Windows SharePoint Services Storage

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Windows SharePoint Services uses two different types ofdatabases: content databases and configuration databases. Data inthe lists and libraries on SharePoint sites are contained into thecontent database. The virtual server settings such as the mappingof site URL to physical storage location are stored into theconfiguration database. The configuration database can be on thesame server as the content database, or on a dedicated server.

To test and validate Windows SharePoint Services server farmscalability, the Internet Platform and Operations group split thecontent data into two equal databases. Each content database wasmanaged by an instance of SQL Server running on one of the twovirtual servers. As well as testing scalability, this design alsoreduced the time of potential backups and restorations. Eachcontent database was configured to support at least 90 GB of data.One of the content databases shared its virtual server with theconfiguration database. All sites in a server farm can connect tothe same content and configuration databases, as shown in Figure2.

Figure 2 Database configuration


Each of the two back-end servers running SQL Server formed avirtual server. Both virtual servers were connected to the SAN asshown in Figure 3. A Hewlett-Packard SAN stored the data repositoryto help ensure high availability and data integrity by providingredundancy.

The servers were connected with a heartbeat local area network(LAN) that helped monitor server health.

Figure 3 SQL Server network


Four servers running SQL Server are configured as twoActive/Passive-mode clusters by using Microsoft Cluster Service.The high-level design is shown in Table1.

Table 1 SQL Server clustering



Number of clusters


Number of nodes per cluster

Two one active and one passive

Number of virtual servers


Operating system

Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server

Operating system components

Cluster Service

Cluster administration software

Cluster Administrator 5.0


Hewlett-Packard Secure Path Manager (SPM) 3.1