One of the reasons for Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007's popularity and rapid adoption is the fact that MOSS is a platform that provides various services from ECM, Portal, Collaboration to Search and Personalization. MOSS being a platform provides several extensibility opportunities across services - this is obvious from availability of numerous tools and templates in codeplex. As MOSS is designed to scale to thousands of users and gigabytes of data, the architecture is designed in such a way that logical components such as SSP, Web Applications, Site Collections, Sites and Libraries can be spread across multiple physical servers and databases.
Challenge that arises from such a vast platform is understanding various points of configuration. Because logical components are modeled to be hierarchical; for e.g. SSP is mapped to multiple Web Applications, Web Application has multiple Site Collections, Site Collection has multiple Sites and a Site has multiple libraries; configuration elements are spread across logical components. Moreover, most of the configuration elements, for instance - user security, content types, information management policies, etc., are inherited within hierarchy. Though documentation and knowledge base for MOSS is pretty strong - with several white papers and guides from Microsoft to several bloggers contributing periodically to the community - it takes a while to figure out where a particular configuration needs to be changed and whether it would affect other logical components.
This is my first attempt to simplify the wealth of configuration elements within MOSS by presenting a visual display of configuration element by MOSS Service. In this blog post, I have included MOSS Visual Configuration for Search. Currently this is a picture that shows various Search related configuration within SSP, Site Collections, Sites and Libraries. It helps you identify a logical component where you could define a particular configuration. For instance, Search Visibility can be defined in Site Collections as well as Sites. Configuration elements are either placed in Green box or a Maroon box (I know the colors are not exactly green and maroon, but close, please accept them as is :)). Green box configuration represents elements that can be defined or configured, whereas Maroon box represents configuration that are inherited from parent logical components and are available only for view. Please note that configuration currently is limited to logical components and does not cover physical layer components such as query servers, index servers, Ifilters and protocol handlers.
I am planning to cover most (if not every) MOSS service in subsequent post. So would like to hear from you if this is something useful. Also send me any feedback that you may have.
Click on the link for larger image.