‘Deploying Office 2010 & SharePoint Server 2010’ at Microsoft’s Launch 2010 Event in Washington, D.C.

Microsoft Launch 2010 logo

After the lunch break, Dan Stolts picked up where his Planning for Office 2010 & SharePoint Server 2010 session at Microsoft's Launch 2010 Event had left off, presenting his session on Deploying Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010.  Dan began by saying that the agenda for this session would have two components: desktop deployment ("which translates to Office," as Dan put it), and server deployment ("which translates to SharePoint").

Dan then took a few moments to underscore the two objectives for the day's event: first, "To provide an overview of what's out there [in 2010]" so you can decide if you want to investigate further, and second, for those who already know they're going to be migrating to 2010, to "provide some nuggets" to get you started.  It was the second objective that applied directly to Dan's session on Deployment.

Beginning with Office 2010, Dan said that there are three components to successful configuration and deployment: build package, control environment, and deployment itself.  For the build package component, Dan recommends the Office Customization Tool (OCT), a free download from Microsoft which "allows you to automate your deployment."  Regarding the control environment component, Dan strongly recommends that you enforce a system-wide policy for the deployment.  Finally, regarding the deployment itself, Dan said that there are a number of methods for delivering install packages.  Guidance for each component of a deployment is available via a number of resources including the Office Resource Kit (ORK), security guide, TechNet community, and TechNet resource centers.

Discussing the options available for delivering install packages, Dan discussed the following: network share, Group Policy start up, scripts, System Center Configuration Manager, application virtualization, and presentation virtualization.  Dan went into the advantages and limitations associated with each method, and those details are available in the slides from his presentation, available here.  Dan then went on to demonstrate the network share method of deployment using the OCT.  Dan walked through the step-by-step pre-customization process using the OCT Wizard before talking through some of the other methods, including a brief demo of Group Policy Admin Templates.

Moving on to the SharePoint Server 2010 portion of the program, Dan began with an overview of the different sizes of SharePoint farms (and the components typically included in each), from single-server farms for up to a hundred users to large farms which can be scaled to support even the largest worldwide organizations.  Regarding the deployment options available for your SharePoint deployment, Dan discussed three options: In-Place, DB Attach, and a hybrid of the two. 

Dan explained that advantages of the In-Place method include that "farm wide settings are preserved and upgraded" and "customizations are available in the environment after the upgrade, but limitations include the fact that "servers and farms are offline while the upgrade is in process," and "the upgrade proceeds continuously."

Advantages of the DB Attach method include that you can "upgrade multiple content databases at the same time," and you can "combine multiple farms into one farm," but limitations include that "the server and farm settings are not upgraded," "customizations must be transferred manually," and more which are available in Dan's presentation slides.

Advantages of the hybrid approach, which Dan explained is the method that is most commonly used, include that "farm wide settings are preserved," "customizations [are] already in place," "multiple content databases at the same time," and more, but limitations of the hybrid approach include that it's "labor intensive," "x86 is a lot of work," "existing hardware may need replacing" and more, available in Dan's presentation slides at the link included above.

Read the entire Microsoft Launch 2010 Event in Washington, D.C. series:

For further reading, the complete slide decks from all of the Launch 2010 sessions are available as free downloads under the "Presentation Materials" heading on the Office 2010 and SharePoint Launch resources page at TechNet.

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