I spoke with Mike Watson of Quest, who, with Quest’s Joel Oleson worked to develop the new Quest Server Administrator for SharePoint. The beta is available for download now, and the product will be announced, along with general availability, at Microsoft TechEd 2010 in New Orleans in June.
When Watson and Oleson used to work at Microsoft on the SharePoint team, they dreamt of putting together a tool that would help SharePoint admins. Watson says, “We wanted to take the things we’ve learned along the way and put that expertise in a product. We wanted to build a platform with some repeatability.”
“Joel got tired of saying the same thing over and over, so he started blogging to point people to what he’d written. There’s a similar concept to the tool. We have things called rules that analyze data and explain how to fix problems.” Watson says the ultimate goal of the solution is “to accumulate all the SharePoint knowledge in the world into one tool.” Even more importantly, perhaps, if you’ve ever hesitated while performing administration on SharePoint and thought, “Should I or shouldn’t I?”, Watson says, “We’re trying to remove the ambiguity from SharePoint administering.”
The tool can run on any machine, Windows XP and later, as long as it has network connectivity because it leverages the SharePoint web service. You open the tool, enter your credentials, and start running an assessment, which scans a server or a farm. The data from thousands of information points is pulled back into the database and the rules start analyzing the data and reporting the risks. With each risk, there’s also data that explains why it’s a problem, and a resolution statement tells how to fix the problem or points to relevant articles. Though the rules are based on best practices, one can also build one’s own rules.
There is also a configuration comparer that lets you quickly compare across SharePoint farms on down to comparing at the SharePoint file level across servers. The solution also provides at-a-glance information, including reports that summarize risk to enable decision-making.
It runs on SharePoint 2010, SharePoint Foundation, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. To download the beta of Quest Server Administrator for SharePoint, visit the Quest community site.