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Thurston County Sharepoint. Implementing Sharepoint with minimal resources (No consulting, only part-time staffing, minimal training) Timeline, Costs, Resources, Experiences, etc. Dan Murray, IT Consultant II [email protected] 360-754-4593

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Thurston county sharepoint l.jpg
Thurston County Sharepoint

Implementing Sharepoint with minimal resources

(No consulting, only part-time staffing, minimal training)

Timeline, Costs, Resources, Experiences, etc.

  • Dan Murray, IT Consultant II [email protected] 360-754-4593

  • Cori Layman, IT Consultant II [email protected] 360-786-5420 x 7308

    Cori and Dan’s combined experience includes DBA, Server Administration, UNIX administration, Web design/maintenance (not much development)


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Implementation Timeline

June, 2008 Sharepoint Concept Proposed

August, 2008 Concept Approved, Planning Begins

October, 2008 Funding Approved

November, 2008 Begin Capacity Planning, Systems Requirements

December, 2008 Purchase & Start Video-based Training

January, 2009 Purchase Server/MOSS 2007 Std Software

February, 2009 Try Installing Based on Video Training

March, 2009 Try Installing Again – Try Installing Again

April, 2009 Try Installing Again Based on Microsoft Docs

Purchase Book “Inside Sharepoint 2007 Administration”

May, 2009 Try Installing THREE More Times – Success!

June, 2009 Start Configuring/Branding Our Site

July, 2009 Begin Rapidly Migrating Intranet Content


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Sharepoint Costs

  • Windows Server 2008 Std X 3 $1,536

  • SQL Server 2008 Proc License $4,049

  • Sharepoint License X 2 $6,320

  • Sharepoint Designer X 3 $404

  • Sharepoint CALs X 1,100 $22,000 per year

  • Video-based Training $3,600

  • Classroom Instruction $795

  • Books $85

  • Tivoli/AvePoint Backup/Restore $3,000

  • Total $41,789

  • 2 Staff @ 100% Cross-training, Cross-learning, Co-Administrators

  • Series of 96 Meetings Over 8 Months (Avg 4/Week) X 2 Hours Each

  • 192 Man-Hours $7,000


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Configuration/Resources

This is a minimum configuration for a medium-sized organization (1,000+ users)

All servers run in our existing VMWare ESX Server/SAN Storage environment

  • SQL Server back-end database server

    • Windows Server 2008 Std, 64-bit, SQL Server 2008 Std, Single Processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB Storage

  • Sharepoint front-end web server

    • Windows Server 2008 Std, 64-bit, Sharepoint MOSS 2007 Std Application, Dual Processor, 4GB RAM, 70GB Storage

  • Sharepoint index server

    • Windows Server 2008 Std, 64-bit, Sharepoint MOSS 2007 Std Application, Dual Processor, 4GB RAM, 70GB Storage


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Installing, Installing, Installing…

  • Be ready to install, test, tear down, install, test, tear down, etc.

  • We performed a total of 7 complete installation cycles

  • A complete, sequentially correct installation is critical for a stable Sharepoint farm. There are many configuration options which require decisions about permissions, services, installation order, and so forth.

  • We struggled with incomplete, vague, and even inaccurate installation recommendations from Microsoft, Internet Communities, and our video-based training series.

  • Then we found a highly-rated book called “Inside Sharepoint 2007 Administration” by Steve Caravajal, Todd Klindt, & Shane Young. It clearly layed out an installation plan (and why!) and allowed us to complete our installation with much less confusion and pain. It is so clear, detailed, and concise that the book is literally our official installation documentation.

  • The book is not perfect, but the few typos and other errors were minor and amount to quibbling. Available from Amazon.com


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Sharepoint 101

  • It is a web server, file server, workflow server, search server, social networking server, and more.

  • All users (except advanced programmers) interact with Sharepoint via a web browser (Microsoft IE strongly recommended)

  • Documents can be created or uploaded to the server and become RECORDS in a SQL Server database.

  • Tightly integrated with Windows Active Directory, so the user’s local PC login credentials are passed to Sharepoint and determine what the user can see and do within the system. No extra authentication login windows!

  • All functions such as creating websites, document libraries, workflows, etc. can be delegated to users.


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Out Of Control!

  • The ability to create websites, libraries, webpages, links to outside datasources, etc. with just a few clicks of the mouse can result in a growing, chaotic furball that is very difficult to cough up later when management yells Stop!

  • Seeing the many, many warnings across the Internet about this problem, one of the primary goals of the Sharepoint team at Thurston County was to figure out the best way to benefit from Sharepoint without opening Pandora’s box.

