Thursday, October 16, 2008

THE MOSS ARCHITECTURE


Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 can, working with other components of the Microsoft Office 2007 suite of applications, provide the functionality and benefits described previously. However, the amount of functionality derived from an MOSS installation depends on the features implemented and activated, as well as whether or not the MOSS environment is used to extend other building blocks, such as WSS and SQL Server. Figure 1 illustrates the structure of a complete MOSS environment. MOSS provides much of the functionality, but that functionality can be enhanced by the inclusion of other extended capability systems.

The MOSS Common Framework

MOSS 2007 supports other server-based applications and services with a set of common administrative services, as shown in Figure 2. The primary elements in the common group of services are (as shown in Figure 2, left to right):


Collaboration

This service supports discussions and shared task lists on server-based portals and determines the status of each member of a collaborative team, which could be online, offline, away, in a meeting, on the phone, and so on.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Using this service, users can create data validation and workflow procedures for Office 2007 documents through the Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF). MOSS includes a variety of predefined workflows, but users can create custom workflows using MOSS Designer 2007 or Visual Studio 2005.

Excel Services

This service provides the ability for users to display all or selected portions of server-based Excel workbooks using a web browser. An Excel web services application programming interface (API) is available to support server-based calculations and complex graphics renderings.

Portal

At the core of MOSS is the portal manager, which has been brought forward and upgraded from the previous version, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003. The portal services provide the user experience and content display functions used by all other SharePoint functions.

Web Content Management (WCM)

The capabilities enabled by the WCM service include support for Office SharePoint Designer 2007 for web template development, and web authoring using a template, site navigation services, security and access control, and site publishing.

MOSS Application Services

MOSS includes or supports a wide range of application- and activity-related services to facilitate information sharing, collaboration, and document management. As shown in Figure 3, these services include:

Document Libraries

A series of document libraries that allow a company to manage, organize, and categorize its information in a consistent form. There are three primary levels in the document libraries: the Managed Document Library, the Divisional Library, and the Translation Library.

Web Parts

MOSS contains a number of predefined ASP.NET web page segments that can be included in user- or information-based portal pages or used as standalone web pages. A few of the Web Parts available out-of-the-box are document roll-up Web Parts, Members and Colleagues Web Parts, and Social Networking Web Parts. Custom Web Parts can be created using Visual Studio 2005.

Workflows

MOSS includes a wide range of predefined workflows, which are in effect work unit scripts that define the step-by-step processes to be performed in order to accomplish a given work product. MOSS workflows are built on the Windows Workflow Foundation, which is a part of the .NET Framework.

Scorecards

MOSS 2007 supports the business information report units created under the Microsoft Business Scorecard Manager 2005, although this particular feature has been upgraded to the Microsoft PerformancePoint Server 2007. Scorecards are custom business performance tracking reports.

People Search

This feature allows users to search for people and information defining what or who they know. This feature supports indexing, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directories, and Active Directory distribution lists.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

A KPI presents business intelligence information in a visual way to signal how a certain product, function, or any other business activity is doing. For example, a KPI might display a green light if customer returns are below a preset level, a yellow light if they approach the accepted level and a red light if they exceed it. MOSS includes a variety of KPIs out-of-the-box that work with Excel 2007 and WSS.

Dashboards

A dashboard is essentially a web page that contains a number of elements that can be automatically updated independently, as well as lists, links, and other commonly accessed elements. The analogy is to an automobile dashboard. MOSS supports the creation of custom dashboards that can include KPIs, Excel workbooks, and information from SQL Server Reporting Services.

Report Center

The Report Center hosts predefined and custom web pages and sites that display, manage, and maintain links to reports and spreadsheets.

My Site

Perhaps one of the user-friendlier features of MOSS, MySite allows a user to customize a personalized view (using the Personalization Sites feature) of existing portal web pages, such as MyFinanceWeb or MyBenefits, based on their user profile and access permissions information.

User Profiles

User profile information from Active Directory is used by the Notification Service to target alerts to appropriate users, Social Networking to define common interests, and the Memberships Web Part for group and distribution list memberships.

Business Data Applications

MOSS provides a number of services that support the cataloging, storage, and access to business information and links related to each defined line-of-business (LOB) area using the Business Data Catalog, Business Data SharePoint Lists and Web Parts, and Business Data Actions services.

Note that the services and applications in the preceding list are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. MOSS includes a wide range of administrative services that can be employed to create a customized environment suited to any particular company.

MOSS Core Services

As shown in Figure 4, MOSS includes a number of core services that enable a company to get up and running quickly and provide users with ease of use and a variety of tools to help increase their productivity. The major services supported by MOSS out-of-the-box are:

Templates

Like the document templates included with each of the Office 2007 applications, MOSS includes templates for a variety of web pages (sites), lists, and documents that can be deployed to enable collaboration, reporting, and timed or triggered events.

Personalization

Users can be defined by their name, position, location, job, department, work responsibilities, and other characteristics. This information, along with other identification information entered in other Office 2007 applications, such as Outlook 2007, is used by additional MOSS services, like MySite, to create views and information feeds that meet the needs of the user.

Targeting

This feature, brought forward from Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, develops target audiences for certain documents, reports, and functions using a rule-based criteria, groups defined in WSS 3.0, and Outlook 2007 and Exchange distribution lists.

Single Sign-on

This service is one that most users really appreciate. MOSS provides a Single Sign-on (SSO) capability that stores and maps user credentials for use in signing into back-end applications and third-party systems that are included in the user’s portal. However, in cases where a company already has an SSO system in use, MOSS supports pluggable SSO that allows non-MOSS SSOs to be used.

Site Directory

This service is basically what its name suggests, a directory of web sites and network locations referenced by the system. It also includes a mechanism that can be used to scan for broken links, changed site Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), or missing sites.

Business Data Catalog

This service enables MOSS to merge data from external applications and back-end systems into its lists, Web Parts, and search results, as well as in custom applications developed under the .NET environment.

Navigation

This service manages the navigation links included on personal web pages and other web-browser supported displays provided through Office 2007 and MOSS.

Alerts

This feature enables users to identify and tag events and data elements that are then continuously monitored for changes that fall within the parameters set by users defining specific conditions. The Notification service then sends an alert to the user indicating the condition that has occurred.

Information Rights Management (IRM)

This feature is present throughout the Office 2007 applications suite to enable a company to protect its data from unauthorized access and use. IRM is integrated with the Rights Management Services (RMS) of Windows Server 2003, which allows system administrators to specify exactly who can access data, what they can do with the data, and how they can access the data.

Search

MOSS includes extensive data and document search capabilities that support search functions across an enterprise-level network, intranet, and even the Internet.

Excel Services

This general service includes three specific services:

Excel Calculation Services (ECS)

This is the core of the Excel Services. ECS performs real-time calculations on Excel workbooks in conjunction with Office Excel 2007, incorporates external data, and manages active sessions.

Excel Web Access (EWA)

A predefined Web Part that provides the display and interaction with an Excel 2007 workbook illustrated by a web browser using Dynamic Hierarchical Tag Markup Language (DHTML) and JavaScript as part of a dashboard or embedded into another Web Part page.

Excel Web Services (EWS)

This is an MOSS web service that provides an API to support the development of custom applications that incorporate an Excel 2007 workbook.

It is the combination and synergy of the MOSS services and functions that provide the wide range of capability, productivity, and collaborative environment through which a company can better manage, control, share, and report its business functions and information resources.

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