In the inaugural issue of SharePointPro Connections Steve Fox told developers about what was new in SharePoint 2010. He inspired me to list a few of my favorite new features for administrators. SharePoint 2010 has improved in many areas—these are a few gems that really get my IT pro juices flowing.
In SharePoint 2003 and 2007 command-line junkie administrators had a powerful tool, STSADM. With it we could do repetitive tasks quickly without wearing out our clicking fingers. We thought we had it made. Then SharePoint 2010 introduced us to Windows PowerShell. PowerShell is replacing STSADM, which is deprecated. The good news is that anything STSADM can do, PowerShell can do better. Since PowerShell lets us access SharePoint at the object model level we can make scripts with unprecedented power, things we could only dream of with STSADM. Want to get a list of all the blog sites in your farm? PowerShell can do that. Want to back up all of your site collections with a single line? PowerShell can do that too. Now that your appetite is whetted you can look forward to the next issue of this magazine, where we’ll run article dedicated to PowerShell with SharePoint.
Most articles about SharePoint 2010 tell you about all the new things you can do. There are also a few things that SharePoint 2010 won’t let you do anymore. For instance, if you want to load up a list view with 10,000 items in it, well, you can’t anymore. Do you want to overload your server so that form submissions fail? You can’t do that anymore either. SharePoint has implemented some throttling options to help save users from themselves. We now have large list throttling that will truncate a large list view to 5,000 items to keep users from bogging down SQL Server with large queries or killing their web browser. SharePoint also keeps a close tab on its well being; if it gets too busy it will pause its timer jobs and reject new connections so that existing connections can be completed. This means that users submitting surveys won’t get their hard work rejected because the server is too busy to handle their requests. Survey users around the world rejoice!
SharePoint 2010 has also expanded its monitoring capabilities. SharePoint 2010 introduces a new database dedicated to the purpose of collecting logging information. This database collects logs—your Unified Logging Service (ULS) trace logs, IIS logs, and even Windows Event Log events from all the servers in your farm and puts it all in one database. Even better, this database is completely documented, and we can read and write to it. SharePoint 2010 also has a Health Analyzer to monitor different aspects about itself; it alerts administrators when there are problems. It can even fix some problems. It’s a lazy administrator’s dream. To learn more about monitoring improvements read my article “Get Proactive with SharePoint 2010’s Improved Monitoring,” in this issue.
SharePoint Server 2007 had Shared Service Providers (SSPs) that provided common services to web applications. Search, profile import, Excel services, and InfoPath forms are some examples of services the SSP provided. SharePoint 2010 has taken the SSP model and broken it into its individual components. This gives you more flexibility to run the service applications you want. You can also have multiple instances of some service applications if you choose, and now different people can administer the individual service applications. If you want to take your SharePoint 2010 administration to the next level, you can even share individual service applications across farms.
SharePoint has become as critical to business these days as email. Since SharePoint lives in Microsoft SQL Server, making your databases fault tolerant is one step an administrator can take to keep SharePoint from going offline in case there is trouble. If you had your SharePoint 2007 databases mirrored, failing over to your mirrored databases was a completely manual task. SharePoint 2010 has native support for database mirroring. After you have your databases mirrored in SQL Server, SharePoint can fail over automatically without any intervention from an administrator. Less downtime for users, less work for administrators. It’s a classic win-win scenario.
But Wait, There’s More
I just nicked the tip of the iceberg of cool new features for administrators in SharePoint 2010. Don’t forget that SharePoint 2010 introduces new functionality for end users and new interfaces for developers. In this magazine we will try to introduce you to as many new features as we can.