  • While some of the features of Sharepoint are uber-cool, it’s really all about the Content. We decided to emphasize migrating our Intranet content to Sharepoint.

  • This is a win-win. A few administrators can whip up the necessary websites with webpages and libraries, and the users can easily manage the Word documents, PDFs, Hyperlinks, Spreadsheets, etc. that change frequently. Now users don’t need to create the content, email it to a webmaster, who uses a web tool to format and post it to the website. Sharepoint has powerful indexing & searching capabilities that reduce the number of complaints like “I can’t find form XYZ on our intranet”.

  • Sharepoint can notify users by email if content has changed, so you reduce the plague of users squirreling outdated forms all over the network.


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My Sites

Force for Change, or Evil Incarnate?

  • One of the more controversial features of Sharepoint is My Sites

  • My Sites can be turned on or turned off, but it’s all or nothing.

  • It’s a personal web portal where users can create websites, libraries, blogs, wikis, surveys, you name it.

  • Users control who can see their content.

  • Perhaps the most “social” of all the social networking features in Sharepoint

  • Think of it perhaps as a Facebook page within the organization

  • My Sites have the potential to gobble up organizational resources: Data Storage, Network Bandwidth, and Employee Time.

  • The buzz on the Internet is that many organizations immediately turn off this feature with no plans to ever activate it.


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My Sites

Force for Change, or Evil Incarnate?

  • Thurston County has implemented My Sites, but not advertised it

  • We have set a preliminary quota of 1GB per My Site

  • We plan to get pretty good at running various monitoring reports to see if abuse begins to rear its head

  • While management is aware of the My Site feature, no policy has been created to govern its use


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Backup & Restore

  • Out of the Box, Sharepoint does not have a complete backup and restore solution. What is provided is rudimentary at best.

  • Setting up a repeatable and reliable backup plan is complex, requiring command line scripting. There are many restrictions and limitations to the Sharepoint backup tool, making it more of a disaster recovery tool than a granular restore tool at the website, subsite, and document level.

  • Thurston County uses Tivoli Storage Manager for enterprise backup and restore disaster recovery services. We discovered that IBM purchased a product called AvePoint that uses a client/server system via Tivoli to provide a full, complete, granular backup and restore solution.

  • We are currently in the process of implementing this solution.


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Typical Content Management

  • Over the last few months we have settled on a fairly standard method for allowing users control over their content.

  • Typically we take the following steps:

    • Create a home page with static text and a graphic

    • Create a document library

      • Add a “SortOrder” metadata column to the library to manage document order

      • Usually add a hyperlink data type

      • Modify the default view to eliminate extraneous columns and sort by SortOrder

      • Create a Management View that provides all information needed for Content Management

    • Create a web part on the home page that displays the library for users to browse

    • Setup user permissions for designated Content Managers

  • With a few minutes training, any user designated as a Content Manager can be adding, renaming, deleting, re-ordering, and updating their content with ease, using standard Windows and Office interfaces.


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Workflows

  • We can’t get workflows to work yet.

  • We can set up a workflow, but something at the Service level is blocking it from actually running, and the error logs are not much help.

  • We see lots of questions on the Internet about this problem, and not a lot of help. We are still researching and testing. We expect a solution soon.

  • Once we have it working, there is great potential to streamline routine paperwork, both in time spent and in accurate routing.


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Electronic Forms

  • All too frequently in our organization, a form is created in Word and made available to staff via email or a webpage. The user will try to fill it out electronically and depending on the form’s design, may give up in disgust and print it to fill out with pen and paper.

  • The holy grail of electronic forms is to make using the form so easy that users wouldn’t THINK of trying to print it.

  • MOSS 2007 Enterprise allows you to create web-based forms, avoiding the need for InfoPath on the user’s PC. (We have Moss Standard)

  • Our license for Microsoft Office 2003 includes InfoPath 2003, which is an electronic form designer and data entry tool.

  • We are making progress with electronic forms management, but are taking our time since InfoPath is a little-used resource needing care & feeding.


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User Training / Support

  • Create in-house training videos

    • Use free software (Windows Media Encoder)

  • Create a “sandbox” Content Library

    • Users can practice uploading, editing, deleting, etc.

  • Deliver training via Sharepoint website


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Live Example - User Experience

  • Demonstrate basics

    • Navigating, searching, My Sites, accessing documents

  • Demonstrate content management

  • Demonstrate forms processing

  • Demonstrate training website


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Live Example – Building/Designing

  • Demonstrate Web Site, Web Pages

  • Demonstrate Web Parts

  • Demonstrate Creating Library

  • Demonstrate Content Types

  • Demonstrate List Lookups


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