[Book Review]: Professional SharePoint 2013 Administration published by Wrox

Breve nota en español: Continuando con mis revisiones de libros sobre SharePoint 2013, en esta ocasión os presento la segunda review de un libro de SharePoint 2013 publicado por Wrox: Professional SharePoint 2013 Aministration. Como veréis en la revisión del libro, de nuevo en inglés, el contenido del mismo es bastante amplio y después de leerlo os lo recomiendo. Es un libro bastante completo de SharePoint 2013 desde la perspectiva del administrador.

Professional SharePoint 2013 Administration: Book Review

After the review of Professional SharePoint 2013 Development book, it’s time to talk about other great SharePoint 2013 book I have read recently: Professional SharePoint 2013 Administration. Again, this book review has been possible to Wrox and the great support they are providing to the local SharePoint Community in Spain. As the title states, this book is all about deploying, configuring and administering the platform and also about new features coming with SharePoint 2013. If you are interested in catching a great knowledge about how to install and configure the product, follow best practices when tuning SharePoint service applications and define a good architecture for your deployments this is a book you definitively should read.

Additionally to installation, configuration and tuning matters, you will also find specific content about how to upgrade from previous SharePoint versions to SharePoint 2013, how to design and deploy high-availability SharePoint 2013 architectures and also how to troubleshoot your farms using out of the box tools and techniques and also third party software. Finally, don’t miss all the specific chapters focused in configuring services and components like search, user profiles or the BI infrastructure.

Of course, the previous paragraph is just a summary about the book’s contents. Let me go into a more detailed overview about what you can expect to find in the book:

