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SharePoint at CERN. IT GLM 17-May-2010 Alexandre Lossent – IT/OIS. Outline. SharePoint overview History of SharePoint at CERN Some facts and figures SharePoint custom applications Web Content Management What’s next: SharePoint 2010 + demo. SharePoint overview.

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sharepoint at cern

SharePoint at CERN

IT GLM 17-May-2010

Alexandre Lossent – IT/OIS

  • SharePoint overview
  • History of SharePoint at CERN
  • Some facts and figures
  • SharePoint custom applications
  • Web Content Management
  • What’s next: SharePoint 2010 + demo
sharepoint overview
SharePoint overview
  • Microsoft’s platform for collaborative applications
    • Selling point: help people connect and collaborate
  • In practice: a “Swiss knife” used to host a large number of products/services
    • Initially the server component of Office, allowing people to share and work together on documents
    • Progressively used as a consolidated platform for many products and services. Some examples:
      • Content Management (WCM + ECM), Enterprise Search (FAST), Web Portal, Identity Management (FIM), Project Management (Project Server), Social Computing (blogs, personal pages)...
sharepoint at cern history
SharePoint at CERN: history
  • Initially: deployed as a platform for IT/OIS services
    • 2006: Exchange Public Folders deprecated; IT/IS looking for a new platform to store messages
      • Discussion forums/NNTP (
      • Mailing list archive (e-groups project to replace Simba)
    • Several platforms evaluated, SharePoint selected
      • June 2007: NNTP newsgroups moved to SharePoint
      • November 2008: Simba archives (4M messages)
      • January 2009: migration of Hypernews (except CMS)
    • Minimum customization of SharePoint
sharepoint at cern history 2
SharePoint at CERN: history (2)
  • “Collaboration Workspace” service (2007)
    • Presented at “After-C5”: 11 May 2007
    • Publishing of web sites much easier and faster
      • Wiki, web forms, web forums, document sharing...
    • At minimal cost
      • Shared platform with IT/OIS services using SharePoint
      • Integration with central web site management system
      • No customization: SharePoint out-of-the-box features
  • 2009: upgrade to MOSS
    • New features: Web Content Management System, InfoPath forms server, advanced search in e-group archives...
current situation
Current situation
  • Success as a user site hosting service:
    • 1200+ SharePoint sites in 2010
      • 1/3 of all new centrally hosted web sites since 2007
      • Quickly became a very popular service
    • Main usage: document sharing and web forms
      • Also: web portal, discussion forums, public web site
      • Consistent with expected service scope and usage
  • Success as a platform for IT/OIS services:
    • E-group archives, forums, RSS feeds (CMF alerter), help page hosting
    • Internal service documentation, operations and project management...
some facts and figures
Some facts and figures
  • Excellent availability and reliability:
    • ~1 hour unavailability in 3 years, all scheduled
    • 2009: redundant infrastructure to further reduce maintenance time and help business continuity
      • Moving database replica to Safehost is in the plans
    • Security: 1 security patch in 3 years
  • Scalability and performance:
    • 400+ GB (250GB IT/OIS services; 150GB user sites)
    • 5.5M documents (5M archived e-mails), indexed
    • 700K requests/day (5% for E-group archives)
  • Flexibility as a platform for IT/OIS
    • E-group archive project on schedule
    • New e-group archive features for Experiments: portal, advanced search features, web posting...
support and training
Support and training
  • User support is provided by IT/helpdesk
    • Typically does not generate more requests than other central web hosting technologies
      • Typical requests: quota, authentication, external accounts
    • Operation and maintenance effort is small
      • No customization to maintain
  • Technical training available
    • Basic (sessions each month)
    • Advanced (new in 2010)
    • Individual coaching (new)
  • A tool that is more and more known and widely used at CERN
  • Manpower for SharePoint was taken from Mail & Web services
    • In particular, resources for Simba moved to SharePoint’s e-group archives
  • Current manpower (IT/OIS services + user sites)
    • Full-time: 1 fellow (Bruno Silva de Sousa)
    • Shared fellow with Server Infrastructure (Elisabeth Johnsen)
      • Contributes to migration phases
    • Fraction of staff from Mail Services (Alexandre Lossent)
  • No long-term manpower (fellows in 2nd year)
beyond collaboration workspace custom applications
Beyond “collaboration workspace”: custom applications
  • Recently, projects of custom applications using the SharePoint platform
    • E.g. IT-Faqs, XWHO replacement, Service Catalogue, Ask-an-Expert, Web Content Management...
  • Desire to do more than what the out-of-the-box functionality provided in collaboration workspace service
    • Precise custom behaviours
    • Look and feel personalization (“branding”)
custom applications lessons learned
Custom applications: lessons learned
  • SharePoint custom applications have a cost
    • Knowledge of the platform from a developer's perspective
      • very different from end-user’s point of view
    • The more custom behaviour = the more effort
    • Additional cost in administration/operation:
      • Deploy and maintain customizations (code, custom web parts, branding...)
      • Long-term maintenance: new SharePoint versions
      • New “sandbox” mode may help (moderately)
      • Not compatible with current manpower
  • ... As with any development platform!
custom applications lessons learned 2
Custom applications: lessons learned (2)
  • Example of e-group archives
    • Went as far as possible with out-of-the-box features (95%)
    • Then minimum customization here and there
  • Benefits of using SharePoint:
    • Extensive range of services provided by the platform (e.g. data storage, search, web forms...)
    • Proven reliability, scalability and security
    • Sharing the platform with other services
  • Customization effort needs to be allocated the appropriate resources
web content management
Web Content Management
  • SharePoint offers Web Content Management (WCM) features
    • E.g.,,
  • At CERN: two WCM levels in discussion
    • Out-of-the-box functionality and default CERN branding
      • E.g. HR admin e-guide
      • Available now in collaboration workspaces
    • Custom application: CERN “web communication plan” (large public web site)
  • Specific training to be organized for WCM site designers
what s next sharepoint 2010
What’s next: SharePoint 2010
  • Released end April 2010
  • Builds on the same concepts
  • Key new features:
    • Site editing from web browser considerably improved
    • Relational data (relations between lists)
    • Web standards:
      • full support for Firefox/Safari
      • WCAG 2.0 compliance (accessibility guidelines)
      • REST (data access)
    • Web 2.0 / “Social computing”
      • Facebook/ features...
    • Office Web Applications: edit Office documents from the browser (including concurrent Excel worksheet edition)
    • Integration of FAST search
    • Sandbox mode to isolate custom code
    • New UI: Office 2007/2010 “ribbon”
sharepoint 2010
SharePoint 2010
  • Demo: some of the new features in SharePoint 2010
sharepoint 2010 status
SharePoint 2010 status
  • Dedicated hosting available
    • Service Catalogue (custom application)
    • Web Content Management evaluation
  • Migration of existing SharePoint sites
    • IT/OIS applications + collaboration workspaces
    • Not scheduled yet – little resources available
  • Training
    • Adapt training for new users
    • “Refresh course” for SharePoint 2007 users
      • Changes in User Interface
  • A powerful and reliable platform
  • Running important CERN services
    • E.g. E-group archives, collaboration workspaces
  • SharePoint 2010 offers new opportunities
    • Cross-platform support, improved UI
  • Deployment of custom applications is a significant new step and requires appropriate resources