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					White Paper

Enterprise SharePoint Management
By NSE, Inc.

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Contents
Introduction SharePoint Landscape SharePoint Adoption SharePoint Management
SharePoint Discovery SharePoint Inventory SharePoint Governance Alert, Search & Reporting Services Data Recovery Services

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Conclusion

NSE Inc. 1145 Sanctuary Park Suite 140 Alpharetta, GA 30004 Tel: 1.770.416.6500 Fax: 1.770.416.7900 NSE and eSENSE are trademarks of NSE Inc. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. © Copyright 2007 NSE Inc. All rights reserved.

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Enterprise SharePoint Management
Managing, Monitoring and Protecting SharePoint Environments By NSE, Inc.

Introduction
Deploying collaborative business applications and online workplaces via web portals are among the most important enterprise applications currently facing IT departments. Portals have significant potential to transform how organizations do work and conduct business. Using portals, organizations can streamline processes and transactions, increase employee productivity and strengthen relationships with their customers and partners. This ranges from the simple creation of ad-hoc portal-based sites for project teams to more structured customer relationship and commerce portals. Regardless of portal type, the central focus is to easily allow internal and external communities to:   communicate and collaborate in the context of business processes they are performing; access and display the applications and information required to perform their tasks;

… and to do this in a way that is relatively seamless, contextual, secure and role-based. Microsoft’s portal strategy centers on its SharePoint collaboration technologies, which have experienced rapid adoption over the last three years. Increasingly SharePoint is seen as the de facto standard for portal deployment. By including SharePoint solutions in its Office and Windows Server platforms, Microsoft has simplified customer deployments and created huge momentum in SharePoint adoption. However, as the number of SharePoint sites spread across the enterprise, managing and protecting this environment becomes a significant technical challenge. Creating and maintaining portals of any type has broad implications across the IT infrastructure. This white paper addresses the issues facing IT departments in managing SharePoint servers and sites across the enterprise with the aim of creating a comprehensive SharePoint framework to manage, maintain, monitor and protect the entire SharePoint environment. This paper also discusses NSE’s eSENSE Bridge product and EMC’s Backup Manager for SharePoint as solutions to effectively address many of these challenges.

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SharePoint Landscape
Microsoft’s portal strategy has resulted in SharePoint products becoming one of the fastest adopted products in Microsoft’s history. The reasons can be attributed to four main areas:  Office and Windows Integration – By including SharePoint technologies within the Office and Windows Server platforms; this huge global community can easily access and evaluate SharePoint within a familiar MS Office/Outlook look and feel; Easy Early Adoption without IT – Ad-hoc groups and project teams can easily get started and productive with SharePoint by sharing documents and collaborating on tasks - most deployments start this way as SharePoint spreads without any major IT involvement; Rapid Adoption by the MS Developer Community – Microsoft’s global partner community has quickly adopted SharePoint as the portal platform standard resulting in a variety of process or workflow templates, add-on components and specialized custom services; Powerful New Product Releases – Microsoft’s recent SharePoint releases now provide powerful portal platform capabilities integrated with MS Office that are compelling to the Microsoft desktop and server community.

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SharePoint licenses are doubling approximately every 15-18 months and according to a recent Aberdeen Group Research Brief “…within the next 12-18 months SharePoint is aiming to be a core part of over 90% of portal initiatives worldwide”. The bottom line …  Portal adoption has become one of the most important enterprise initiatives within organizations and their IT departments; By integrating SharePoint portal solutions in its Office and Windows Server platforms, Microsoft has created huge momentum in SharePoint adoption; Microsoft’s strategy exploits its desktop dominance so that SharePoint portal technologies become ubiquitous and viewed as enterprise-wide collaboration and communication hubs – this strategy is clearly succeeding.

