5 tips for SharePoint 2010 deployment and configuration

As businesses prioritize SharePoint usage, here's how to start your implementation the right way

"Sixty-two percent of companies we recently surveyed said that SharePoint is going to be one of their top five business applications in the next two years," says Brian Babineau, vice president of research and analyst services at Enterprise Strategy Group. As an administrator or IT decision maker, how ready are you to begin working with SharePoint within your environment?

Whereas previous versions of SharePoint have focused on intranets, SharePoint 2010 is stable enough and polished enough for both intranet and Internet sites. Deploying such sites takes a bit more knowledge of a diverse set of Microsoft technologies, including Windows Server 2008 R2, .Net, IIS, SQL, and SharePoint. Here are five tips to help you get started.

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SharePoint 2010 tip 1: Prerequisites

SharePoint servers have a set of prerequisites that you need to have installed first on any server you want to run SharPoint. These include the Microsoft Filter Pack 2.0, the Sync Framework Runtime 1.0, and various hotfixes. The prerequisites are typically installed through an Internet connection your server will most likely have.

However, there are times when that server may not have an outside connection to the Internet or you may simply want to make the install more convenient for multiple servers. In those cases, you can download the prerequisites to a network share, and if you pack the files into an ISO, they can be mounted easily.

When you have the prequesite files together, look at the PrerequisitesInstaller.exe utility on the SharePoint DVD and simply run it with the /? flag to get the various command-line options. 

SharePoint 2010 tip 2: Installation
Installing SharePoint is complicated, but it's definitely improved since SharePoint 2007, thanks to an easy-to-use wizard that does most of the installation work. However, if you've ever seen the SQL-side nightmare that is left behind after the Farm Configuration Wizard completes, you know that the GUID extensions appended to all the databases created in SQL make for quite a mess.

CodePlex has provided the AutoSPInstaller tool to both help make the overall SharePoint install even easier than it already is and provide for much nicer SQL database names than Microsoft's tool does.

SharePoint 2010 tip 3: Upgrade
If you are upgrading rather than doing a fresh install, you have different options. I've detailed the upgrade decisions and process in an earlier InfoWorld post, but the short of it is that you can perform an in-place upgrade, do a database-attach upgrade, or go with a hybrid approach. Before you decide or your plan, you might want to run a Microsoft-provided tool called the pre-upgrade checker. The tool reports back on the status of your environment and the SharePoint sites within that environment, as well as on its upgrade readiness, alternate access mapping settings, installed elements, unsupported customizations, orphaned objects, valid configuration settings, and database requirements.

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