Improving SharePoint 2010 Administration

 

This is a big area for SharePoint 2010. Far too often in the MOSS 2007 interface was administration settings a little bit neglected (and lets face it, the public facing sections of our systems always get more attention) but in SharePoint 2010 there are a number of massive improvements.

 

Logging & Alerts

One of the key areas for reporting is centralising the reporting and alerting interface. In this the main logging and event data sources (ULS logs, Windows Events, Performance counters for SQL , .Net Framework and  hardware resources) are going to get pulled together into a single SQL Database. The best bit is that this database will have a published open schema!

 

This allows the database to be queried and reported upon, and is expected to include full SCOM integration!

 

Managed Accounts

This is a HUGE feature for managing service accounts in SharePoint 2010. You can create specified accounts that can be used by farm administrators when setting up SharePoint services (such as Search and Timers) as well as creating new applications (such as Web Applications and the new Managed Service Applications which replace the SSP).

 

The upshot of this is that you don’t have to hand out domain accounts just so that someone can provision a new web application.

 

But that’s not it. Managed accounts can reset the password (presumably into some rediculously long strong password) and manage that password through SharePoint 2010. If you have an AD security policy for password expiry, then Managed Accounts can automatically reset the password for you, so you never have to worry about password expiry hosing some key services in your SharePoint 2010 farm!

 

Health and Monitoring

Central Admin is set to gain a whole raft of performance monitoring reports.

 

On such example is the "slowest pages" report, literally showing you the average times for the slowest pages to render.

 

You can then use the new features of the "Developer Dashboard" to show you key performance information about that page

  • Which webserver was used
  • What SQL queries were run
  • What web parts loaded (and how long they took)
  • The call-stack of code method calls
  • SPRequest allocations

 

This allows detailed analysis and rapid debugging of problems that otherwise were seen by many as a black art!

 

Failover

There is now an option for a Failover Database Server when creating Web Applications and Managed Service Applications. This effectively allows SharePoint 2010 will automatically be aware of database mirroring. If the primary SQL server dies, SharePoint will automatically re-connect to the failover database.

 

Of course, you still have to setup mirroring manually, but this is a huge boon to creating high availability systems on SharePoint 2010.

 

Restoring Data

You can now recover a list from an unattached content database. From SharePoint 2010 Central Administration you can connect directly to any content database (regardless of whether it is attached or not), and you can browse the content structure from Central Admin.

 

You can navigate the structure and export any Site or List and it will download the package straight to your computer. This can also pull in versioning and security settings!

 

There is tonnes more content to cover, and loads more sessions .. But hopefully this gives you an indication of some of the improvements that are being made in SharePoint 2010!