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SharePoint Adoption
For the reasons outlined above, SharePoint usage and the number of SharePoint sites can spread rapidly within an organization as ad-hoc groups and project teams setup workspaces to share documents and collaborate on tasks, often without IT involvement. This pervasiveness can rapidly get out of control as users mature in their SharePoint adoption. As a result, “site anarchy” can quickly develop impacting critical areas such as data storage, security, disaster recovery, systems integration, business processes and corporate governance. SharePoint adoption and maturity is fairly consistent within organizations and usually tracks the following three steps as shown in Figure 1 below:    Internal team sites are initially setup to share documents and collaborate on tasks; External sites are deployed that are enterprise-wide, application-oriented workplaces; Process-oriented portal frameworks are created supporting multiple business services.

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Figure 1 – SharePoint Adoption Model

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As organizations move along the SharePoint adoption curve and the number and sophistication of SharePoint sites increases, the “complexities of many” rapidly develop multiple roles, teams and communities impacting multiple business processes and requiring access to multiple application systems and data silos. While initial deployments issues are limited to content structures and site administration, this rapidly advances to more traditional IT issues such as security, storage, policy management, disaster recovery, line of business integration, process and system management. The good news for SharePoint deployments is that users can easily setup document sharing and team collaboration as basic sites… the challenge is that this ease of use quickly leads to more advanced adoption impacting all the typical IT issues listed above and requiring a more comprehensive or centralized approach to SharePoint management and administration.

Figure 2 – The “Complexities of Many”

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The ultimate aim for SharePoint deployments is to allow internal and external users, secure, role-based access to structured and unstructured data so that teams can collaborate on tasks and follow defined business processes. SharePoint addresses this by empowering users to easily setup sites in less time and at a lower cost and providing an integrated stack of technologies that satisfy all core portal capability requirements: user authentication, personalization, application integration and aggregation, search, collaboration, Web content management, workflow and analysis. For enterprise users however, the key is not to “deploy the portal site” but to provide a consistent portal framework with standard policies to create and manage potentially thousands of SharePoint sites to meet a variety of business requirements.

Why is this difficult?
The reason deployments become complex as users advance along the adoption curve can be attributed to several factors common to most organizations:       Unstructured content is still the “wild west” - most content resides on individual devices; Integrating structured data from multiple silos is complex, requiring significant IT support; Many business processes within teams and organizations are undefined or inconsistent; Users soon require access to multiple presentation layers and views via multiple devices; Communities are complex to setup and secure with multiple roles and constituents; Traditional IT issues come into play – security, storage, disaster recovery, integration etc.

To address these challenges, NSE has created a suite of products and services that enhance and simplify the management, data integration and “dashboard” functionality of SharePoint portals … we call these solutions eSENSE! The remainder of this white paper focuses on the issues related to the management and administration of these enterprise SharePoint environments.

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SharePoint Management
SharePoint and specifically the management of multiple SharePoint servers and sites can represent a significant IT challenge as usage spreads across the enterprise. Creating and maintaining this multi-tiered environment across multiple servers has broad implications across the IT infrastructure. Issues such as content sharing, security, disaster recovery, workflow and data integration can rapidly strain overloaded IT departments. These challenges continue to increase in complexity as business objectives drive demand not only for more portals, but for portals with increasingly sophisticated features that need to be rapidly created and modified. IT departments can reduce the complexity and time required to deploy and manage SharePoint portal solutions by viewing portals not as independent projects, but as an enterprise-wide endeavor. In essence, the problem is not how to deploy and maintain “the portal,” but rather how to equip the enterprise with a comprehensive framework to create, maintain and modify any type and number of SharePoint sites required to meet business needs - both now and in the future. To achieve this, IT administrators need the capability to dynamically detect and discover all SharePoint servers and sites across the enterprise. Once discovered, an inventory or catalog of all server and site attributes needs to be managed and monitored allowing full browse and drill-down capabilities. Once this information is stored and updated, administrators can define and set policies for SharePoint usage in accordance with company procedures and standards. Alerts can then be set against these policies with both standard and exception-based reporting, providing a complete view and central management of the entire SharePoint infrastructure. Finally, these capabilities must be integrated with SharePoint backup management and data recovery services.

