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should i still use SPS ?

  Asked By: Jordon    Date: Feb 24    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 681

We are evaluating SPS 2001 for a system that we plan
to build. After evaluating and playing with the object
model for last 3 months, we are getting very skeptical
about it.

No doubt it has good features and is a good product in
intranet as well as extranet scenario. Also the cost
of the server is very less than some other same
products ( The CAL is a thing to consider though in
costing the project!).

But the problems that we are facing with the product
is overrunning its features.

Very less companies would use the out-of-box features
of SPS. Most of the companies would customize it as
per their companies needs and so we are.

We are facing lot of problems during customization.
The main problem is about the security model of SPS.
We have not been able to take full control on it and
that is a thing to worry for us as it is very critical
from the point of the document management as well as
the co-ordinator. Also there were (and still we are
facing!) many unexplained errors that we faced, most
of which we were able to resolve after understanding
the object model and thanks to the newsgroups ( both
microsoft and yahoo).

We think that microsoft should have published a
detailed and separate white paper on how SPS uses the
security model. This would have helped the users for
their development during customization.

We faced many problems beacuse of the security (with
and without object model). Some which i would like to
mention.

1. Sometimes the management folder becomes invisible
for the co-ordinator of the workspace.(This happens on
the SPS server itself) ???.

2. Sometimes the reader is able to see all the folders
of the SPS server ????.

3. Sometimes the workspace doesn't open in the network
places (for the co-ordinator - says you don't have
rights!!!) ????.

4. We want the co-ordinator to take full control on
the doc. mgmt. system for various reasons. ( Using the
object model, we are facing real problems !!!).

Here i have a query which i would like to ask.

If in the 'workspace settings' I assign user 'ABC' as
the co-ordinator but on 'Folder1' I assign user 'XYZ'
as a co-ordinator then does the 'ABC' co-ordinator
have rights to play with the 'Folder1' ????

and there are many such more.

I agree that we may be lacking in understanding of the
product from our side ( I am saying this after 6
people working on SPS 2001 for about 2 months and we
are now pretty confident about using it). But still we
are of the opinion that Microsoft could have helped
users by publishing some thing about the security
model of SPS and how to go about customizing it.

The other issue is about the deployment. We would be
deploying our site in extranet for our internet users.
After consuting our security group, we moved our SPS
Search server inside LAN (as there was no way we could
decouple WSS from SPS). We kept one machine in DMZ of
our network which acts as a reverse proxy (We used MS
proxy 2.0 as the reverse proxy server). But we are
always getting the 'Dashboard error' even after doing
all the settings mentioned in the extranet white
paper.

Microsoft should have clearly mentioned on which proxy
servers the dashboard doesn't open and on which it
opens.

We would be investing a lot (we have > 4000 users) if
we choose SPS. But if the development team is not
confident about the product then we may have to look
at other options. (But personally I liked the product,
mostly its content sources,indexing and categorization
features are good). But the stabilty is the main
issue. We have installed / uninstalled / formatted
machines many times ( i have lost the count now !! and
our network systems group is afraid to take calls from
our team members :-) ).

Our people were asking whether its going to be a 24 *
7 application and unanimously we said 'NO' ( even when
we knew that the backup can be done without taking the
system down!!). Because we are not sure whether it can
be a 24 * 7 system.

There's a joke which is very famous in our team.
------------------------------------------------
We say that we would be taking the server down on
weekends for maintenance. The meaning of 'Taking the
server down' for our team is,"uninstalling the server,
againg resintalling it and restoring the backup on the
server".

Jokes apart but this is real area of concern for us.
Personally I am very afraid of the error, "Unable to
open SharePoint Poratl Server 'machinename'" ( I know
many have must have faced this error sometime or the
other). I really go mad after seeing this error. I
tried more ways (than what Microsoft suggested... )to
remove this error but in vain.

I was succesful once when I had build a test site and
got the above error. I said lets 'stop' the new site
and then try and viola! the administartion console
opened to my disbelief!!!.

I know we are getting very critical about the product
but can anyone having more insight, having more
knowledge about the SPS and its object model, having
more experience help us change our views about it ?
I would be very grateful as the client in this case is
our own company and before investing they have to
consider the feedback of the development team also.

Hoping for a feedback .

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