The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

SharePoint – Made for the WAN?

Posted by riverbedtest on June 18, 2009

These days, about one in three companies that I talk to use Microsoft SharePoint in at least one part of their organization. Some have made it the central source of information for their business; others are still exploring how to effectively use it. Regardless of the size of the deployment, however, it seems that performance is consistently a problem. Why is that?

SharePoint, unlike legacy Microsoft applications, was specifically written with the WAN and the Internet in mind. (In fact, if you head over to Microsoft TechNet, you can find an article called "Optimizing Office SharePoint Server for the WAN.")

Microsoft makes a nod to WAN optimization devices in general, but doesn't really talk about the extended benefits of WAN optimization. I think that ESG does a nice job of combining some of their own survey results on SharePoint with some impact analysis in their recent paper, "Why SharePoint Needs WAN Optimization Solutions."

The crux of ESG's paper is that currently SharePoint deployments are proliferating in a somewhat uncontrolled manner throughout organizations – whenever a site wants to use SharePoint, they deploy a local instance. In fact, they report that about 75% of organizations surveyed have deployed SharePoint in more than one physical location!

Instead, according to ESG, organizations should consider running it all centrally and using WAN optimization to provide the needed performance to distributed users everywhere. The end result is potentially significant cost savings by avoiding distributed systems and management. Again, based on their survey results, a majority of respondents said that with WAN optimization they experienced improved response times and more reliable data access.

We've seen organizations like Avanade, who are specialists in SharePoint, adopt WAN optimization as a key element for SharePoint, and I believe it will become more prevalent for organizations to design SharePoint systems with WAN optimization in mind. What about your organization? Do you think WAN optimization would significantly change the way you use SharePoint? Let me know your thoughts.


3 Responses to “SharePoint – Made for the WAN?”

  1. RAM said

    I think that Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is an integrated suite and it has many capabilities and works well for my organization. It gives me various facility like content management and enterprise searching for business improvement.

  2. RAM, thanks for the comment. I agree with you that SharePoint is a powerful tool for more organizations who adopt it effectively. I do think, however, that the performance issues of SharePoint over the WAN can often limit its use, or possibly worse, cause the product to be deployed as separate instances in different locations. If organizations tie their SharePoint deployment to a WAN optimization deployment, they could avoid those issues by accelerating SharePoint access to remote offices as well as mobile workers.

  3. You may remenber the four proverbs:
    To know oneself is true progress.
    Too much familiarity breeds contempt.
    Too much knowledge makes the head bald.
    Too much praise is a burden.

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