Greetings from Las Vegas, where I’m presenting at SharePoint Connections, an event for which I’m also the content chair for IT Pros, along with Andrew Connell, who handles the developer content. Today is a bit freaky for me, because I’m presenting a full-day preconference workshop, the SharePoint Collaboration Jump Start, and it’s the first time I’ve been asked to present a workshop about the “old version” of SharePoint (WSSv3, MOSS 2007) now that I can also talk about the “new version” (SharePoint Foundation and Server 2010).
It’s like walking a line between the past and the future, and it is also fascinating to hear the questions that people are asking, now that they are hearing about what’s new in SharePoint 2010. I’m finding myself having to split my brain between 2007 and 2010!
I also wanted to take a moment to update you about two issues I raised in previous editions of the newsletter: scalability and virtualization. There’s good news, and there’s bad news.
A while back, I wrote about SharePoint’s Big Problems, and discussed some of the scalability limits of SharePoint 2007 including the infamous 2000-item (or document) limit in a list (or library). That newsletter drew some interesting responses.
Microsoft was quick to point out that some of the limits (most importantly, the 2000-item limit) can be worked around with a “proper” implementation. While that’s absolutely true—I supported a list of 12,000 items just last year for the summer Olympics—the point is that, out of the box, SharePoint isn’t friendly to large lists or libraries.
Limits of content database size, databases per web app or per server, numbers of permissions, and other limits also exist, but many of these can be worked around to allow SharePoint to address large, complex scenarios. It’s just not easy.
That newsletter was written in conjunction with several other (and smarter) MVPs and consultants, so it’s worth reading, but be sure to read it all. Don’t just read the headings, which present the problems, read the details which discuss some of the solutions.
The good news is that SharePoint 2010 raises the roof—one might say into orbit—for scalability. Microsoft has done a truly amazing job with both back-end and presentation layer interaction with content in order to effectively “remove” many scalability limits that daunted 2007 implementations.
The real limits will be those encountered in the real world, so it will take a few months of experience after 2010 is released to know what they are, but it’s looking very promising.
Another equally controversial but more recent newsletter discussed my reasons for using VMware to train, demonstrate, and develop for SharePoint. The great news, which I knew but could not share at the time, is that Microsoft now allows you to develop for SharePoint 2010 on a Windows 7 or Vista client—you can install what you need to make it work, and you don’t need to be developing directly on a server OS any longer.
However, I will stick by my guns for all other scenarios I discussed: training, presenting, demonstrating—and even some development scenarios—because of VMware’s stellar performance on Windows 7 (Hyper-V requires a Windows Server which has licensing, power management, and display driver challenges, among others, discussed in the earlier newsletter) and its beautiful implementation of snapshots and VM migration (it’s a file copy, not an export/import operation).
In fact, I’m now using a beta version of the next iteration of VMware Workstation and its performance is mind blowingly good.
I spoke with a number of trainers, devs, and ISVs at the SharePoint Conference who knew about the controversy I’d started by disavowing HyperV for these specific scenarios, and I got 100% support from them.
That said, let me reiterate that the ability to develop for SharePoint on Vista and Win7 is huge news, and Microsoft deserves big kudos for making it possible.