Whether you are starting a new SharePoint 2010 environment or migrating pre-existing SharePoint 2007 content, proper preparation and planning is key to building a solid collaboration platform that will grow with your organization. The most important requirement you should know before beginning is that SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Foundation 2010 will only run in a 64-bit environment. The following hardware requirements should be considered before building your SharePoint infrastructure:
Minimum Hardware Requirements
|Processor||64-bit, dual processor, 3 GHz|
|RAM||4 GB for stand-alone or evaluation installation
8 GB for single server and multiple server farm installation for production use
|Hard disk||80 GB|
Note: The minimum hardware requirements above can be found on Microsoft TechNet website at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/cc262485%28office.14%29.aspx.
One of the greatest advantages of using a 64-bit version of SharePoint 2010 is the ability to access physical memory (RAM) that is above 4 gigabytes (GB) and up to 16 exabytes (EB). 64-bit hardware can also be more responsive when running several programs at the same time and switching between them frequently because they handle twice as many bits of information in the same clock cycle than a 32-bit system. With all services SharePoint 2010 has to offer, such as Excel, Visio, Search, PerformancePoint, PowerPoint, Access, Business Connectivity, Word Automation, and InfoPath, you can understand SharePoint had to make the leap solely to 64-bit systems so that all the services could run together and have all the RAM they require for processing.
To run a 64-bit version of SharePoint, your computer must have a 64-bit processor. If you do not know if your computer or server has a 64-bit processor and meets the minimum hardware requirements for SharePoint 2010 try the following steps:
- Click on “Start” in the task bar at the bottom of your screen.
- Click on Run or Start Search.
- Type “winmsd.exe”. The “System Information” screen should appear.
- Click on “System Summary”.
- In the details pane, locate Processor under Item.
- If the value that corresponds to Processor starts with x86, the computer has a 32-bit processor.
- If the value that corresponds to Processor starts with EM64T, Intel64, or ia64, the computer has a 64-bit processor.
- If the value that corresponds to Processor contains the words “dual” or “quad” and a number above 3 GHz then your type of processor meets the minimum requirements.
- If the value that corresponds to Total Physical Memory is greater than 4 GB or 4,096 MB then your hard drive meets the minimum requirements.
- If the value that corresponds to Size is greater than 80 GB or 81,920 MB then your hard drive meets the minimum requirements.
It is important to note that Intel’s Itanium series of 64-bit processors uses a proprietary design that is not compatible with Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies. Be sure to check the processor type when you acquire hardware for SharePoint 2010.
Although your server or computer may meet the minimum requirements, this does not mean that your environment’s performance is optimized. Even if your infrastructure at first meets performance expectations, growing numbers of documents, groups, lists, and sites may increase page load times and decrease satisfaction. SharePoint 2010 farm can be deployed on a single server or many servers to create different topologies. There are three deployment tiers you can use to create your SharePoint farm to meet your company’s needs:
- In a single tier deployment the SharePoint Server and the database server are installed on the same server or computer.
- In a two tiers deployment the SharePoint Server and the database are installed on separate servers. This type of deployment would be used to create a small farm.
- In a three tier deployment there is a Web front-end server, an application server (SharePoint services like Excel, Search, etc.), and the database server are installed on different servers or computers. A three-tier deployment is commonly used for medium and large farms.
It is important to note that each deployment tier can have multiple servers. Often SharePoint deployments have multiple Web front-end server, one database server and one application server. For more information about SharePoint 2010 topology visit TechNet’s Sharepoint 2010 Topology Technical Diagram, SharePoint 2010 Topologies, and SharePoint 2010 Deployment Scenarios.
Often SharePoint deployments require multiple servers to ensure efficiency, availability, and redundancy. It is possible to have multiple web front end servers, application servers, and database servers for production, staging, and development environments. This can quickly lead to abundance of servers which may go unutilized or underutilized.
Virtualization consolidates multiple virtual environments within a single physical server sharing the hardware resources across the virtual machines. The benefits of virtualization are that it reduces hardware costs, allows for rapidly deploy new servers, increases server utilization, reduces facility costs, and extends the utility of the physical server.
Microsoft Hyper-V, Windows 7, Microsoft Virtual PC, and Microsoft Virtual Server, can virtualize a SharePoint environment. Hyper-V is the preferred Microsoft virtualization software for SharePoint servers as it runs as a bare metal hypervisor that works between the physical hardware and the operating systems in each virtual environment for greater performance and security. It is important to note that the performance difference between a physical server and a virtual environment is minimal. For more information about SharePoint virtualization visit Deploying SharePoint 2010 Hyper-V environment, Setting Up the Development Environment for SharePoint Server 2010, SharePoint Virtualization Performance, and Native VHD Support in Windows 7.
To help predict and anticipate the most cost-effective topology, hardware, and bandwidth requirements for you company, Microsoft released a SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool for IT administrators and professionals. The Capacity Planning Tool is a general purpose modelling tool that allows you to simulate and analyze different SharePoint deployment scenarios. After you provide the tool with basic information about your organization, the tool also provides an approximation of the topology your organization needs. Unfortunately, Microsoft has not released a version of the Capacity Planning Tool for SharePoint 2010 yet, however you can use the SharePoint 2007 version to give you an idea of what you need. The SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=DBEE0227-D4F7-48F8-85F0-E71493B2FD87&displaylang=en. For more information on capacity planning visit SharePoint Foundation 2010 performance and capacity test results and recommendations, SharePoint Server 2010 performance and capacity test results, FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Capacity Planning, Capacity Management for SharePoint Server 2010, and TechNet’s Performance and Capacity Management.