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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Information management - Deployment

This blog is all about Deployment of your solution!

First thing first. Where are we in the process? When we are ready for deployment we already covered (in one form or another):
- Information architecture - Done!
- Logical architecture - Done!
- Physical architecture - Done!
- Installation - Done!

Woohoo! So now we can implement our solution, finally!

You have several options for a SharePoint deployement:
- Manual
- Automated
- Mixed

Manual deployment
A manual deployment is exactly what it is, a manual deployment. You ask somebody to manually, a.k.a using the SharePoint user interface, to create the required objects, like:
  • Web apps
  • Site Collections
  • Sites
  • Content Types
  • Site Columns
  • Libraries
  • SharePoint Groups
  • Activate features
  • Configure (SharePoint) settings
  • etc.
Requirements for a manual deployment:
  • Accurate information architecture
  • Extremely organized and punctual consultant(s)
  • Test environment
  • Time!
One of the key take aways here is having a specific persona in your team. One that is able to replicate exactly what is written in the information architecture and is able to spot mistakes. I have been working with SharePoint more then 7 years and haven't seen a 100% accurate information architecture with matching logical architecture.

Another key aspect if this type of deployment is time. Manually creating and testing all objects can take days or even weeks! This, off course, depends on your implementation. Think about a DMS solution with 1-5 site collections, 40 content types, 20 or so document libraries and content organizer rules that move documents through your system.

Automated deployment
An automated deployment is a deployment where you use pre-configured scripts, compiled code to create the objects mentioned above.

You could create SharePoint features using Visual Studio that deploy webpart, content types, libraries, etc. Another way is by using Powershell scripts.

Requirements for an automated deployment:
  • Accurate information architecture
  • Development team
  • Development environment
  • Test environment
There is a new requirement here Development environment. I personally do not think it it neccesary in a manual deployment but this is very arguable, I agree!

The requirement time isn't on the list. You've been using that during the developement process. Building the features or scripts. Deployment should be a breeze....

Mixed deployment
Off course it is really feasible to use a mixed deployment, e.g.:
Creation of web applications, site collections, content databases, content types, site columns, libraries etc is done using powershell scripts.
Creation of custom webparts is done via custom developed features.
Content organizer rules are created manually.

Requirements for an mixed deployment:
  • Accurate information architecture
  • Development team
  • Development environment
  • Test environment
  • Extremely organized and punctual consultant(s)
  • (Time)
With a mixed deployment you need, off course, all the requirements above!

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