  • Chapter 1 is about what’s new in SharePoint 2013 for IT Pros. Therefore, on the one hand you will learn about changes in the following areas: installation process and service applications; and on the other hand, you will know some of the new things coming in the SharePoint 2013 architecture like the new SharePoint Apps model. Pay special attention to the hardware recommendations for SharePoint 2013. The new version of the product needs more RAM memory in order to run with a good performance.
  • If you want to learn about SharePoint architecture and capacity planning, you should red Chapter 2. Here you will acquire knowledge about SharePoint 2013 licensing model and SharePoint 2013 versions (Foundation, Server Standard, Server Enterprise and Online), hardware requirements for the product and all the services and servers you can have in a SharePoint 2013 deployment. In terms of licensing, you will learn that building Internet and Extranet sites for non-corporate users is quite more cheaply compared to previous SharePoint versions.
  • SharePoint Server 2013 installation using the least-privilege security model is covered in Chapter 3. You will learn best practices to install a SharePoint Server 2013 farm in terms of users accounts needed, service applications databases names, and so on. The chapter also describes the possibilities you have to install all the mandatory pre-requisites you need in order to install the product successfully as long as other requited patches. Service applications setup and configuration using PowerShell or the UI is described in detail in this chapter.
  • Chapter 4 is all about service applications: fundamentals, architecture, and advanced topics like multi-tenancy in SharePoint 2013. From an administration point of view, this chapter is a great source about all the things you have to know when working with service applications as a SharePoint IT Pro. The chapter also includes two interested sections where you can find how to publish service applications and interesting information about the Multi-Tenancy concept.
  • Upgrade to SharePoint 2013 from previous SharePoint versions is described in Chapter 5. Here you can read what you can upgrade and what you can’t upgrade and the only upgrade method available: the database upgrade attach method. Another important topic discussed in the chapter is how to migrate classic web applications to claims, the default authentication mechanism used in SharePoint 2013 (classic is supported, but not recommended). You will also read a step by step sample about how to upgrade a SharePoint 2010 content database to SharePoint 2013 and how to upgrade individual site collections.
  • In order to know what’s new in terms of authentication and authorization, you have to review Chapter 6. The use of OAuth 2.0 in SharePoint 2013 as an authorization mechanism (and not as an authentication option) to access SharePoint resources is introduced. Claims authentications is deeply described in this chapter and also the advantages of using it as an authentication mechanism vs. traditional authentication approaches. You will also learn how OAuth I used as authorization mechanism in the new SharePoint Apps model.
  • Chapter 7 is focused in administering SharePoint 2013 through PowerShell cmdlets and the SharePoint 2013 Management Console. This chapter is good in terms of PowerShell fundamentals: cmdlet concept, how to use variables, how to define custom functions, etc. You will learn how to work with the SharePoint 2013 hierarchy (Farm, Web Application, Site Collection, Site, List/Document Library, List Item/Document) with the specific PowerShell cmdlets available by default. Finally, don’t miss the PowerShell scripts samples included in the chapter.
  • Chapter 8 covers a hot topic: how to configure SharePoint for business intelligence. There is an specific section dedicated to install and configure step by step each BI component (SQL Server Analysis Services, SQL Server Reporting Services, PowerPivot, …) in order to work fully integrated with SharePoint. You will also learn how to create specific BI artifacts such as Excel workbooks using PowerPivot behind the scenes, SSRS reports using both SQL Server Data Tools and Report Builder, PerformancePoint Dashboards, etc. Finally, don’t miss the section about Access Services where you can expect to find a deep dive about how to configure Access Services in SharePoint 2013.
  • If you are interested in knowing everything about disaster recovery, backing up and restoring and ensuring resiliency in SharePoint 2013, you must review Chapter 9. Available techniques for content recovery are explained at the beginning of the chapter: version history, recycle bin, export/import individual sites, site collection backup and SQL Server snapshots. For every technique you will learn how to use it by means of the user interface or the command line tool depending on the backup & restore level. Finally, high availability concepts are discussed also in this chapter: Load Balancing, Failover-Clustering, Availability Groups, etc.
  • Chapters 10 and 11 covers specific development elements from and SharePoint IT Pro point of view: SharePoint solutions or .WSP (Farm solutions vs. Sandbox solutions), features and Apps. These chapters discuss the components of a SharePoint solution and a SharePoint App, the type of solutions and Apps available and the techniques you have in order to deploy them. A detailed description about what is a feature and the kind of artifacts that can be deployed by a feature is also included in the box. Regarding the new SharePoint App model, it is completely explained from a SharePoint administrator point of view: Apps types, how to configure a SharePoint 2013 deployment to be ready for Apps, how to deploy/configure/remove apps, etc.
  • If you want to learn about branding matters in SharePoint 2013, you should read Chapter 12. The chapter begins with a brief introduction about branding levels in SharePoint sites and continue talking about publishing infrastructure in SharePoint Server (Standard and Enterprise editions). You can find also branding components you have to consider when customizing SharePoint Sites. Additionally, new enhancements in terms of branding are introduced in the chapter: composed looks, device channels, design manager, etc. And finally, you can find great samples about how to use the Design Manager in SharePoint 2013 to create new master pages and page layouts to be used in your SharePoint sites.
  • SharePoint 2013 Search is covered in Chapter 13. You will learn about search improvements, architectural changes and key building blocks. This chapter also explains how to properly configure search for a small enterprise search topology by using PowerShell. In terms of search architecture, the purpose of each search component is treated in detail. New search features like continuous crawling, new crawling reports and Web Parts, result sources, among others, are described in the chapter.
  • Social computing capabilities are introduced in Chapter 14. There you will review all the social components available in the platform and how to configure them including user profiles synchronization, My Sites management and configuration and the new Communities feature available in the box.
  • Chapter 15 contents provide an overview of Office Web Applications for SharePoint: new and improved features, new compatibility with Lync and Exchange, how to install and configure and so on. OWA installation and configuration process is described step by step in the Chapter.
  • If you want to know what’s new with workflow in terms of capabilities in the box, installation and configuration matters and how to create workflows for SharePoint 2013, you must read Chapter 16. Here you can see a summary of the new workflow architecture and how to install and configure the workflow infrastructure by means of the Workflow Manager 1.0.
  • Chapter 17 covers SharePoint 2013 and Office suite integration. You will read about different integration points between both platforms and how to use them in a productive way: enable the document information panel in Office, synchronize specific SharePoint lists to Outlook, export SharePoint List data to Excel, synchronize a local copy of your documents using SkyDrive Pro client, etc.
  • SharePoint Designer 2013 capabilities and improvements are discussed in Chapter 18. You will learn how to create workflows, manage sites and do some branding using Designer. Additionally, from and SharePoint administrator point of view, this chapter shows how to enable SharePoint Designer restrictions.
  • Chapters 19 & 20 demonstrate on the one hand the tools and options available for SharePoint 2013 troubleshooting through the unified logging service, the Windows event logs and the Developer Dashboard. On the other hand, you will understand in detail how the ULS works and how to configure the Usage and Health Data Collection service. You can find there different ways to visualize SharePoint logs information: opening the logs files using a text editor tool, using PowerShell or using other tools like the ULS Viewer. Finally, the new developer dashboard in SharePoint 2013 is described in these chapters in terms of how to enable it, new capabilities, and so on.
  • Finally, in Chapter 19 you can learn specific content about how to configure WCM features in SharePoint 2013, use new capabilities coming in the product like cross-site publishing, translation services, co-authoring improvements, etc. This chapter shows in detail how to configure your farm to be ready for deploying Internet Sites built on top of SharePoint 2013. You will learn how to configure cache settings for Internet sites, how to create a machine translation service application, how to create variations for multilingual SharePoint Internet sites, and so on.