About performance and capacity planning (Office SharePoint Server)

Updated: April 23, 2009

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

This Office product will reach end of support on October 10, 2017. To stay supported, you will need to upgrade. For more information, see , Resources to help you upgrade your Office 2007 servers and clients.


Topic Last Modified: 2016-11-14

This chapter walks you through the process of determining the hardware requirements for a single farm. It identifies the characteristics that will impact your performance and capacity requirements and provides recommendations for the following:

  • Number of server computers in the server farm.

  • Configuration of application server roles in the server farm.

  • Hardware requirements for specific server roles in the server farm.

Your capacity planning process should include a testing program for the characteristics specific to your environment. Due to the variety of factors that can impact performance and capacity in a given environment, testing is a crucial step in establishing the characteristics of your environment.

This chapter assumes that you have already used the Plan for redundancy (Office SharePoint Server) article to plan for availability requirements. As a result of using the "Plan for availability" article, you will start the capacity planning exercise with a topology that meets your organization's minimum availability requirements. Given the topology you have determined you will deploy, this chapter will help you determine:

  • If you need to add additional servers to meet your goals for capacity and performance.

  • If you need to adjust the configuration of application server roles to optimize capacity and performance of the server farm.

  • If you need to plan for more than one server farm based on your capacity requirements.

In some cases, an organization's requirements for availability can result in a server farm size that provides greater capacity or performance than is otherwise required. If this is the case, your capacity planning process can focus on sizing the server hardware economically, rather than on adding additional server computers or scaling up with higher-performing hardware.

In many cases, the topology that meets an organization's minimum availability requirements is used as a starting point and server computers are added or scaled up to meet capacity and performance goals.

Although Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 can be deployed on 32-bit servers, Microsoft recommends that you employ 64-bit servers in Office SharePoint Server 2007 farm deployments. The guidance presented in this guide is based on testing conducted on 64-bit servers. Therefore, if you are planning to deploy to 32-bit servers, you should perform additional testing on the 32-bit servers in your environment. The best practices and performance trends in this guide will still generally apply to 32-bit environments, but actual results may vary.

The 64-bit system architecture has several characteristics that contribute to superior server scalability and performance:

  • Memory addressability   A 32-bit system can directly address only a 4-GB address space. Windows Server 2003 SP1 running on a 64-bit system architecture supports up to 1,024 gigabytes of both physical and addressable memory.

  • Larger numbers of processors and more linear scalability per processor   Improvements in parallel processing and bus architectures enable 64-bit platforms to support larger numbers of processors (up to 64) while providing close to linear scalability with each additional processor. Server platforms that offer more than 32 CPUs are available exclusively on 64-bit architecture.

  • Enhanced bus architecture   The bus architecture on current 64-bit chipsets is faster and wider than earlier generations. More data is passed to the cache and processor; this is somewhat analogous to the improvement that broadband connections offer over dial-up connections.

For more information on deploying Office SharePoint Server 2007 on 32-bit servers, see Tune Web server performance (Office SharePoint Server).

Due to the richer set of features included in Office SharePoint Server 2007, a more robust server environment is needed to maintain the performance benchmarks you have established with SharePoint Portal Server 2003. You will probably find that, unless your current SharePoint Portal Server hardware is quite current and has substantially greater resources than required to support your current environment, your Office SharePoint Server 2007 deployment will require upgraded hardware.

You can deploy an Office SharePoint Server 2007 farm on a mix of 32-bit and 64-bit servers, provided that you maintain architecture homogeneity at each topology layer. For example, you should not mix 32-bit and 64-bit Web front-end (WFE) servers, but you may use 64-bit database servers in a farm with 32-bit WFE servers and application servers.

If you are upgrading an existing farm, or intend to deploy 64-bit servers only where necessary, we recommend that you prioritize the use of 64-bit servers as follows:

  1. Computers running SQL Server

  2. Application servers (in this order)

    1. Index

    2. Excel

    3. Search

  3. WFE servers

There are many variables that impact performance and capacity planning. For this reason, it can be difficult to receive a crisp answer to a straightforward question. Consequently, the most common answer to a performance- or capacity-related question begins with, "It depends…".

The performance and capacity planning exercise provided in this chapter is designed to reduce the number of variables in consideration so that straightforward answers can be provided based on common scenarios. However, this chapter also includes the guidance for calculating your capacity and performance requirements based on your individual solution characteristics. This chapter includes two types of planning guidance:

  • Recommendations for estimating performance and capacity requirements   A series of articles are provided based on targeted scenarios. Each article defines a typical usage profile and identifies the key characteristics that will impact capacity and performance for the scenario. Based on the profile and key characteristics, pre-canned data allows you to estimate capacity capabilities for your solution.

  • Formulas and guidance for calculating specific performance and capacity requirements   Using this guidance, you can develop your own usage profile (or modify one of the scenario profiles) and calculate all of the variables that impact the capacity and performance of your solution.

Performance and capacity planning focuses on three aspects of a sizing your solution:

  • Software boundaries   Each of the features that can be implemented and the objects that can be created have scale limitations. Planning for capacity boundaries ensures that your solution design fits within the scale recommendations of the software. Software boundaries and limits provided in this guide apply to all Office SharePoint Server 2007 environments.

  • Throughput targets   Throughput is the number of operations per second that a server or server farm is able to process. Each type of action performed by a server farm introduces a performance load on the server hardware. Primary actions include user operations, indexing content, and operations tasks (such as backing up the databases). The use of specific features also adds a performance load. Developing throughput targets involves estimating or calculating the number of operations per second that a server farm will need to process in order to support the expected throughput load.

  • Data capacity   Data capacity includes the expected volume of content databases and the configuration database. Each server role also has unique data requirements based on the solution, such as disk space for content indexes or for cached content.

Guidance for establishing throughput targets and data capacity is provided for each of the scenarios listed in the article Estimate performance and capacity requirements (Office SharePoint Server).

The recommended process includes the following steps:

  • Plan for software boundaries Review the software boundaries and limits of the software against your solution design, and make adjustments to your design, if necessary.

  • Estimate performance and capacity requirements Identify the scenario that most closely matches your solution and review the guidance in the corresponding planning article. Use the article to identify the key performance and capacity characteristics for your environment, to estimate throughput and data capacity targets for your solution, and to evaluate your targets against the performance of several sample topologies and sizes of hardware.

  • Plan scale actions based on performance and growth   After you understand the performance characteristics of your solution and you have determined the server hardware that is required to support your solution, you can plan scale actions for future growth.

  • Test solution for your environment   After you have established a starting point topology, you can deploy a test environment based on your deployment plan. Use the test tools provided to establish actual performance and capacity data for your environment, and revise your deployment plan as required.

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Office SharePoint Server 2007.