SharePoint Architecture Simplified: A Guide for Beginners
SharePoint is a powerful platform developed by Microsoft that allows organizations to create websites, intranets, and collaboration spaces. It provides a wide range of features and functionalities that can be customized to meet specific business needs. In this guide, we will simplify SharePoint architecture and explain its various components.
Understanding SharePoint Architecture
SharePoint architecture consists of several layers and components that work together to provide a robust and scalable platform. These components include:
1. SharePoint Server
The SharePoint Server is the core component of SharePoint architecture. It is responsible for managing and storing data, as well as providing various services and functionalities. SharePoint Server can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud.
2. SharePoint Websites
SharePoint websites are the front-end interface that users interact with. They can be customized to match the organization’s branding and design requirements. SharePoint websites can be used to create public-facing websites, intranet portals, and collaboration sites.
3. SharePoint Services
SharePoint services are the building blocks of SharePoint architecture. They provide specific functionalities and features that can be used to enhance the capabilities of SharePoint websites. Some of the key SharePoint services include:
a. Document Management Service
The Document Management Service allows users to create, store, and manage documents within SharePoint. It provides features such as version control, document check-in/check-out, and document approval workflows.
b. Search Service
The Search Service enables users to search for content within SharePoint websites. It indexes all the content and provides relevant search results based on user queries. The Search Service can be customized to include additional search sources and refine search results.
c. Business Connectivity Service
The Business Connectivity Service allows SharePoint websites to connect and interact with external data sources, such as databases and web services. It enables users to access and manipulate data from external systems directly within SharePoint.
d. Workflow Service
The Workflow Service provides a platform for creating and managing workflows within SharePoint. Workflows automate business processes and streamline collaboration by defining a series of tasks and actions that need to be performed.
4. SharePoint Apps
SharePoint apps are additional components that can be installed and used within SharePoint websites. They provide specific functionalities and features that are not available out-of-the-box. SharePoint apps can be developed by third-party vendors or custom-built by organizations.
5. SharePoint Farm
A SharePoint farm is a collection of SharePoint servers that work together to provide a scalable and reliable SharePoint environment. It includes multiple servers with different roles, such as web front-end servers, application servers, and database servers.
Choosing the Right SharePoint Architecture
When planning a SharePoint deployment, it is important to choose the right architecture based on the organization’s requirements and resources. There are two main options to consider:
1. SharePoint On-Premise
SharePoint on-premise is deployed within the organization’s own infrastructure. It offers complete control over the SharePoint environment and allows for customization and integration with existing systems. However, it requires significant upfront investment in hardware, software, and maintenance.
2. SharePoint Online
SharePoint Online is a cloud-based version of SharePoint that is hosted and managed by Microsoft. It offers scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness, as organizations only pay for the resources they use. However, it may have limitations in terms of customization and integration.
Outsourcing SharePoint Development
Many organizations choose to outsource SharePoint development to specialized agencies. Outsourcing SharePoint development offers several benefits, including:
1. Expertise and Experience
SharePoint development agencies have extensive expertise and experience in developing SharePoint solutions. They can provide valuable insights and best practices to ensure a successful implementation.
2. Cost Savings
Outsourcing SharePoint development can be cost-effective compared to hiring an in-house team. It eliminates the need for recruiting, training, and maintaining a dedicated SharePoint development team.
3. Time Efficiency
SharePoint development agencies have streamlined processes and resources in place to deliver projects on time. They can help organizations save time and meet project deadlines.
4. Ongoing Support and Maintenance
Managed SharePoint services provided by development agencies ensure ongoing support and maintenance of SharePoint solutions. This includes regular updates, bug fixes, and troubleshooting.
SharePoint architecture is a complex but powerful framework that enables organizations to create websites, intranets, and collaboration spaces. Understanding the various components of SharePoint architecture is essential for beginners who want to embark on SharePoint development and intranet design. Whether organizations choose to deploy SharePoint on-premise or opt for SharePoint Online, outsourcing SharePoint development to specialized agencies can provide expertise, cost savings, and ongoing support.