Sharepoint at home: few learned tips to share


Like few geeks at Microsoft, I host my own server infrastructure at home. Even if wife and sons do everything they can to bring it down (like complaining on the noise, or tearing the cables), I maintain this up and running, playing and learning a lot.

In my infrastructure, I host my a MOSS 2007 server, among a wide variety of services. With these few years of experience, I can share some basics that could be helpful to anyone dealing with SharePoint.

#1 tip: Balance the heavy loads operations

I realized that the server sometimes become noisy for hours. It hosts File Server, SQL server and MOSS server “roles”. Being noisy means getting an heavy load (as the CPU fan raises to 100% speed).

By order if importance, it becomes heavy loaded because of:

  1. SharePoint crawling & indexing (Full)

  2. SharePoint crawling & indexing (Differential)

  3. Antivirus scan

  4. Data Backup (on backup disks) and replication (to a NAS)

  5. Defragmentation

  6. Other SharePoint timer jobs (like User profile import, Usage statistics processing, etc.)

So, here’s my little tip: plan and monitor these operations carefully. Schedule them during the night, among different nights& time.

I decided to use a week time slot to perform all of them + a weekly reboot (.....argh !).

Sure, this feedback looks obvious, but scheduling all these, without cutting the service to the users, and not overlapping long processes needs planning.

I only host few TB of data, and do not use a SAN, but the optimization of these operations took me some efforts (estimating/monitoring the respective durations and finding the optimal start hours) and saved me performance issues and family headaches: now the machine is noisy when everyone sleeps – normally.


#2 tip: Maintain your SharePoint Databases

Managing my server empty space, and monitoring my folders sizes, I realized that the SQL Log folder was becoming quite huge after few weeks of SharePoint use, as this explorer view confirms:

The SharePoint site collections were hosting few MB of data, and the SQL Log folder was huge: many GB! What happened here?

My surprise was to discover that more than 90% of this space (25 GB here!) was used by the Central Administration related DBs log files. As you can imagine, I don’t create Gigs of data in the Central Admin!

So, another tip here: manage your DBs. Backup DBs and shrink Log files.

That’s not natural for SharePoint admins’, as they often are not DBAs.

Use the “Maintenance Plan Wizard” of SQL server 2005/2008 to set this up:

More information:

Hope these feedback may help.

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P.S.: Just to share how “not” obvious some of those things are, one of my customer spent hours to understand why the usage statistics were not available in its SharePoint. After a close study of the settings and the Event viewer messages, I realized he was rebooting the farm servers when the timer job was starting to process the statistics. I saved him a call to MS support !

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