Considerations when installing or upgrading SharePoint
This means you should be cautious about installing SharePoint on a server wher
e other Web sites are in operation.
SharePoint’s email features can conflict with Exchange. Always back up a production server before installing SharePoint. There are workarounds to enable SharePoint to run alongside other Web sites. In particular, you can define alternate access mappings for SharePoint sites in the Operations tab of the Central Administration site. In IIS administration, you can set a Host Header value in the Properties for the Web site that direct traffic matching the host header to the SharePoint site. You also need to configure a local DNS server to map the alternate host name to the server. Another idea is to set sites to use different ports, though this is less convenient for users.
Small Business Server is a special case, since its administration tools already use IIS, and the pre-installed forms the CompanyWeb intranet site. For Small Business Server 2003, you can install WSS 3.0 alongside WSS 2.0 by using a different port number; see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc671966.aspx.
Similar problems apply when contemplating a MOSS installation on SBS. The general advice is not to attempt this on the main server, but to set up a second server in the SBS domain. The truth is that Microsoft designed SharePoint primarily to be installed on a dedicated server. A virtual server is a possibility, though MOSS is resource-hungry. Installing SharePoint on Server 2008 requires WSS or MOSS with Service Pack 1.
Creating suitable accounts for running various SharePoint services is critical for multi-server SharePoint installations. Single server installations are easier to manage, though it is still important not to use accounts that have excessive permissions. The account used for content search is configured in Search Settings in the Central Administration site, and must have read permissions for all the content it is crawling across the network. Microsoft has guidance at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc288210.aspx.
Backup and restore
Setting up a system to back up and restore SharePoint is critical, bearing in mind that content stored there is usually essential to the business. SharePoint stores content in SQL Server as well as in the site itself. There is a useful white paper discussing the options, including disaster recovery, at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262129.aspx. Note that Server 2008 needs a registry change before the built-in backup and restore works properly: follow the instructions at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/946306.
Planning the information architecture
Although SharePoint is technically complex, it is the business aspect that is more challenging. SharePoint is not only a document repository, but also an intranet, a collaboration tool, and a workflow and application platform. It can also be used behind a public Web site. Even focusing solely on documents raises many issues. How many document libraries are needed, how should they be organised, and what permission groups are required? Where should versioning and check-in, check-out be enforced? Should users be encouraged to save all documents in http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/946306, or if not, what is the guidance? What are the audit and data retention issues?
Further reading on these issues is in two weighty documents from Microsoft: Planning and Architecture for Office SharePoint Server 2007 (parts 1 and 2). Find them at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262757.aspx and spend the time with your customer to understand the business processes they need SharePoint to support.
WSS licensing is covered by Windows Server licences and CALs (Client Access Licenses). MOSS is a separate product with its own license and CALs. There are standard and enterprise editions, and add-ons like Forms Server which have separate licensing. Publishing a SharePoint site on the Internet requires a further licence. Microsoft’s official guide is here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointserver/FX101865111033.aspx. John Stover has a blog post with several example scenarios here: www.stovereffect.com/post/2008/03/25/Microsoft-Office-SharePoint-Server-2007-(MOSS)-Licensing-and-Configuration-Scenarios.aspx.