What is a Shared Service Provider?

For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about a bit of overview. In MOSS 2007 there is this new concept of Shared Services Providers(SSP). The idea being that there are certain services that really make sense to centrally manage and share. A good example being profiles. With a SSP we can import all of the profile information from AD once and then our various web applications can consume the data. So maybe we have http://marketing and http://accounting it doesn’t make sense for each one to maintain identical profile information, they should share.

The major services that are handled by the SSP are:

  • Profiles and Audiences
  • My Sites
  • Search
  • All of Excel Services
  • All of the BDC (Business Data Catalog)

Below is an example screen shot from MOSS 2007 Enterprise:

Sometimes the easiest way to think of Shared Services is the Parent vs. Child relationship. The Parent (your SSP) goes out and does all of the work (pulling BDC data, indexing content, hosting My Sites) and the child (your web applications) come to the parents to ask for $5 (request data from the BDC, or view a calculated Excel sheet). Does that help?

Multiple SSPs

One of the most overwhelming things about SSPs for some people planning is how many should I have? It is easy to see from the interface that you are given the opportunity to create more than one. When should you do this?

As a general rule of thumb most companies will use one SSP. This is my default answer. So why do they give you the ability to run multiple SSPs? There are cases where you want separate search or profiles. The most common? Extranet/internet scenarios. Maybe your SharePoint farm hosts two primary web applications. http://portal for your intranet and http://ourcustomers for your extranet. In this scenario you probably want separate search and profiles. And now you have found the reason to have multiple SSPs. You don’t want to share information you want unique information for both.

Another advantage of SSPs

Separation of roles. In some medium and large environments it is not uncommon to have one group administering the physical server farm while another group needs to just maintain search. Well the SSP concept makes this very easy. Since the SSP is its own SharePoint site collection you can define a users access so they can NOT access central administration but they CAN access the SSP. And once they get into the SSP you can even limit them. Once inside the SSP you can determine if they can:

  • Manage user profiles
  • Manage audiences
  • Manage permissions
  • Manage usage analytics

Best I can tell if you give them access to the SSP all of the other SSP functions they will have rights to. Guess it needs more testing.

Still this separation of services from the actual administration of the server can be quite useful. Epically in companies where the less access I give a user the better.

Moral of the story

SSPs are very helpful and important to understand. They should be part of your initial planning. They can be secured at a very granular level or they can be give broad access. Just mark this topic down as something else you need to full think through before you start rolling out SharePoint. And when all else fails just have one SSP.


Shane –SharePoint Help

My TechEd Sessions With Downloads

Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to speak at a few different events and conferences. Cincinnati and New York user groups, SharePoint Advisor, and the SharePoint Information Worker Conference are the ones I can think of. As a consultant you get to talk to tables full of people sharing your knowledge and of course being a trainer I get to talk to small groups almost weekly. So you would think speaking at another event wouldn’t be all that exciting. Yeah right! Speaking at TechEd was awesome. I think the largest session had 400 people or so. I would like to tell you that I was really nervous and I had to picture everyone naked but it wasn’t like that at all.

Joel Oleson and I decided to combine all of our sessions and co-present them. You can read his report here where Dustin is the hero but I am the Hiro. Anyway, it was totally cool. I don’t know if you know either one of us but we are total goof balls and that is exactly how we presented. We had lots of fun. I am pretty sure we are the first ones ever to work a Paris Hilton joke into a 400 level session. But anyway. So quickly I will do a rundown of all of our sessions and provide a link to a pdf version of the slides.

OFC304 Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Upgrade and Migration Yeah, we had some technical issues with this one but it still managed to be rated as a top 10 session for the day and number 5 in the Office track overall. Not bad for my first TechEd presentation. If you are into upgrades this session was worth the price of TechEd admission alone. (Ok, not really but it was cool) Joel and I brought out some details of the upgrade process not spoken aloud anywhere else. And we had the guts to demo a gradual upgrade in real time. We are also working on an upgrade white paper that will finally bring together all of this content together in one place. Hooray! Don’t forget to check out the SharePoint Upgrade site.

OFC207 SharePoint Governance and Information Architecture Guidance Ok so I didn’t present this session but I did sit in the audience and heckle. 😉 Good stuff came up in this session. Governance and Information Architecture has been considered a voodoo black art in the SharePoint space for a long time. Well not anymore. Joel and his co-presenter Jennifer Hefner did a great job of exposing some best practices and new tools to help you out. Check out the Governance Codeplex site for a site recovery tool and a site lifecycle management tool. Fun stuff. And if you need help managing the creation of sites check out the Site Provisioning Assistant from SharePoint Solutions.

OFC222 Microsoft SharePoint Products & Technologies 2007: Administrative Architecture and Planning for Deployment, Part 1 This is a session the has been presented at SharePoint products for a while now. So instead of spitting out the same stuff again Joel and I decided to tweak the presentation and get some new info into it. I think it turned out well. The value though was the real world spin that we put out there on these topics.

OFC418 Microsoft SharePoint Products & Technologies 2007: Deployment & Advanced Administration Topics, Part 2 Admin goes 400 level? Yikes! I think this presentation was rewritten 3 or 4 times up until an hour before we gave it. We really struggled to try and make this thing live up to its billing. Especially since a couple hundred people followed us the half mile between the 2 sessions. Talk about poor planning our Part 1 and 2 were scheduled back to back. Which was perfect except one was in the North end of the building the other in the South. Ouch! We were huffing and puffing to make the trek. Anyway, some more new stuff in the slides. Worth a download and read. 🙂

It was really cool meeting everyone and speaking was awesome. Now I just need to get on the list to speak at one of the international Tech Eds. I here Barcelona and Australia are very cool.

Shane SharePoint Help