SharePoint pays the bills in my household, so I love it. But I also see the struggles readers go through daily in dealing with this complex technology. I will never forget the analogy making the rounds of the blogosphere earlier this year where the writer likened deploying and administering SharePoint to someone dropping him off at the home improvement store and saying "Here you go--everything you need is here--now go build a house." In a cautiously optimistic but not fan-girl vein, I offer some observations of SharePoint highs and lows of 2010 from my perch in the cheap seats:
5. Highlight: Release of Office 365 beta and Lync.
Office 365 was widely hailed, even though just a beta, as a game changer, bringing SharePoint to a whole demographic of small businesses that couldn’t otherwise deploy SharePoint on premises. Our own Paul Thurrott wrote in “What You Need to Know About Microsoft Lync 2010, Office 365, IE9, and Windows Phone Carriers,” that “The more I use Office 365, the more I become convinced that this is the future of Microsoft all tied up in one neat little product bundle.”
A reorganization and update of Microsoft’s Business Online Productivity Services (BPOS), it boasts a tiered subscription model with some of the more expensive subscriptions including Microsoft Lync, the renamed unified communications solution for setting up online meetings and communicating via IM.
However, Office 365 also had the experts saying “Let’s wait and see.” Dan Holme’s “To The Cloud! Really?” was complimentary to Office 365 but also realistic about what it offered and the budgetary juggling some businesses would need to do to try it. Both of these articles were written before the lowlight in number 4 below was reported on Christmas Eve.
4. Lowlight: Security breach of BPOS
Confirming everyone’s worst fears about putting data in the cloud, Microsoft announced that a configuration error had briefly exposed data of corporations using its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which includes SharePoint Online. On Christmas Eve, in eweek.com’s “Microsoft Notifies BPOS Cloud Customers of Breach,” Brian Prince noted, “According to the company, the configuration issue exposed information in customers’ Offline Address Books, a feature in Exchange that permits Outlook users to access copies of e-mail addresses when users are not connected to Exchange.” Security, we are continually reminded, is relative.
3. Highlight: SharePointPro Connections magazine created.
The magazine debuted in March 2010 with a cover story interview of Microsoft’s Head SharePoint dude, SharePoint General Manager Tom Rizzo. Rizzo nearly instantaneously left that position just as the magazine went to press.
Later in the year, the July issue featured a cover story interview with Eric Swift, who replaced Rizzo. (Swift did not leave his position when the July issue was going to press.) In 2011, SharePointPro Connections magazine will expand to six print issues, coming out in February, April, May, and September, October, November.
2. Lowlight: SharePoint 2010 cumulative update caused a “few issues.”
The Microsoft SharePoint team blog noted in late autumn: “Microsoft has discovered a critical issue in the recently released October Cumulative Updates for SharePoint Server 2010 and Project Server 2010, and we have removed the files from download availability. If you have already downloaded the CU, do not install it.”
What the issue was, it said, was this: “The October Cumulative Update for the packages listed above makes some changes and updates to the user profile database. Unfortunately there are certain situations where this update does not complete as expected and leaves the update in an inconsistent state. This causes issues with several SharePoint features that use the User Profile Application such as MySites, People and Expertise Search & Ratings.”
Our own Dan Holme experienced this while working on a SharePoint project:
In “SharePoint User Profile Synch: Achilles' Profile Part 2,” he writes, “Two weeks ago, I discussed the User Profile service application (UPA) and User Profile Synchronization service (UPS) in SharePoint 2010 in the context of issues that I, my clients, and others have had getting the UPS to start successfully. The article generated quite a stir, and I received numerous passionate responses from the community.
Those who have “felt the pain” agreed enthusiastically with one of my tongue-in-cheek best practice recommendations:
To start the User Profile Synchronization successfully, you must sacrifice a chicken at the moment of the green flash of sunset on the night of a new moon.”
Later, Microsoft fixed the Update. “October 2010 Cumulative Updates for SharePoint & Project Server 2010 Republished,” was the headline on the Microsoft SharePoint team blog.
1. Highlight: SharePoint 2010 was released.
SharePoint 2010 either increased your affection for SharePoint or confirmed your desire to avoid SharePoint. The hype was fascinating to watch, from Microsoft, MVPs, product vendors, and analysts.
We’re looking forward to 2011 to see what SharePoint has in store. Stick with us for the ride!
Until then, Dan Holme offers his own prognostications—“SharePoint 2011: Cloud, Storage, Social Media, and vNext,” —and those of fellow SharePoint MVPs— “SharePoint in 2011: MVP Predictions.”
SharePoint Security in 2011, by Caroline Marwitz
Top 5 SharePoint Articles By Dan Holme
SharePoint in 2011: MVP Predictions, by Dan Holme