Bob Gilbert

Four Steps to a Faster, Happier Microsoft SharePoint Deployment

Sharepoint2_200One customer was faxing documents back and forth rather than waiting for slow Microsoft SharePoint downloads. It's not SharePoint's fault; it's often other factors outside SharePoint involving the network. Fact is, people will drop any technology like a hot brick when the WAN slows the end-user experience.

But it does not have to be that way because Riverbed products give users the SharePoint experience they need to be productive.

Think Centralized SharePoint - We are not talking about a distributed environment in which each branch needs additional hardware and in-branch IT talentnot to mention the unavoidable complexity involved. Instead, you can get a centralized SharePoint deployment with the performance of a local setup. For that you will need a performance platform from Riverbed.

So without further ado, here are the steps for giving your users a faster, happier SharePoint deployment.

Step 1: Know what is on your SharePoint network and who is using what
Riverbed Cascade

  • Four reasons to centralize SharePoint
  • Powerful search indexesLess hardware
  • Less in-branch IT administration
  • Simplified backup processes

Start by building an accurate picture of your SharePoint landscapes. That is, understand what and who is on your networks. Cascade accomplishes this with an unrivaled speed and top-to-bottom accuracy.

  • Discover all hosts in 2- and 3-tier SharePoint farms
  • Map dependencies between web, app, and data tiers
  • Identify which users are connecting to which hosts

In addition to providing visibility into network performance to resolve users' SharePoint performance complaints, Cascade can help accelerate SharePoint deployment and re-architecture projects, while reducing outage risks and failed cutovers. Within a few hours, Cascade can discover all systems, identify server and client dependencies and locations, and show the information in a graphical, interactive format.

Step 2: Centralize and consolidate SharePoint server farms
Riverbed Steelhead appliances

Why distance causes problems
Start with the physics of traveling great distances, toss in application chattiness that causes hundreds or thousands of round trips, and you've got a recipe for slow applications.

Armed with your SharePoint map courtesy of Cascade, next it's time to make improvements by centralizing and consolidating SharePoint server farms. For this, you need to banish the performance blocks with:

  • Data deduplication
  • TCP protocol optimization
  • Streamlining chatty protocols
  • Prioritization and quality-of-service (QoS) management

The results speak for themselves:

  • SharePoint operations are up to 30x faster
  • Bandwidth utilization is reduced by up to 99%

Step 3: Managing sudden popularity
Riverbed Stingray Traffic Manager

With Steelhead appliances juicing SharePoint performance, everyone now loves collaborating, so the load increases. And traffic now spikes when, for example, the CEO asks everyone to read the quarterly results and everyone tries to download the document all at once.

To increase the throughput of that SharePoint server farm, use Stingray Traffic Manager. With it SharePoint servers can support a greater number of users. How? Stingray Traffic Manager manages those requests more efficiently, including offloading some heavy lifting and repetitive tasks from the servers themselves. That means you can support more users. Bonus: You may even be able to reduce the number of servers in the farm.

Steelhead appliances optimize the limitations of SharePoint over the WAN: limited bandwidth, the impact of latency, protocol chattiness, and QoS management

Stingray Traffic Manager addresses server availability and supports greater throughput and performance from the SharePoint server farmStingray Aptimizer dynamically tunes the content on the SharePoint webpages themselves for faster load times.

Step 4: Happiness is a faster-loading page
Riverbed Stingray Aptimizer

As SharePoint users navigate around the site they must wait for each page to loadjust like for Internet-based webpages. SharePoint components such as style sheets and images slow load times, as the browser has to fetch each piece from the server.

Stingray Aptimizera simple software installation on the SharePoint web servercan dynamically tune SharePoint pages, reducing the number and weight of those page components, leading to improved load times for SharePoint users. It's done by:

  • Merging files for fewer round trips
  • Shrinking and compressing files for less data
  • Increasing caching to reduce reloads
  • Tuning the page layout

Results:

  • Up to 76% reduction in load times
  • Up to 43% less traffic

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Riverbed delivers the most complete platform for Location-Independent Computing, turning location and distance into a competitive advantage. The Riverbed Application Performance Platform™ allows IT to have the flexibility to host applications and data in the most optimal locations while ensuring applications perform as expected, data is always available when needed, and performance issues are detected and fixed before end users notice. At more than $1 billion in annual revenue, Riverbed has 25,000+ customers, including 97% of both the Fortune 100 and the Forbes Global 100.

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