Thursday, July 26, 2012

Your chance to win free copies of Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Business Application Blueprints

I have two copies of Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Business Application Blueprints to give away to two lucky winners.

How you can win:

To win your copy of this book, all you need to do is come up with a comment below highlighting the reason "why you would like to win this book”.

The contest is valid until the end of July, and is open to everyone. Winners will be selected randomly on the basis of their comment posted below.


Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Business Application Blueprintsis written by Mike Oryszak, and  highlights details on building SharePoint solutions based on real-life scenarios that you will encounter within your own organization or at your customers. These scenarios range from building an engaging community site to building a site directory with SharePoint search. It is written in an easy-to-understand style and is targeted at SharePoint developers, consultants, and administrators who want to
build a range of SharePoint solutions that extend the SharePoint platform, and see how to apply the many available SharePoint features in different business scenarios.

Chapter outline:

  • Chapter 1, Building an Effective Intranet: An Effective Intranet Site for your  organization that maximizes the site's ability to aggregate content and is highly effective at communicating important messages.
  • Chapter 2, Building an Out of Office Delegation Solution: A Workflow Out of Office Solution that allows users to manage their out of office dates and automate task assignments to a delegated resource.
  • Chapter 3, Building an Enterprise Content Management Solution: An Enterprise Content Management solution designed to support large scale document repositories with
    the ability to route documents automatically between site collections based on metadata attributes along with custom solutions for surfacing the relevant content.
  • Chapter 4, Building an Engaging Community Site: An Engaging Community Site including custom features that can be used to enhance collaboration and provide an information sharing system.
  • Chapter 5, Building a Site Request and Provisioning System: A Site Request and Provisioning System that supports automated site provisioning for user requested sites in a way that supports complex dynamic feature activation and configuration.
  • Chapter 6, Building a Project Site Template: An overview of the template methods available with SharePoint along with a detailed approach for creating web templates in order to create a project site template to support project initiatives and track Issues, Tasks, and Contacts.
  • Chapter 7, Building a Project Management Main Site: A Project Management Main Site demonstrating a solution that can aggregate the key metrics and status information
    from the project management sites created in the previous chapter.
  • Chapter 8, Building a Task Rollup Solution: Create custom Web Parts that can aggregate tasks from the specified sites.
  • Chapter 9, Building a Site Directory with SharePoint Search: Solutions to leverage SharePoint Search to provide an optimized experience making it easier for users
    to search and discover relevant sites.

10 things you should know about BLOB externalization in SharePoint

  • Every file which is stored in SharePoint is stored in the SQL Server database as a Binary Large Object (BLOB). SQL database storage needs high IOPS (input/output operations per second) and low latency. This combination means that this is typically expensive storage.
  • Around 95% of many SharePoint databases is BLOB data
  • It is however possible to take these BLOBS out of the SQL database and store them somewhere else – this is something called blob externalization.
  • There are two APIs available in SharePoint for blob externalization – commonly referred to as EBS and RBS
  • SharePoint External BLOB Storage ( EBS) – an API which was specifically written for SharePoint Server 2007 and which was shipped with Service Pack 1 of SharePoint Server 2007. EBS is supported by both SharePoint Server 2007 and SharePoint Server 2010. Do note that EBS is being deprecated and is likely to be removed from the next version of SharePoint Server. There can only be one EBS provider per SharePoint farm.
  • SQL Remote Blob Storage (RBS) is an API which came available with SQL 2008 R2 Feature pack. It is not unique to SharePoint but is available to any application. You can build your own RBS provider library (and most third party storage optimization tools have done this) and Microsoft also did this by building a provider named the FILESTREAM provider  which can externalize Blobs to local storage.
  • The SQL FILESTREAM feature can only use local storages. Therefore RBS FILESTREAM Provider has the same limitation. 3rd party RBS Providers do not have this limitation if they are not leveraging SQL FILESTREAM feature. (See FAQ: SharePoint 2010 Remote BLOB Storage (RBS)
  • Externalizing BLOBs from SharePoint will not only save you money by moving into tiered storage but will also increase the performance of SharePoint. In a typical real-world collaborative environment Microsoft reports a 25 percent performance increase with BLOB externalization. Check out this white paper for more details - SQL Server RBS performance with SharePoint Server 2010 and StorSimple Storage Solutions .
  • Performance improvements increase as the size of files increases. Microsoft research indicates that if files are smaller then 256 KB – SQL storage will out perform, above 1 MB the file system will provide better performance. Check out Plan for RBS (SharePoint Foundation 2010) for more details
  • Also remember that when you externalize BLOBs, you  architecture might become more complex. After you externalize BLOBs, you must consider the BLOB store in plans for backup, restore, high  availability, and disaster recovery. Here, the story can be complex, but doesn’t have to be.

Reference links:

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to connect to Hotmail using Outlook 2013 Preview

In Office 2013 the Microsoft Office Outlook Hotmail connector is not supported anymore instead you should be using Exchange ActiveSync. You should follow these steps to connect Outlook 2013 to Hotmail:

  • Select Manual setup or additional server types when adding your Outlook accounts
  • Next select “Exchange ActiveSync”
  • For server name use
It works like a charm

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Results of first Belgian SharePoint User Adoption Survey

A couple of months ago two university students organized a survey around SharePoint User Adoption in Belgium. The results are now in and with over 130 respondents it gives a interesting view upon how SharePoint deployments are perceived in Belgium. The full report is only available in Dutch but here are some interesting facts and numbers that I want to share:

  • The majority of the respondents are satisfied with the deployment of SharePoint within their organization (73 % indicates to be satisfied or very satisfied)
  • SharePoint is used in organizations of all sizes within Belgium – 56% of the respondents are however working in organizations of over 1000 employees.
  • 44,3% of respondents have been using SharePoint for over 5 years and another 37,1% of the respondents have deployed SharePoint between 3 and 4 years ago.
  • 68% of the respondents are using SharePoint Server 2010 which points at a relatively high adoption rate.
  • 71,8% of respondents are using SharePoint enterprise wide
  • Document management functionality underused – still considered as a collaboration solution.
  • The three most challenging issues with SharePoint implementations are the following:
            • Limited governance policies, coordination and commitment (17,06%).
            • (Lack of) end user adoption and training (17,61%). This is again re-iterated when 55,7% of respondents answer that there is no (formal) SharePoint training program in place.
            • Limited or lack of SharePoint strategy in business or IT (16,46%)
    • Cloud-based/hosted deployments still seem very limited – only 23,8% of respondents indicate that they have deployed a cloud based solution or that they are thinking about implementing a cloud based deployment of SharePoint. 38% indicates that they will not implement a cloud based solution due to specific limitations and another 28,6% answer that they deployed SharePoint on-premise and that they are not considering moving to a cloud-based/hosted solutions.

The full report is available as well – Onderzoek naar de tevredenheid en implementatie van SharePoint in BelgiĆ« (Available in Dutch only)