Thursday, May 20, 2010

SharePoint 2010 on SBS 2008 – Yes but why?

Susan Bradley posed a good question in a recent blog post as to why you would even consider putting SharePoint 2010 on SBS 2008. Even though it can be done as I have demonstrated recently, it isn’t a pretty process and may end up breaking a number of SBS integration components. So why would the average IT Professional even attempt it?

 

As Andy Parkes notes in the comments to Susan’s post the implementation of Office Web Apps is one reason. Office Web Apps requires SharePoint 2010 to operate so indeed if you wanted to run Office in a browser you’d need to have SharePoint 2010 installed.

 

I think the other main reason is to run Search Server Express. Previous I’d been battling away to get this operational on SBS 2008 without much luck but now I have also successfully installed in onto SBS 2008. Search Server Express provides enterprise level indexing of not only SharePoint sites but also file shares, public folders and web sites all through a familiar browser interface. I never really understood why Microsoft didn’t provide details on how to install it on SBS 2008 as I think it was a natural fit for SBS 2008.

 

Now given that it is POSSIBLE to install both SharePoint 2010 and Search Server Express on SBS 2008 the question still remains – for the average reseller – is it worthwhile? I’d have to say no. I believe it is a far better option to have a second server in the network (say a Windows Foundation Server) onto which goes both SharePoint 2010 and Search Server Express. It makes the setup easier, cleaner and provides better separation. The other question you have to ask is that if you did install SharePoint 2010 on SBS 2008 what happens when a service pack becomes available? Will it break that is there? Will there need to be a separate ‘SBS 2008’ service pack to accommodate this? Hmmmm….I think having on a second server in a ‘standard’ installation is much more robust.

 

The other issue I’ll raise about SharePoint 2010 on SBS 2008 is the fact that SharePoint 2010 typically runs on SQL Express 2008 (although installing to other SQL versions is supported). Given that most IT Professionals would prefer to install SharePoint 2010 on the SQL Express 2008 since it is free, they will face the inbuilt limitation of a 4GB database. So, if your existing Companyweb installation is greater than 4GB then you are probably going to have to install a full version of SQL before you install SharePoint 2010.

 

Again, as Susan says, I reckon you need to carefully consider that although you CAN install SharePoint 2010 on SBS 2008 whether you SHOULD in fact do it considering all the issues that it may unearth. However, if you REALLY want to at least you can, however I would still wait and see if any official guidance from Microsoft is forthcoming. I’ll certainly be putting more together about my process when I have attempted to resolve the integration issues.