Microsoft SharePoint Server is a collaboration and content management application that simplifies how people store, find, and share information. It helps people to collaborate effectively by having secure access to documents and information that they require to make business decisions. The SharePoint integration feature enables you to store and manage documents on SharePoint in the context of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM record, and use the SharePoint document management abilities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, such as checking the document in and out, viewing version history, and changing document properties.SharePoint is a web application platform in the Microsoft Office server suite. Launched in 2001, SharePoint combines various functions which are traditionally separate applications: intranet, extranet, content management, document management, personal cloud, enterprise social networking, enterprise search, business intelligence, workflow management, web content management, and an enterprise application store. SharePoint servers have traditionally been deployed for internal use in mid-size businesses and large departments alongside Microsoft Exchange, Skype for Business, and Office Web Application Server; but Microsoft’s ‘Office 365’ software as a service offering (which includes a version of SharePoint) has led to increased usage of SharePoint in smaller organizations.
While Office 365 provides SharePoint as a service, installing SharePoint “on-premise” typically requires multiple virtual machines, at least two separate physical servers, and is a somewhat significant installation and configuration effort. The software is based on an n-tier service oriented architecture. Enterprise application software (for example, email servers, ERP, BI and CRM products) often either requires or integrates with elements of SharePoint. As an application platform, SharePoint provides central management, governance, and security controls. The SharePoint platform manages Internet Information Services (IIS) via farm-based management tooling.
Since the release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft’s primary channel for distribution of SharePoint has been Office 365, where the product is continuously being upgraded. “On-premises versions” are released every few years, and represent a supported ‘snapshot’ of the cloud software. Microsoft currently has three tiers of pricing for SharePoint 2013, including a free version (whose future is currently uncertain). SharePoint 2013 is also resold through a cloud model by many third-party vendors. The next “on-premises” release will be SharePoint 2016, which is expected to have increased hybrid cloud integration.
Web Applications (WAs) are top-level containers for content in a SharePoint farm, and are typically the interface through which a user interacts with SharePoint. A web application is associated with a set of access mappings or URLs defined in the SharePoint central management console, then automatically replicated into the IIS configuration of every server configured in the farm. WAs are typically independent of each other, have their own application pools, and can be restarted independently in Internet Information Services.
Service Applications (SAs) provide granular pieces of SharePoint functionality to other web and service applications in the farm. Examples of service applications include the User Profile Sync service, and the Search Indexing service. A SA can be turned off, exist on one server, or be load-balanced across many servers in a farm. SAs are designed to be as independent as possible, so that—depending on the SA—restarting an SA, experiencing an SA failure, or misconfiguring an SA may not necessarily prevent the farm from operating. Each SA enabled on the farm typically has its own process that requires a certain amount of RAM to operate, and typically also has its own configuration database and Active Directory (AD) service account. SharePoint Server and SharePoint Enterprise include all the SharePoint Foundation SAs, as well as additional SAs.
Administration, Security, Compliance
SharePoint’s architecture enables ‘least-privileges’ execution permission model.
SharePoint Central Administration (the CA) is a web application that typically exists on a single server in the farm, however it is also able to be deployed for redundancy to multiple servers. This application provides a complete centralized management interface for web & service applications in the SharePoint farm, including AD account management for web & service applications. In the event of the failure of the CA, Windows PowerShell is typically used on the CA server to reconfigure the farm.
The structure of the SharePoint platform enables multiple WAs to exist on a single farm. In a shared (cloud) hosting environment, owners of these WAs may require their own management console. The SharePoint ‘Tenant Administration’ (TA) is an optional web application used by web application owners to manage how their web application interacts with the shared resources in the farm.