harbar.net component based software & platform hygiene

SharePoint 2010 pre-requisites installer and other setup refinements point the way to more consistent deployments

Print | posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 1:54 AM

Small things can make a big difference. But what seems small and simple often isn’t. I personally wouldn’t want to be the guy who looks after the myriad pre-requisites for SharePoint Server 2010. :)

But SharePoint 2010 has a pre-requisite installer, just like SQL Server, and it’s good. In addition there are numerous other setup refinements which are a testament to a key drive of the latest version, enterprise readiness. It was promised and it’s been delivered. Sure, some improvement is always possible. The default name of a content database could use some work!:) Add that to a more robust set of system services and of course PowerShell, SharePoint 2010 seriously ups the game with respect to proven, repeatable and discrete deployments. Customers will have many less excuses to operate a badly configured platform.

But how can an installer bootstrap widget be such a big deal? Well dodgy deployments are costly to customers, partners and Microsoft. Fixing or operating dubious farms and configurations is a stranglehold on the ability for SharePoint to be adopted widely in large enterprises. The IT cost is too high. The vast majority of platform mis-configuration  is attributable to the actions taken within the first two months of a deployment. i.e. when the boxes were built.

But how can we tell if this is working, are we really decreasing the IT cost, and was it worth the effort as opposed to let’s say another feature investment?

Interestingly enough there is an early pointer to the likely success of these investments in platform hygiene. It’s very amusing to see the issues people are running into getting the new SharePoint 2010 Beta up and running. Twitter has amplified the amusement factor somewhat. But all comedy aside, last time around when Office SharePoint Server 2007 hit the public, it was way worse. The helter skelta of the release shades the fact that many more people have been successful in deploying, easily for the most part. And this isn’t because many more people are doing it than before, it’s obviously clear there is real improvement. Oh and by the way, TechNet seriously has it’s act together this time.

It really should be obvious to architects that platform hygiene is essential to be efficient and cut back on waste (IT cost). But winning that argument in a feature driven world is often a almost impossible task. Credit to those who fought for it and those that build it. Another benefit to these improvements is the increased ability to deploy and operate an “Agile Farm”. One that is extremely flexible and efficient. More on Agile Farms in the future.