How SharePoint Farm size impacts on planning and support

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When you start new SharePoint project it's very important to understand the size of a farm you are planning to end up, because it impacts on :

  • SharePoint farm topology
  • SQL Server hardware
  • Staff needs
  • Capacity planning

SharePoint Farm Topology size

There are 3 farms topologies, you choose between - Small, Medium and Large. Your farm topology choice is usually dictated by the number of users and content your plan to use inside SharePoint.

They recommend the following values. (I would delete them on 10, actually)

  • Small farm: Typically < 50,000 users
  • Medium f : Typically < 100,000 users
  • Large farm: Typically < 500,000 users

The number of users varies depending on usage profiles, type of data being saved, and the type of hardware and network the system is deployed on.

SQL Server hardware

Determine your deployment size by using the following table:

  • If your deployment parameters are generally < than the listed values, your deployment can be considered small  - 4 GB is the minimum required memory (SQL 2005)
  • If your deployment parameters are approximately = to the listed values, your deployment can be considered medium - 8 GB is recommended for medium size deployments
  • If your deployment parameters are generally > than the upper limits of most of the listed values, your deployment can be considered large - 16 GB and greater above is recommended for large deployments
MetricValue

Content database size

100 GB

Number of content databases

20

Number of concurrent requests to SQL Server 2005

200

Users

1000

Number of items in regularly accessed list

2000

Number of columns in regularly accessed list

20

Staff needs

One commonly overlooked component of a successful implementation is staffing. Architects and administrators usually do a good job creating a bill of goods for hardware and software, but they often forget to secure funding for personnel to adequately develop and maintain a new system. SharePoint Server 2007 can consume a large amount of human resources if used to its full potential. Understand what types of dedicated personnel are required in the beginning, and start getting stakeholders' support immediately.

(Note: F = One full time person and P = One part time person.)

 

Staff position

Small farm

Medium farm

Large farm

Multiple farms

System administrator

F

F

F F

F F

Search administrator

P

F

F P

F F F

Site designer

P

F

F F

F F F

Software developer

N/A

P F

F F

F F F

Software tester

N/A

P

F

F F

SQL DBA

P

F

F

F F

Capacity Planning

The general rule is to plan for 1 RPS (requests per second) per 1000 users (on the minimum recommended hardware)

  • Small Farm (single WFE) can serve about 100 RPS
  • Medium Farm (2 WFE)  can serve about 200 RPS

Sources: 1, 2

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