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How to overcome SharePoint performance headaches

John Moore | April 4, 2013
Some companies are rolling out third-party storage systems that move large data sets off SQL Server.

Metalogix offers a Replicator product that lets customers periodically replicate content to an offsite location or the cloud.) Lo notes that Kattelo uses Replicator to send data to a site in the Midwest-far from the Bay Area fault line. "Because the entire project lifecycle is in SharePoint, this is really a mission-critical system for us," Lo says. "We cannot afford any downtime."

Indeed, high availability is emerging as a SharePoint concern as more content gravitates to a single system.

"Customers can't afford to have all of the data, which now becomes sort of a central point in the enterprise, sitting on a single server as a kind of sitting duck to be shot," says Momchil "Memo" Michailov, co-founder and CEO of Sanbolic, which makes software for clustered SQL Server deployments. "It's not a question of if a server is going to fail, it's a question of when."

Sniffing Out SharePoint Performance Problems

Identifying the specific performance issues with SharePoint presents a challenge, given the infrastructure components involved. Some customers are now using application performance management (APM) tools to zero in on problem areas that impede smooth operations.

Winebow, a Montvale, N.J. wine importer, started using ExtraHop Networks APM technology late last year. Daniel Basile, IT help desk manager at Winebow, say ExtraHop has helped the company uncover database issues impacting SharePoint.

Winebow, at one point, was running SQL Server (for the SharePoint database), Microsoft Dynamics and a Symantec Enterprise Vault database on the same server. Winebow found that Symantec Enterprise Vault was generating error messages and decided to move the system off the server and onto another machine.

Moving Symantec to its own SQL Server improved SharePoint performance. Winebow got another boost when ExtraHop helped uncover a problem with its SharePoint application server. Office documents were taking 30 seconds to a minute to open. That issue was traced to antivirus software running on the same server and exclusions not being set correctly. "ExtraHop...helped put us in the right direction to where the problem was coming from," Basile says.

Erik Geisa, senior vice president for marketing at ExtraHop, suggests that such insight will become increasingly important now that SharePoint is central to how some enterprises operate. He said corporate constituents from HR to product development are rolling out the technology: "SharePoint grows like a weed."

The task for IT managers is to make sure SharePoint doesn't grow out of control, hindering the very productivity it intends to foster.


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