Archive for the ‘Search’ Category

Sharepoint Licensing cost – demystified !!

SharePoint has unquestionably garnered a lot of attention from CIOs worldwide and has been called “nothing short of a phenomenon” by Toby Bell, Gartner Inc.’s research vice president. Now with advent of its new version Sharepoint 2010, the business collaboration platform, interest in Sharepoint has increased manifold.

However, most of the organizations are still struggling to calculate the TCO and ROI for the sharepoint.

Total cost of ownership can be calculated by including various costs like Software licenses, Server and SQL Server Licenses, Hardware and Infrastructure, IT staff for Planning, designing, Development, testing and Support, user training ,  Antivirus, 3rd party products and last but not the least indirect costs like having other MS products like Office, AD, Exchange, Live meeting, OCS, Groove, Performance point as part of your IT stack.

Calculating Software Licensing costs for Sharepoint itself is quite a tricky business. Only if your Solution Architect and stakeholders can answer the following questions with confidence, you can be comfortable calculating the license model:

  1. Do you understand the difference between the feature set of WSS, MOSS 2007 Standard and Enterprise Version and Internet version?
  2. How many users are going to use MOSS 2007 Standard/ Enterprise version? How many users will be using after 2-5 years?
  3. Do you want Sharepoint to act as ECM/ Collaboration tool for your public facing/ internet site?
  4. What is the existing content size in your organization? What is the content size expected in 2-5 years?
  5. Do you want to automate your business process? If yes, answer following sub questions: What is the complexity level of your business processes? Do you want to use Inforpath forms? Do you want to use 3rd party Workflow tool?
  6. What are the search requirements? Do you want to index more than 5,00,000 items?
  7. Which shared services do you want to use? Have you identified them?
  8. What are your integration points?
  9. Do you want to use Loadbalancing for your WFEs? Do you want clustering for the DBs?
  10. Do you want to manage Indexing in a separate server apart from Application server?

If you cant answer to one or more questions, I would suggest that you do your homework first and come up with the Logical and Physical Architecture. Calculating a ballpark figure for licenses would then be a cakewalk.

Next step would be to go the Bamboo solutions site and use the calculator. For your quick reference I am posting the following table for 3 scenarios

Option 1:100 users, 2 WFE, 2 SQL, 1 App Server

Option 2:500 users, 2 WFE, 2 SQL, 1 App Server

Option 3: 1000 users, 2 WFE, 2 SQL, 1 App Server, 1 Index Server

Sharepoint Licensing Ballpark estimate

Sharepoint Licensing Ballpark estimate

 The scenarios assumes that you would need to search more than 5,00,000 documents, all users would need Enterprise CALs, you need  minimum of 2 WFEs and 2 DBs and you don’t want to have a public facing site.

Not to mention, if you are good at negotiating and if you are already into Microsoft infrastructure, you can get yourself a good bargain.

I will be talking about calculating ROI for Sharepoint in next post.

Till then have fun exploring the new features of Sharepoint 2010 and my new post on Sharepoint 2010 licensing


Google bings and Microsoft rides on high waves

This can’t be a mere coincidence. The two stalwarts of IT industry Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) adamant at making a dent in each other’s bastion have catapulted themselves to a better position and the news of their new products have come at the same time.

Microsoft is targeting the “search overload” experienced by cyber denizens and calling its product a “decision engine” which would act as a savior from bizarre, free-associating responses that mimic the random results, search engines generate.

I took a shot at “Bing” with least expectations (quite disappointed by the predecessor –Live”) and found it quite promising. Three features that ‘binged’ me 


Microsoft Bing Search

Microsoft Bing Search

  •  Explorer pane – Bing’s new look focuses on a left hand navigation menu called the Explorer Pane. This extra column of content includes Quick Tabs that break searches down into Web Groups relevant to your search.
  • Sneak Preview – You can get a glimpse of the page before you click on it. It is not obtrusive and still does its job. On top of it, you can see the links on that page and that really saves you one more click. For ex: If I want to go to “Admissions” link on a University I can do so now with just one click.
  • Fine tuned and logically grouped search results for most of my queries. For example when I searched for U2 – its shows me results grouped by Images followed by links grouped by general, U2 songs, U2 tickets, U2 merchandise, U2 downloads, U2 interviews, Videos of U2 and finally usage statistics. Well that really makes my life easier as I can easily skip most of the links if I wish to buy tickets for a U2 concert.

In spite of these improvements, I still feel there is not much that would entice a normal user to overcome the inertia. “Adoption” is going to be the biggest hurdle for “Bing”.

Biggest problem I found with Bing was that in endeavor of giving more meaningful results, its forgetting the core functionality that is to search. Bing fails to crawl to all the pages that are present on the web. Another disappointing feature was unrelated sponsored links.

Google Wave

Google Wave

Google showcased its Web-based collaboration/ communication tool – Wave at the Google I/O developer’s conference recently. The Google team, led by Rasmussen brothers, developed the application to allow people to communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and other tools in a real time.

The product lets you create a wave, which often starts with instant messaging, and then you can add people to it. Popularly touted as next gen of email, it also brings live server forms, open protocol, drag n drop file upload, integration with blog, orkut, twitter, language conversion and most importantly live collaborative editing.

The major leap is contributing this innovation to the open source community. This will surely foster innovation and adoption in developer community.

On the other side, what makes me worried is the confusion that would be easily created while collaborating with a team of 10+. Imagine a conversation being modified by more than 5 people at the same time. Moreover I am terrified at the thought of somebody reading my typing or grammatical mistake. People even do copy paste while using IM that would be just so difficult with Google wave.

But one thing that may work against “Wave” is its complexity that is in complete contrast to the simplicity that is the trademark of Google products.

Though these products have an uphill task ahead, let me clarify once for all that Wave and Bing have definitely upped the ante by their own standards. The problem is that they don’t offer something that is compelling enough to force the traditional users to move from what they are using. I use “Google” for search and “Microsoft’s Sharepoint” for collaboration needs and looking at whatever I am able to digest so far I would continue with them at least for next few years.