A SharePoint Management Checklist…
     Dynamically detect and discover new SharePoint servers or sites across the enterprise; Catalog or inventory all server and site attributes including full usage analysis; Define and set corporate policies, procedures and templates into this environment; Integrate item-level backup management and data recovery services; Provide alert, search and management reporting services on all of the above.

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White Paper SharePoint Discovery
As with any software that is deployed within an organization, IT management needs the ability to detect it, catalog its attributes and report on its configuration. Performing an initial discovery of the entire SharePoint environment is critical as the number of servers and sites expand within the enterprise. Once a baseline inventory or catalog has been established, administrators require a detection capability so that they are notified when a new instance of SharePoint has been brought into the organization’s infrastructure. Typically this happens when a new SharePoint server is deployed, and a local IT administrator or line of business manager installs WSS and creates a new team site for use. The eSENSE Bridge discovery component provides dynamic discovery and detection for any instance of SharePoint that has been brought into an organization’s infrastructure. This is performed by intelligent scanning of Active Directory to determine whether a SharePoint instance is active on the server. If SharePoint is active, an eSENSE Bridge Agent can be deployed remotely to collect all attributes on the complete set of primary SharePoint nodes.

Figure 3 – SharePoint Discovery with eSENSE Bridge

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White Paper SharePoint Inventory
When a SharePoint instance is discovered, administrators need the capability to collect and inventory all of the attributes associated with that SharePoint instance from its primary nodes domains, servers, virtual servers, databases, sites, users, webs and documents. The initial collection and subsequent updating provides the baseline information for subsequent policy management, search, alerts, reporting and corporate governance. For performance and efficiency reasons any collection mechanism needs to i) establish and timestamp the initial collection of all SharePoint data; ii) compress and dispatch this collection to a central database and iii) dispatch subsequent collections as deltas to the central database. eSENSE Bridge discovers SharePoint instances and performs an object-level inventory of all attributes by deploying Agents to the SharePoint Servers to catalog and store. This provides critical information on how SharePoint is used within the enterprise and can be viewed and browsed in both hierarchical and graphical formats. The installation process establishes Agents as windows services and sets the necessary registry settings. All attributes are then collected on pre-defined time intervals and dispatched back to the central eSENSE Bridge server.

Figure 4 – SharePoint Inventory with eSENSE Bridge

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White Paper SharePoint Governance
When an inventory of the SharePoint environment has been completed, effective corporate governance should be executed through user-defined policies, alerts, search and exception reporting. This allows IT management to implement corporate standards, templates and rules regarding the creation and modification of SharePoint sites. For example this ensures that:    only approved document templates, site themes and web parts are deployed; servers and sites have been backed up according to corporate IT policies; storage thresholds are not exceeded for primary SharePoint nodes.

eSENSE Bridge uses search criteria combined with acceptable growth thresholds to form a library of user-defined SharePoint policies. Alert levels can then be applied with corresponding actions and resolutions, including email, logging, remote locking and custom actions. This information can then generate standard and exception-based reports across the entire SharePoint community.

Figure 5 – SharePoint Governance with eSENSE Bridge

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White Paper Alert, Search & Reporting Services
As with any administration system, SharePoint management requires extensible reporting and notification capabilities to monitor multiple system components such as site analysis, policy compliance and storage utilization. These reports need to provide critical SharePoint metrics and trend analyses to assist IT management make the policy decisions that govern SharePoint usage and growth. Critical to this decision-making is the ability to combine alerts, search criteria and policies into the process to supplement standard usage reports with automatically generated exception-based reporting. In eSENSE Bridge, management reporting is available through MS Reporting Services and a fully customizable eSENSE dashboard portal delivered in a role-based SharePoint environment. Users are able to view, browse and analyze metrics and trend data on all SharePoint Primary Nodes. When search criteria are established, thresholds limits can be applied that, once exceeded, trigger alerts and exception reports (using the eSENSE portal dashboard) and customized actions (using Windows Workflow Foundation). eSENSE Bridge provides a suite of standard reports and alerts typically required by most SharePoint users as well as the ability to generate user-defined reports and search criteria.

