SPTechCon SF: Joel Oleson’s ‘SharePoint 2010 Service Architecture Drilldown’

Having ended my Tuesday at SPTechCon with an advanced session for administrators delivered by Michael Noel (and having lived to blog about it), I decided to kick off today's sessions in a similar fashion.  Today's advanced admin session was presented by yet another of my Sharing the Point compatriots, Joel Oleson, who delivered a demo-centric drilldown into the SharePoint 2010 Service Apps.  As with Michael's session yesterday, I recommend grabbing a copy of Joel's deck once it's available on the SPTechCon site, as what I was able to capture of the session only scratches the surface of the information that Joel shared.

Once your farm has been set up, Joel said the next question administrators need to ask themselves is "What Services do I need to provide to a Web application?"  Once you've identified the Services you'll need, you can choose to install them using the farm Configuration Wizard or using PowerShell.  You'lll add the new Service app instance, add to the Service App Proxy or add to the default proxy group, associate a Web app to an App Service proxy group, and finally, configure the instance of the Service application

>Shifting into demo mode, Joel went into Central Admin, and pointed out the red bar at top.  Joel said it's very important that when you see the notifications in the red bar, you make sure they're things you're aware of … "don't ignore it and assume it's telling you what you already know."

Joel then provided a demo of the Configuration Wizard in Central Admin, beginning with the "daunting screen of 'what do you want to install now?'" which lists all of the available Services.  Joel recommends "that you really understand what each of these is, whether you use it or not."  As Joel explained, he recommends this because you need to be able to speak to each of them, and make recommendations and provide guidance to the business. 

For his demo, Joel chose to install Access Services.  Joel pointed out that when you look at the Services on Server list, there are additional configuration options available for many of the Services.  Clicking the name of a given Service will display the available configuration options.  Joel showed the Launcher Service Settings where you can, for example, specify a Load Balancer.

Joel then went into Application Management in Central Admin, and to Manage Access Services to manage the newly added Access Service, as there isn't yet an instance of it.  Once the instance has been created, the Service can be leveraged by Web Apps.  Joel showed that creating the instance is accomplished via the Create New Access Services Application form.  You need to provide a name ("You're going to want to call it Access Services [and a descriptor] … you'll want to add something that will give you mental hints as to what this is about"), specify an app pool, add to the default proxy list (or not – the default is yes).  Once complete, you'll see that the additional instance will have been added.

In response to a question asking whether it's advisable to use a separate app pool for each Service, Joel said that it can vary by Service and from environment to environment, but noted that "You do get a performance boost when you leverage a common app pool."

With just a quick look at the Managed Metadata Service as there was an entire session at the conference dedicated to the subject, Joel briefly showed the properties, cautioning that "It's much easier to turn things on than off," and strongly advising that, to the greatest extent possible, you not install unnecessary Services.

On the topic of supporting search, Joel said that if you're looking for high availability on a search server, "You'll want a couple of property databases and a couple of crawl databases."  Touching on the topic of load balancing, Joel suggested that "The first thing you think about offloading ought to be search."

Joel mentioned that "There are Services that are local only," and when you create these Services, they can't be published.

Providing a walkthrough of a diagram demonstrating how all of the pieces of the architecture come together, Joel candidly remarked, "If it looks complex … that's because it is."  To this end, Joel's final recommendation was that "You should spend time on blogs where smart people have figured this stuff out" and share their knowledge with the community, mentioning Spence Harbar's blog specifically as an invaluable resource.

Read our complete coverage of SPTechCon San Francisco 2011:

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