Microsoft SharePoint Explained – what is it and how does it work?

15th July 2019
People working on tablets and computers

Microsoft’s SharePoint acts as a hub for websites allowing you to access all of your businesses information easily, at any time. We now have a variation of our Standard Server and 5 PC deal using SharePoint and Office 365 as a solution, so thought we’d explain a little more about how SharePoint works.

What is SharePoint?

Microsoft SharePoint Logo

Microsoft SharePoint is a solution which enables content management, collaboration, and productivity. It’s developed a large following in the time it’s been on the market, yet despite being around for more than a decade, it’s still relatively unknown from a user’s perspective.

How Does SharePoint Work?

SharePoint Farm – a SharePoint farm is the group of servers which work together to fill the SharePoint roles which makes it work. The roles are different jobs with particular skills, and each server needs to be configured to perform one (or more) of these roles. A single server can cover all roles, or they can be spread across many servers for improved performance.

Web Front Ends (WFEs) – the WFE is the point of connection for users entering SharePoint. Users visit a SharePoint URL and hit the WFE. All user requests and the responses go through a WFE, not a database or application server.

Application Servers – application servers host service applications. SharePoint service applications deliver specific functionalities to enable SharePoint to work for users and the farm. The SharePoint applications servers are optimised to deliver the services on them and can be set up across multiple servers to enhance performance.

Database Servers – SharePoint is a browser-based collaboration platform which users upload immense volumes of data to, such as images, documents, email messages, contacts, videos, etc. But where does it all actually go? It doesn’t go to your WFEs or application servers because they’re busy doing their own things and you don’t want them getting bogged down. So everything goes into SQL Server databases, and specifically to ones called SharePoint content databases. These are invariably on a dedicated machine because SQL Server demands a lot of resources to allow SharePoint to perform at its optimum.

SharePoint Online – SharePoint Online is a cloud-hosted version of SharePoint offered by Microsoft as a service in Office 365. Using the online version means that you and your business are not responsible for the farm structure mentioned above, Microsoft does that for you. This saves all of that time you’d spend defining performance requirements, or which user performs which roles before you install SharePoint. You also don’t need to plan any upscaling, you simply have to give Microsoft the number of users you need and you’re all set.

If you would like to know more about our standard server and 5 PC deal using SharePoint and Office 365, or to discuss servers in general, give our sales team a call on 020 7111 1643, email, or use the web chat feature on our website.