Thursday, February 14, 2008

Measuring MOSS Performance with SCCP and MOM

1) Introduction
This is a second part of an MOSS Architecture and Performance article (Part 1) where a deeper look will be made into tools that can be used to estimate, manage and forecast capacity for MOSS 2007. There are some studies of performance on the Microsoft website but many of the variables may not apply or a more glandular set of assumptions need to be baked into a model.

There are two tools out there that you can use assist with architecting and managing a MOSS production environment. First there is the System Center Capacity Planner 2007 which can help with the planning of a production environment. The second is the MOSS 2007 Management Pack for MOM 2005 which can be used to monitor the actual performance your production environment.

2) System Center Capacity Planner 2007 (SCCP)

All SharePoint Architects should take a good look at this tool and use it to first estimate what would be required to support a new production environment and second to assist with the forecasting changes to the production environment. SCCP provides a simple wizard that you used which will ask various things like:

  • Is an Intranet or Extranet?
  • How many users will use the site? How will the users use the site (collaboration or publishing) and to what degree?
  • It will ask about branch offices and request information about Branch office access to the network.
  • It will ask about the hardware and network configuration of the environment.
  • What sort of availability needs to be supported?
  • What sort of SQL server environment is available?

With this information which are the same questions usually asked when doing a MOSS assessment; the tool will provide you a recommended topology. From there you can run simulations and it will provide detailed reports on the performance of the planned topology.

What is really interesting about the tool is that:

  • User usage profiles can be created and modified to more accurately capture how the users will use the environment.
  • Ability to add more servers to the recommended model to test various different scenarios.
  • Ability to add multiple user roles to model. For instance you may have 50 high collaborative users while there are 2000 publishing users.
  • Ability to attach new networks and understand how they affect over performance.

2.1) In/Out of Scope

This information is pulled directly from the System Documentation for the System Center Capacity Planner 2007 Tool.

In-scope capabilities. The tool is designed to assist you in planning the following elements of a WSS/MOSS installation:

  • Deployment of WSS 3.0 on servers running Windows Server 2003 SP2.
  • Deployment of MOSS 2007 on servers running Windows Server 2003 SP2.
  • Determining storage requirements for MOSS.
  • Ensuring high-availability needs are met.
  • Planning for scalability and expansion of existing installations.

Out-of-scope capabilities. Several areas that are beyond the scope of the tool include:

  • Modeling memory usage. SCCP does not model memory usage.
  • Upgrade scenarios for WSS and MOSS. The tool models only the latest version of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007.
  • Self discovery of existing WSS/MOSS installations. The tool models only green-field and previously saved models.
  • Deployment migration from competitor products. The tool models only WSS and MOSS.
  • Real-time customer usage profiling. SCCP does not deploy agents into your server farm to monitor usage patterns in existing SharePoint installations. This may be addressed in future versions.
  • Virtualized WSS/MOSS deployment. The tool assumes that you are doing capacity planning for a production environment and are using physical server boxes to deploy your SharePoint farm.
  • Disaster recovery scenarios. Disaster recovery scenarios introduce levels of complexity that make efficient modeling prohibitive.
  • Side by side installations. The tool models only new installations of the latest WSS and MOSS releases. Incremental upgrades involving server farms with multiple versions of WSS or MOSS are not handled.
  • Extranet installation. Authentication complexity precludes implementing extranet modeling.
  • E-mail integration: Exchange Server integrated with SharePoint. E-mail integration may be included in a future release.
  • Microsoft Excel® services. Excel services may be included in a future release.
  • High-end scenarios. The tool does not model high-end scenarios such as multi-terabyte Web applications or multiple Web applications.
  • Authentication methods other than NTLM and Anonymous.

Even with all these limitations this tool can still provide significant insight into the most important variables when design a physical topology for MOSS.

2.2) Installing
There are two downloads you will need. First download the System Center Capacity Planner itself which installs the capacity planner iteself. By default it will only have the Exchange capacity planner. Then you will need to download and install the SharePoint Capacity Planner template which will allow you to create SharePoint models.
2.3) Building an Initial Model
The following is a quick view into this tool. First you open the SCCP tool and select what type of capacity model you want to create. I have heard Microsoft intends to build more tools for server products in their stack.
Next this is where you select what type of site you intend to create and select an initial user profile.
Next you enter in the Branch Offices.
If Branch offices were created you will need to provide more detailed information around their connection to the network.
Next you need to identify the configuration of the servers that will be part of the recommended topology.
Next you will make selections around the availability of the web front end servers and the SQL server database.
Finally, a screen will be presented with a recommended topology.
After the wizard has been created, you are presented with a graphical tool that shows you all the servers. It provides a drag and drop GUI where you can add or remove elements from the model.
The following is a result of a simulation. Notice that this topology has pretty good results however there are some warnings on the amount of time it takes to create or delete a site. Knowing what the permissions are for the majority of the users will help dictate whether this is important or not. You may even go into the model, add a different user profile that has permission to do this activity and then rerun the simulation.
Versus the result of this simulation which shows there are some potential performance problems. The SCCP comes with a very detailed reference document explaining each one of the performance indicators.
3) MOSS 2007 Management Pack for MOM 2005
Now the SCCP tool will do a good job and modeling but it will not assist with the monitoring of a SharePoint environment. The SharePoint's Administrator Companion does provide a good chapter on how to monitor performance of hardware however many SharePoint Administrators require a tool that can be used to automatically notify them when something interesting has occurred in the production environment. The Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 MP for MOM 2005 watches for failures or configuration problems which affect the availability and performance of Office SharePoint Server 2007. The following things are tracked:
  • Shared Services Provider (SSP) provisioning failed
  • Site Directory scan job failed
  • Enabling features failed on some sites
  • Administration site for the SSP is missing
  • Enabling features on existing sites failed
  • The Office SharePoint Server Search service is not running
  • The Microsoft Single Sign-On service is not running
  • The Office Document Conversions Launcher service is not running
  • Failed to connect to parent server farm
  • SSP synchronization failed
  • The Office Document Conversions Load Balancer service is not running
  • Failures in content deployment jobs
  • Poor cache performance
  • Error during document copy or move operations
  • Errors with the Information Rights Management (IRM) features
  • Failures in the Document Conversion feature
  • Out of Memory exceptions coming from form business logic
  • Denial of Service scenarios
  • Failures during form processing or while loading business logic assemblies

The management pack can be downloaded here.

4) Conclusions
With both of these tools in place SharePoint architects and administrators will have a better ability to plan their production environments, watch for performance issues with their environment and then model new configurations to compensate.


Anonymous said...

I am attempting a SharePoint 2007 installation and am doing some preliminary testing using the SharePoint Capacity Planner, which when installing, requires the System Center Capacity Planner 2007 v2.0, before it will continue to install. I have found the SCCP 2007 is no longer available on the MS site and was wondering if you could please email me a copy. It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Bradley Weller

Jason Apergis said...

I wrote this a long time ago before I came to Microsoft. I do not know why it is not available anymore but I would have my guesses. They have nit created something new like this for SharePoint 2010 either. The challenge is that every company's environment can be a little bit different.