With the SharePoint 2010 release, Microsoft is providing new features to make SharePoint administrators’ lives easier. Targeting your needs and previous pain points, these features should allow for additional flexibility in how you manage your farms.
1. Windows 7 Development
SharePoint 2010 can be installed on a desktop running Windows 7. This should help prevent the increasing requests for new virtual machines(VMs) loaded with server OSs to maintain and troubleshoot. However, this could make finding rogue instances of SharePoint more difficult, so plan accordingly.
2. Large List Capability and Management
Lists and document libraries will not only scale significantly better but also allow much tighter control by administrators. You can set thresholds for maximum records returned in queries and choose whether to let developers override controls during direct API calls or not. You can also specify time windows when large queries are enabled, to allow heavy resource usage during off hours.
3. R.I.P. Shared Services Provider
The SSP is no more. Microsoft took a giant step forward from SharePoint 2007 with a true service-oriented architectural approach. In place of the SSP, you’ll find a much more open and flexible option for allocating services to specific servers or even farms, as well as a blueprint for building your own custom services.
4. SharePoint Designer 2010
Among the many updates to SharePoint Designer are some that make life easier for SharePoint admins. You now have better control over who has design rights on sites. Workflows built in Designer can now be deployed and reused, negating the requirement for building against production systems. And you can now save site templates as WSPs for packaging and deployment, instead of as STP files.
5. Sandboxed Solutions
Admins no longer need fear developer code or third-party solutions. WSPs, if written properly for the sandbox, can now be deployed by site collection administrators. These solutions run in their own worker processes and can be managed and throttled by farm administrators. This saves valuable deployment time and spares admins sleepless nights of questioning what they just installed and unleashed on their farms.
6. SharePoint Workspace
Groove is gone: In its place is a new synchronization tool designed specifically to help workers maintain their documents in SharePoint. Previously, remote users had to use third-party options, keep duplicates, or use Groove. Now, more user-friendly synchronization lets users take entire sites offline with them and keep their documents and data within SharePoint even with limited connectivity.
7. Office Web Apps
We have all been waiting for real-time web-based Microsoft Office documents to support simultaneous multi-user editing. This was a consistent request for SharePoint admins who had very limited options prior to SharePoint 2010.
8. Centralized Metadata Management
In SharePoint 2007, your metadata lives and is managed via columns, site columns, and content types—all at the site collection level. In SharePoint 2010, metadata /taxonomy and content types can be stored and managed centrally. The change allows for single-sourcing of enterprise data and offers significant flexibility when designing farm architecture. Without limiting all this data to a single site collection, there are many more options for scaling your implementation while still enforcing corporate data at each level.
9. Detached Recovery
Remember trying to get a small subset of backup data from a non-production content database or backup? Without third-party software, trying to restore a site from a previous backup required some overhead. Now, you can use Microsoft SQL Server snapshots or detached-content databases and browse them via SharePoint 2010 Central Administration or the API. You can choose to export site collections, sites, and lists from these databases and import them into another location. As an added bonus, the backup utilities built into Central Administration also support granular backups of site collections, sites, libraries, and lists individually, instead of using the “entire database” approach.
10. Windows PowerShell
Did I save the best for last? Until now, admins have been shackled by STSADM or the UI to get most of their work done. With PowerShell, you have the relative ease of scripting combined with the power of the SharePoint API, STSADM, and even custom cmdlets written by administrators, developers, or third parties. This freedom opens up some significant improvements for common deployment and maintenance tasks previously not afforded administrators.