Architecture Diagrams

Blocking and Tackling

Now, it’s time to start “BUILDING” your portal’s foundation.   You have some of the plans and schematics from the previous phases.   In this phase, we’ll do a little more “documenting” (mind you we’re done planning and now we’re documenting instructions or “how to” content to use as building instructions).   In the end, this documentation will serve as a “reference” for your environmental settings.

More Architecture?

Well… Yes! However, this time it’s technical in nature.  In this phase, we’ll start to build a map of our logical and physical architectures.

Physical Architecture - (a.k.a. Topology) is just the layout of your physical environment.  You’ll do well to label each component with commonly needed (by the admins anyway) information, such as Server Names, IP Addresses, Server Model, RAM, etc.  Don’t worry, I’ll show you an example.    Click here to see a Medium Server farm example:

Additionally, you can click here to see an example of various topologies (This opens in Visio, so you’ll need Visio installed to view it.) that can be used with SharePoint.

Logical Architecture - is a diagram of how the “components” (physical and virtual) interact with one another.  What role does each component play?  Who can access/use this component? How is it stored?  How is it secured, etc.  This may be a separate map, or it may be a “larger” map that includes your Physical Architecture Map.

Here’s the one I use (Provided by Microsoft).  NOTE:  This sample is “all -inclusive”.  If you’re not doing one scenario that is included in this model (such as Extranet), then just remove that part of the model.

It’s important to map these out for two reasons:

  1. So you can quickly build and configure your environemnts.
  2. To use as a reference for future modifications, ramping up new technical staff, documentation, etc.

Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel:

There are TONS of samples for building everything you’ll need to build (especially if you’re still using MOSS 2007).  Don’t re-invent the wheel!  Use some other smart person’s hard work.  The examples I’ve provided above were loosely modified versions of the Visio stencils provided by Microsoft.   There are some great Visio resources for building your own stencils like these.

Here are a few resources that I like:

Visio for SharePoint – This site has loads of Visio templates to use for planning sharepoint architecture.

VisioGuy – This is a great resource for various SharePoint scenario modeling, including Architecture and Topology.

Site Hierarchies – This is a good poster for working through Site Hierarchy examples.

We will continue on this and similar topics for the next few days.  I will use several samples fromt he The VisioGuy’s web site, because I think they’re very helpful.   Hopefully, you will too!

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