SharePoint 2010 is the most recent version of Microsoft’s collaboration and document management application. Businesses may use SharePoint to be able to build as well as deploy web sites, collaboration workspaces, and document repositories, thereby enabling their employees to discuss material and acquire vital specifics. As a web-based program, SharePoint allows staff members to get in touch, work with each other, and maximize efficiency, whether they are in different corners of the same building or on different parts of the planet.

Determining The Right SharePoint Hosting Solution

Organizations can take advantage of the following SharePoint features:

Determining The Right SharePoint Hosting Solution

Integration with other Microsoft products such as Office and Exchange Server.
Hosting functionality for the company intranet, extranet, and Internet sites.
Collaboration tools to connect project teams.
Content management system tools to manage documents from start to finish and share them with the appropriate personnel.

Determining The Right SharePoint Hosting Solution

Three Choices for Implementation

Determining The Right SharePoint Hosting Solution

After deciding that SharePoint is a vital business tool, the question of implementation remains. Companies have three options: self hosting, shared hosting, or virtual dedicated hosting.

Self Hosting

Organizations could build an in-house solution for hosting and maintaining SharePoint. The advantage of this option is that the company retains complete control of the infrastructure. The IT department would purchase the hardware, create the server room, and integrate the new SharePoint solution with the office’s existing systems and applications.

The downside to self hosting is enormous cost. Companies would need to expend a lot of capital in staffing, hardware, and licensing. For instance, an average setup would include at least one dedicated server for SharePoint and possibly a second to run SQL. Each machine would typically need 8-core processors and 8GB of RAM. New equipment implies a need for additional space, including room for power and cooling systems. Furthermore, the typical business Web connection is not likely to be fast enough to handle all outside users to properly gain from SharePoint’s offerings, so an upgrade is usually necessary. In terms of software, SQL Standard Edition requires licensing for each individual user. And don’t overlook backup costs. Even for a small implementation, the standard customer is looking at $ 5,000 for the proper hardware and software to avoid data loss. If the company lacks on-site IT support staff, the fee could double due to installation fees. That being said, a company could find itself waiting weeks or months before SharePoint is fully operational.

Even after everything is installed, there is often no built-in protection from hardware failure and no clustering to ensure servers stay online, meaning that the business could possibly be confronted with additional fees to quickly fix or exchange equipment and prevent disruption of day-to-day operations.

Shared Hosting

Another option is for businesses to purchase a shared SharePoint hosting solution from a third-party vendor. The main benefit of this option is that the company doesn’t have to spend important resources and staff time to produce its own solution. There’s little capital investment, no need to stress about licensing software, managing a backup strategy, or upgrading or replacing hardware (although the hosting vendor may or may not cluster servers or provide secured server uptime). A clear strength of hosting companies is that they offer good Internet connectivity. Since the infrastructure already exists, companies can be working in a few days or weeks. Normally, the hosting firm will also supply backup services and technical support, which is a definite plus.

The downside of this option is that the hosting firm frequently uses a shared system with an active database. This configuration can intermingle data from numerous clients on a single server. There are often negative impacts on performance that each company is powerless to resolve. If the company wishes to migrate data to a new vendor, the operation is tough and error-prone, which means portability is, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent. If the company would like to integrate into their own Exchange environment, they must host it in the same place, meaning that users need to have accounts in their Active Directory and on one, distinct system. This restriction confines the company’s entry to Active Directory management tools and prevents its ability to install any third-party applications that leverage SharePoint’s highly effective capabilities.

Virtual Dedicated Hosting

A lot of companies find that the most beneficial solution is to implement a virtual dedicated SharePoint hosting solution. This choice offers the advantages of self-hosting or shared-hosting solutions while reducing the drawbacks of each. Each customer connects to a virtual dedicated server with SQL and SharePoint, with entry to Active Directory management equipment and ability to integrate their local Active Directory and Exchange utilizing a Virtual Private Network connection. Alternatively, the business can integrate an Exchange solution at the hosting company.

In simple terms, the look and feel resembles a company hosting its own SharePoint solution, supplying the desired functionality and mobility while cutting down expense and complexity. Benefits include:

No large capital investment
Simple subscription-based business model with ability to stop service at any time
Reduced licensing costs
Ability to install any 3rd party software
Option to apply SQL server to other business uses
Simple data migration if you want to move operations in-house or to another provider
Protection from hardware failures or data loss
Ability to adjust resources to improve performance
Reduced in-house IT staff burdens and costs
100% uptime (when clustered using VMware)
Excellent Internet connectivity (100Mbps or better)

Lisa Gecko is a staff writer for Infinitely Virtual.  To learn more about SharePoint Hosting, call Infinitely Virtual at (866) 257-8455 or visit: SharePoint Hosting Hub, SharePoint Hosting Lens,Infinitely Virtual’s SharePoint Hosting.

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