Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What architecture changes in SharePoint 15 (2013) and what you to prepare as a architect?

Microsoft announced the release of the public beta for SharePoint 2013 on July 16. There are many new features introduced with some architecture changes. A recent survey of attendees to BZ Media’s SPTechCon conference revealed that, of 166 respondents, 70.5% said they do not plan to adopt the next version of SharePoint for more than a year, while 20.5% said they will adopt within a year of general availability, and 9% responded they will adopt as soon as the software is generally available.

The summary from Microsoft on SharePoint 2013 is SharePoint Server 15 enhances the workload experiences by enabling new compelling scenarios that engage and work with the user. If you are the architect for your current SharePoint 2010 team, you should be aware of the change so you could be prepared to make the decision.

In general, SharePoint 15 (2013) model has stayed same as 2010 version. However, numerous platform level improvements and capabilities listed.
  • Shredded Storage – Only update the changed content to storage
  • SQL improvement – Support SQL 2012
  • Cache Service – Distributed cache across servers to improve performance
  • Request Management – Redirect request to individual server for large farm
  • Themes – Better user interface
  • Sharing – Improve content sharing and access control

The detailed major changed are summarized in the following categories. I will not copy all the content and please refer to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 resource center for details. The detailed video and presentation will help you to understand the details. Some summary also provided by some people.

1. Service application changes
  • Office Web Apps is no longer as service application
  • Web Analytics is no longer as service application, it’s part of search
  • Other enhanced service applications
2. Enterprise Content Management
  • Site –level retention policies
  • Discover Center
  • eDiscover capabilities
  • Team folders to integrate with exchange
 3. Web Content Management
  • Support the tools and workflow designers use
  • Variations & Content Translation
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Cross Site Publishing
  • Video & Embedding
  • Image renditions
  • Clean Urls
  • Metadata navigation
4. Social
  • Microblogging – share and follow
  • Activity Feeds – view activities related to content
  • Communities
  • Discussions
  • Blogs 
5. Search
  • Personalized search results based on search history
  • Rich contextual reviews
6. Business Intelligence Enhancements

7. Mobile

8. Remove API Enhancements

When we looked at the architecture changes and major changes to us might be the office web apps and web analytics changes. There will be some design you should consider now before you run into the dead end. Here are the description, reason for change, and what you need to be prepared as architect for the two changes.

Description for change #1: Office Web Apps is no longer as service application. It is a separate application and recommended to be installed as separate farm.

Reason for change: Leverage Office Web Apps to integrate with SharePoint, exchange, Lync, and other third party application. The new architecture recommended is displayed in the screen shot.
What need to be prepared: Here are things you need to do as architect on SharePoint 2010.
If you have not deployed the Office Web Apps on SharePoint 2010 farm, serious consider NOT deploy this application unless this is absolutely needed by the business side. The critical issue for Office Web Apps installation on SharePoint 2010 is you could not un-deploy it unless to remove the server from the farm and rejoin as we discuss with Microsoft! The un-deploy will remove the servers from the farm and will take large amount time to rejoin all servers back with clean environment. Please see my previous blog for detail on the risks.

If you have Office Web Apps on SharePoint 2010 farm, you might consider removing it from the farm before the upgrade! This might be the simplest way since I’ve not heard any upgrade process.

Description for change #2: Web Analytics in SharePoint Server 2010 has been discontinued and is not available in SharePoint 2013 Preview. Analytics processing for SharePoint 2013 Preview is now a component of the Search service. Details in Microsoft site.

Reason for change: A new analytics system was required for SharePoint 2013 Preview that included improvements in scalability and performance, and that had an infrastructure that encompasses SharePoint Online. The Analytics Processing Component in SharePoint 2013 Preview runs analytics jobs to analyze content in the search index and user actions that are performed on SharePoint sites.

SharePoint 2013 Preview still logs every click in SharePoint sites and still provides a count of hits for every document. User data is made anonymous early in the logging process and the Analytics Processing Component is scalable to the service.

This analytics data is used in SharePoint 2013 Preview to provide new item-to-item recommendation features, to show view counts that are embedded in SharePoint 2013 Preview and Search Server user interface, to provide a report of the top items in a site and list, and to influence the relevancy algorithm of search.

What happens to Web Analytics after upgrade: The Web Analytics Service is not upgraded to the Analytics Processing Component in SharePoint 2013 Preview. When you upgrade to SharePoint 2013 Preview, the databases that contain the data from Web Analytics in SharePoint Server 2010 are not removed. These databases are not used by or maintained by the Analytics Processing Component in SharePoint 2013 Preview. This means that documents on sites in SharePoint Server 2010 that are upgraded will show a hit count of 0.

When you upgrade to SharePoint 2013 Preview, do not attach and upgrade the databases that contain the data from Web Analytics in SharePoint Server 2010. We recommend that you turn off Web Analytics in the SharePoint Server 2010 environment before you copy the content databases that you want to upgrade to SharePoint 2013 Preview.

Reports from Web Analytics for the top items in a site are carried forward. Reports that show browser traffic, top users of a site, and referring URL are not carried forward and are not used by the Analytics Processing Component in SharePoint 2013 Preview.

Administrative reports for the quota usage of site collections in the farm are not available in SharePoint 2013 Preview.

SharePoint 2013 Preview does not support the Web Analytics Web Part. After a farm is upgraded to SharePoint 2013 Preview, all instances of a Web Analytics Web Part will not function. The page that includes the Analytics Web Part will render and a message appears that informs the user that the Web Part is no longer supported.
What need to be prepared: You should generate a report what pages are using Web Analytics Web Part and remove them before the upgrade.You should design to utilize the new search application service and new BI functions to replace current Web Analytics functions.

SharePoint expert Chris McNulty from Quest will detail five specific actions to prepare for the future, including:
  • Establish governance today
  • Choose code-free customization
  • Perform inventory and analysis
  • Implement data externalization
  • Consolidate content
There are many other architect and design you should implement now to be prepared for SharePoint 15 (2013).


  1. Thanks for sharing the useful information. More on service application changes and social features can be found here

  2. I have just signed up for a free SharePoint 2013 site with and this article was quite helpful in understanding lot of things.