I’ve been on the road speaking at SharePoint events quite a bit recently (See you at Microsoft Tech-Ed next week. Booth #552) and have had dozens of conversations with folks running SharePoint internally. I am amazed at how many people don’t know that we can host Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (Soon to be known simply as “SharePoint 2010”) for them. About half say they would have taken a serious look at hosted MOSS had they known it was possible before taking it on-premise. Yes, MOSS is a big bite as most of you already know. The vast balances of folks say they are getting by, but would consider a MOSS provider like Fpweb.net at their next upgrade cycle or hardware refresh.
As I spoke to more Enterprise MOSS customers who already have SharePoint installed and running on-premise, I discovered that we can help them in a number of other ways. There are natural pain points that IT and executive teams are uncovering once they install MOSS inside their network perimeter. Other issues are creeping into the light with the recession and everyone being asked to do more with less.
Public Facing MOSS Deployments
One place where we can help internally hosted MOSS groups is with a public facing MOSS deployment. Often MOSS starts as an intranet solution. As its adoption rate and company efficiencies increase, IT and executive teams start to look at how else MOSS can help their company. Another natural implementation for MOSS is as a public facing web site. MOSS is an awesome Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. Want to manage thousands of pages? Not a problem with MOSS. In fact, we are going to manage one of our own online properties with a public facing MOSS roll out in the Fall.
So why wouldn’t I host my public facing MOSS site internally you ask? Repeat that question in front of your security and IT team and see what happens. Blood pressure may rise, sleep may be lost and facial tics born. But seriously, give any IT director the choice between physical separation of your intranet and public site and it’s a no brainer. And how about doing it 60% cheaper with no headaches? Easy peasy lemon squeezy (yes I have a 4 year old daughter – we entertain each other daily). This is one scenario where we can and often do help companies internally hosting MOSS already.
Disaster Recovery Solutions
Disaster recovery (DR) is another common scenario where Fpweb.net can help you enhance your on-premise MOSS installation. Many enterprise MOSS server farms grow and become quite mission critical. At some point, the cost of downtime and increasing risks of power outages, natural disaster and terrorism warrant a disaster recovery solution. With help from Fpweb.net, there is no need to build out more data center space or increase load on an already overwhelmed IT department.
Enterprise customers can readily replicate SharePoint data to one of our data centers. We can build out an exact duplicate of your production environment if desired. 100% uptime and high availability is within reach and can be tested periodically with cutovers from MOSS production server farms to DR farms. The DR site is often used for off-site backup archiving as well. This further increases the value of the DR site. I bet you can think of other ways to creatively use a DR site to maximize ROI.
Grow your MOSS Server Farm Laterally
The last common scenario is for those who are growing their on-premise MOSS server farm laterally and don’t want to incur the overhead of managing the additional servers. I recently had a discussion with a large University who has had great success with MOSS. So much so that they want to roll out their entire back office into MOSS as a platform and leverage it for students, administration and faculty. But here’s the rub – they have a limited IT staff and realize how MOSS is increasing in complexity. Fpweb.net has suggested several architecture options. One being to segment the farm by function into three sub-farms: student, admin and faculty. As funds become available (aka stock market rebounding and endowments return) they can add a segment and host it at Fpweb.net. In the meantime, the can continue to run what they have internally.
The last few tidbits apply to some on-premise MOSS hosted companies. Yes, we can do Active Directory (AD) integration. Federated Services is worth discussing. On-premise installation and support is available, and we have MOSS developers to customize SharePoint. I’d like to hear if there is anything else you need to keep MOSS humming, your IT staff sane and your company making money in this increasingly competitive global landscape.