Demystifying SharePoint Architecture: Everything You Need to Know
SharePoint is a powerful platform developed by Microsoft that allows organizations to create, manage, and share content and applications. It is widely used for building intranets, websites, and collaboration portals. SharePoint offers both on-premise and online versions, providing flexibility for organizations to choose the deployment option that best suits their needs.
SharePoint Architecture Overview
The architecture of SharePoint is designed to provide a scalable and flexible platform for organizations to build their intranets, websites, and collaboration portals. It consists of various components that work together to deliver the desired functionality.
1. SharePoint Server
The SharePoint Server is the core component of the SharePoint architecture. It provides the foundation for all other components and services. The server hosts the SharePoint databases, web applications, and site collections. It also manages user authentication, security, and permissions.
2. Web Applications
Web applications in SharePoint are used to host site collections. They provide the interface for users to access SharePoint sites and content. Each web application has its own configuration settings, such as authentication methods, security policies, and resource quotas.
3. Site Collections
Site collections are a collection of SharePoint sites that share the same settings, permissions, and content databases. They provide a logical structure for organizing and managing content within SharePoint. Site collections can be created for different purposes, such as departmental sites, project sites, or team sites.
Sites are the building blocks of SharePoint. They are used to create and manage content, such as documents, lists, and libraries. Sites can be customized using web parts, workflows, and other SharePoint features to meet specific business requirements.
5. Lists and Libraries
Lists and libraries are used to store and manage data in SharePoint. Lists are used for structured data, such as tasks, contacts, or calendar events. Libraries are used for storing and managing documents and other files. SharePoint provides a wide range of list and library templates to choose from, or organizations can create their own custom templates.
SharePoint Deployment Options
SharePoint offers two main deployment options: on-premise and online.
In an on-premise deployment, organizations install and manage SharePoint servers on their own infrastructure. This gives them full control over the hardware, software, and security of their SharePoint environment. It also allows for customizations and integrations with other systems. However, on-premise deployments require significant upfront investment and ongoing maintenance.
SharePoint Online is a cloud-based version of SharePoint that is hosted and managed by Microsoft. Organizations can subscribe to SharePoint Online as part of the Microsoft 365 suite or as a standalone service. This option eliminates the need for organizations to manage their own infrastructure and provides automatic updates and scalability. However, it may have limitations in terms of customization and integration options.
Intranet Design and Development
SharePoint is widely used for building intranets, which are internal websites that provide employees with access to company information, resources, and collaboration tools. Intranets can be designed and developed using SharePoint’s built-in features and templates, or organizations can opt for custom intranet development to meet their specific requirements.
1. SharePoint Intranet Templates
SharePoint provides a range of pre-designed intranet templates that organizations can use as a starting point for their intranet design. These templates include features such as news feeds, document libraries, employee directories, and collaboration spaces. Organizations can customize these templates to match their branding and add additional functionality as needed.
2. Custom Intranet Development
For organizations with unique requirements or complex business processes, custom intranet development may be the best option. This involves designing and building a fully customized intranet solution using SharePoint’s development tools and APIs. Custom intranets can be tailored to specific business needs and integrated with other systems and applications.
Outsourcing SharePoint Development
Many organizations choose to outsource their SharePoint development to specialized agencies or service providers. Outsourcing SharePoint development offers several benefits, including access to expertise and experience, cost savings, and faster time to market.
1. SharePoint Development Agency
A SharePoint development agency specializes in building SharePoint solutions for organizations. They have a team of experienced SharePoint developers who can design, develop, and deploy custom SharePoint solutions. Working with a SharePoint development agency can ensure that organizations get the most out of their SharePoint investment.
2. Managed SharePoint Services
Managed SharePoint services provide ongoing support and maintenance for SharePoint environments. This includes monitoring, troubleshooting, and performance optimization. Organizations can outsource the management of their SharePoint environment to a managed services provider, allowing them to focus on their core business activities.
SharePoint architecture is a complex system that provides organizations with a powerful platform for building intranets, websites, and collaboration portals. Understanding the different components and deployment options of SharePoint is essential for organizations to make informed decisions about their SharePoint strategy. Whether organizations choose to use SharePoint’s built-in features and templates or opt for custom development, SharePoint offers a flexible and scalable solution for their content and collaboration needs.