Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
It’s important to realize how pivotal SQL is to SharePoint. In addition to hosting
niftylooking websites, SharePoint’s real primary purpose is to store and access data from its
databases. SharePoint is really an extensive database front end. It’s all about lists (and a special
kind of list called a library , discussed in Chapter 8, “Introduction to Libraries”). Lists contain
data in records and fields (or, visually, rows and columns). Therefore, SharePoint logically
requires databases on the back end to hold all that data.
As you know, SharePoint does not necessarily need to be installed on the same server as the
databases themselves, although it can be if you need it. That is the beauty of SQL Server: it can
be accessed remotely. This means that a SharePoint server just needs to be pointed at a nearby
SQL server to create and use a database there. This is convenient for several reasons, such as
separating resources and storage, helping eliminate the SharePoint server as a single point
of failure, and scalability. If a SQL database can be accessed by one SharePoint server, then it
stands to reason that other SharePoint servers can access the same database. Being able to share
the SQL databases is what makes server farms possible. Using this approach, multiple
installations of SharePoint can be pointed to the same configuration and content databases, so they can
do load balancing and share the same consistent configuration and administration settings.
This is obviously why SharePoint requires SQL. It is also where you see a functional split
between installing SharePoint to be hosted by a single server and installing SharePoint to be
managed across a server farm. Single-server installations only need local access to a database,
and they can easily use SQL Express to accomplish that. A server farm requires a remote SQL
server that all SharePoint front-end servers can share.
You also may notice that there are a lot of references to service packs, cumulative updates,
and hotixes. At this point, Microsoft has so many products out in the middle of its release cycles,
and those products have numerous ixes and improvements, that some of the features SharePoint
requires must have underlying technologies with specific modifications applied. So, keep that
in mind if you have other technologies that share the same resources (such as SQL) but require
those modifications not be made. There may be incompatibility issues to contend with.
This version of SharePoint has greatly improved integration features with SQL, as well as
more functionality in terms of claims-based authentication, communicating with external data
sources, command-line scripting, and more. To facilitate that, this version of SharePoint has a
number of additional features and components it needs in order to function properly.
The following components can be installed (if you have Internet access) during the
installation process, by clicking Install Prerequisites on the SharePoint Foundation installation screen
Windows PowerShell 2.0 This feature is extremely important for SharePoint Foundation,
because SharePoint uses PowerShell to run a number of things in the background, and
PowerShell is swiftly replacing STSADM as SharePoint’s fundamental command-line
interface. A number of SharePoint commands and capabilities depend on PowerShell 2.0.
SQL Server 2008 Native Client Even if you’re not running that version of the server for
your databases, you need it anyway. This is used to create new applications or enhance
existing applications that need to take advantage of new SQL Server 2008 features. It’s needed to
support some new, under-the-covers database capabilities in SharePoint.
Microsoft Windows Identity Foundation Sometimes also known as Windows Identity
Framework, it extends .NET’s Cardspace support and makes it possible for SharePoint to
support claims-based, security token system authentication. It particularly supports claims-based
authentication for ASP.NET applications and Windows Communication Foundation services.