Figure 6 – SharePoint Reporting with eSENSE Bridge

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White Paper Data Recovery Services
Any discussion of SharePoint management is incomplete without including SharePoint data backup and recovery services. While SharePoint’s administrative tools are able to perform sitelevel backup and recovery, this is insufficient at both an enterprise level where backup policies need to be implemented across multiple servers and sites and at an individual site level where item or object-level recovery capabilities are required. NSE developed and launched SP Manager to support full item-level backup and recovery management for both SharePoint 2001 and 2003. This allows site administrators to selectively browse, backup and restore entire sites or individual SharePoint items on an ad-hoc or scheduled basis. In 2006, NSE signed an exclusive OEM relationship with EMC Corporation (www.emc.com) to re-brand the SP Manager product as EMC’s Backup Manager for SharePoint (EBMS). This allowed NSE to focus its effort on eSENSE Bridge as an enterprise management product to manage and monitor the entire SharePoint environment. Combining eSENSE Bridge with EBMS provides enterprise SharePoint administrators the assurance that SharePoint can be fully managed from site discovery to data recovery, across the enterprise. In this case each EBMS client can either operate as a standalone catalog instance (to schedule backups, restores, imports and exports on the local server) or as a participant in a master catalog (to perform services locally and publish jobs to the central catalog for shared use). The latter creates a searchable master catalog of all backup history throughout the entire SharePoint community by using eSENSE Bridge Agents to collect EBMS Backup History. This information is then available in eSENSE Bridge for reporting and policy management purposes. For example, a policy could be set to display all virtual servers that have not been backed up within a certain time period … or a search could be initiated to list all servers without a local backup solution with a resulting action to remotely install EBMS. Once attached to a master catalog, administrators can fully manage the entire SharePoint environment:      Backup or Restore jobs can be sent from eSENSE Bridge to a remote instance of EBMS; Backups are performed by a local EBMS instance, then published to the Master Catalog; Backups are scheduled from eSENSE Bridge for execution within a local EBMS instance; All participating EBMS logs are published and reported against in the Master Catalog; The Master Catalog is then used for all search, alert, policy and reporting requirements.

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Conclusion
Portals are an increasingly important part of the IT architecture, primarily because of their ability to pull together data and functionality from disparate sources into an accessible package tailored to the needs of users, roles, teams and communities. Microsoft’s SharePoint technologies have been rapidly adopted by offering portal solutions that can be easily created within a familiar MS-Office desktop look and feel. Initially, SharePoint sites are typically viewed as discreet, stand-alone deployments, each with a single purpose. As the number and complexity of sites increase however, IT organizations are compelled to take a broader approach to addressing the overall management of their SharePoint environments. SharePoint and specifically the management of multiple SharePoint servers and sites represent a significant IT challenge as usage spreads across the enterprise. Creating and maintaining this multi-tiered environment across multiple servers has broad implications across the IT infrastructure. Issues such as deployment, content sharing, security, disaster recovery, workflow, systems integration can rapidly strain overloaded IT departments. As a result, IT management needs to adopt a comprehensive approach to managing, monitoring and maintaining the entire SharePoint framework for both existing and new sites. This requires automated capabilities to: i) detect and discover sites as they come onto the network, ii) capture and catalog all the key data and attributes associated with each site, iii) define standard policies for site deployment and use, iv) integrate backup and data recovery services and v) provide management and exception-based reporting, search and alert services on all of the above. To address these challenges within SharePoint WSS, SPS 2003 and MOSS 2007, NSE has developed eSENSE Bridge which, in combination with EMC’s Backup Manager for SharePoint, provides SharePoint administrators the ability to manage entire SharePoint environments from site discovery to data recovery. For more information on NSE’s solutions to enhance and simplify the enterprise management, data integration and dashboard functionality of SharePoint portals, please visit www.nse.com.

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