2.59 seconds 0.605 seconds 99.99999% ("seven nines") 3.15 seconds 0.259 seconds 0.0605 seconds
  46. 46. Backup & DR • You’ve planned for it, right? • Test annually • RPO’s/RTO’s still correct? • Have you over engineered? e.g. If no point in time recovery, why are you SQL full logging? • Understand what dependent applications and process maybe affected Facilities & Infrastructure Operational BC / DR Plan Processes & Procedures
  47. 47. You cannot know it all..... • SharePoint Centre of Excellence • • • • • • • Developers BA’s Trainers Product Owners SMEs Design Working Group Information Governance (SPIG ) • Steering Committees…
  48. 48. Reasons for Failure
  49. 49. The ‘C’ Word – CHANGE! “Changing behaviours at work requires changing the environment that surrounds people when they’re at work” Marc D Anderson (@sympmarc) Is it time for gamification as an approach to facilitating changing behaviours?
  50. 50. Questions? “Questions are guaranteed in life; answers aren't”
  51. 51. Bye For Now! Andy Talbot SharePoint Architect | #SUGUK IOM Leader | MCSE: SharePoint | Isle of Man & UK Nomadic | Coauthoring ‘SharePoint Survivors Guide’ /AndyTalbot @SharePointAndy