Exam Prep: Designing a SharePoint Infrastructure

Exam Prep: Designing a SharePoint Infrastructure

Let me guess? You have been working with SharePoint for a while now and you have had the push to get certified. Well if you have, then you are no doubt looking for videos, articles and probably training to get you there. These next few blog posts will focus on helping you get there. Each post will outline what is going to be tested and then some knowledge to help you along the way.

The Exam for SharePoint 2016, is broken down into various categories, in these blog posts we will cover the following:

  • Designing a SharePoint Infrastructure
  • SharePoint Workload Optimization
  • Productivity Services
  • Optimization and Monitoring

This post will focus on the first topic of Designing a SharePoint Infrastructure. For the exam itself you will need to review the following categories:

  • Design information architecture
  • Design a logical architecture
  • Design a physical architecture
  • Plan an installation
  • Plan a hybrid cloud environment

So, let’s begin with the basics first, by reviewing the server specifications needed for a SharePoint Farm. For this we will focus on SharePoint 2016. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485(v=office.16).aspx 

The basic requirement here for servers is really to utilize 12GB - 16GB of RAM, and utilize 64 BIT with 4 Cores on any type of server within the Infrastructure for SharePoint. Disk space though set to 80 GB for a system drive is really set to the minimum needed for a running an environment. The Other disk space used is of course unique to your environment and what is needed to hold the content.

Once you have allocated the resources needed, or acquired the servers knowing what architecture to choose is even more important and of course Microsoft have given us lots of options. 

TechNet has provided the following diagrams as the options for topology options.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263199(v=office.16).aspx

Now the change for SharePoint 2016 servers is the release of the MinRole option when choosing the roles of servers. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt346114(v=office.16).aspx

Even though this is great, in reality the key is to choose the design that works best for your organization. There are a series of options that can now be used when designing SharePoint 2016 server farms. Each design has various pro’s and con’s depending on what is needed for the solution. The main designs are really focused on using MinRole, MinRole V2 Combined Roles and the Custom role. 

Minimum Design

Utilizes all the MinRole options with a single instance of each role. The following roles are used:

  • Front End Server
  • Distributed Cache Server
  • Search Server
  • Application Server
  • Database Server

High Availability Design

Utilizes all the MinRole options with a minimu of two servers for each role. The following roles are used:

  • Front End Server x 2
  • Distributed Cache Server x 2
  • Search Server x 2
  • Application Server x 2
  • Database Server x 2

Custom Minimum Design

Does not utilize any of the MinRole options, simply uses the Custom role and would work similar to a SharePoint 2013 Farm. 

Custom High Availability Design

Utilizes all the MinRole options for Front End and Search Servers, with the Custom role used for all other servers. The following roles are used:

  • Front End Server
  • Search Server
  • Custom Servers
  • Database Server

Custom Only Design

The logical design uses the standard Streamlined approach that we have used with other versions of SharePoint. The following roles are used:

  • Front End Server
  • Distributed Cache Server
  • Batch Processing Server
  • Specialized Workload Server
  • Database Server

Combined Role Design

Utilizes all MinRole V2 roles which is made of combined roles. The following roles are used:

  • Front End Server with Distributed Cache Server
  • Application Server with Search Server
  • Database Server

Combined Roles High Availability Design

Utilizes all MinRole V2 roles which is made of combined roles, with multiple servers within each layer. The following roles are used:

  • Front End Server with Distributed Cache Server x 2
  • Application Server with Search Server x 2
  • Database Server x 2

Recommended Topologies

Comparing the types of topologies together we can see which roles should be used for the types of scenarios. These scenarios would be for a Content, Service and Search farm.

Choosing the right server architecture, will have an impact on overall performance and the workloads that you can use. In the next post, we will look at the SharePoint Workload Optimization and how to ensure that you have the right design for the what is needed.

Now outside of the core server architecture, other things can also impact the design choice. The network design, speed, server location as well as access also need to be taken into consideration. 

To learn more about join me for a three-part webinar in April, that walk through more of the architecture needs for SharePoint 2016. More details to come.

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