How to Manage a SharePoint Farm

How can you be sure that a SharePoint farm is working without actually testing it? This is the entire philosophy of GSX Monitor & Analyzer, which explains why GSX is constantly using the SharePoint farm as a user to detect any problem from a user’s perspective.

First, GSX automatically discovers and displays every SharePoint farm and all its components (Web Front End servers, Application servers, SQL servers and Content Databases) in the environment.

The GSX SharePoint Overview highlights the availability status of every single part of the SharePoint Infrastructure, automatically sorts the server by role and enables you to display multiple farms if necessary.

It is now very simple to have a real-time, clear view of the user experience at the site, server, SQL and farm levels.

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GSX tests the SharePoint site through a series of tests. This includes analysis of how it performs a real connection and download of the site, tests the Web Front-end by using the different Web services as a user level, checks the Application role concerning any application service found on the server, examines the SQL servers by doing a user test connection on every content database of the SharePoint environment, and finally inspects the farm at the farm level by performing complex, end-to-end user test scenarios that imply every part of the SharePoint farm.

In the end, what matters most is the level of service being delivered to the end user. How long does it takes to create a site? To use the Excel services, upload a full document, add any item to a SharePoint list, create a blog post, use the search services, etc.?

As a user, GSX performs complex scenarios that use web applications, SQL and application servers simultaneously to be sure that the SharePoint farm is working as expected.

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What are the scenarios GSX performs to test the farm as an entity?

  • List Items: GSX can add an item to a list in the farm
  • Search Services: GSX searches for a specific keyword and checks for results
  • Upload Documents: GSX Monitor uploads a document (that you choose) to a library of a site, exactly the same way that a user would do
  • Creates a Site Collection: GSX creates a site collection, then checks the availability of the site and removes it
  • Blog Posts: GSX Monitor simulates a post to a blog by creating a blog entry and erasing it
  • Create a Meeting: Creates a meeting workspace, scans the URL to see if it is available and uses the tool to create a meeting associated with the meeting workspace
  • Excel Services: Simulates a user by opening an Excel document on SharePoint by reading a field in the Excel sheet
  • Resolve User Profile: Tests the synchronization of a user with the Active Directory as well as the authentication

All of the GSX scanning and alert engines support these scenarios to offer an automatic completion of each function, alerting the appropriate team if there is a problem or any performance slows down.

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The purpose here is not to test every feature of your SharePoint environment, it is to give you an idea on how your farm is responding from a user’s perspective in order for you to determine the performance of your farm from a user’s perspective.

Moreover, GSX calculates the average execution time and the percentage of success for each of these tests, allowing the administrator to have a clear view on your SharePoint environment.