Project information management and architecture

Applies to
Microsoft Office Project Server 2003
Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003

In Microsoft Windows® SharePoint™ Services, all website settings and page content types (such as list data (list: A Web site component that stores and displays information that users can add to by using their browsers. Requires a Web server that is running Windows SharePoint Services.), documents in document libraries (document library: A folder in which a collection of files is shared and the files often use the same template. Each file in a library is associated with user-defined information that is displayed in the content listing for that library.), and other information types) are stored in a Microsoft SQL Server™ 2000 or Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE 2000) database (database: A file format such as Microsoft Project Database (.mpd), SQL Server, or Oracle that is used to store all project information in a central location for cross-project analysis, reporting, security, backup, and recovery purposes.). This is a change from the way they were in SharePoint™ Team Services 1.0, where they were split between the file system and the database. This improvement was made to:

The new Windows SharePoint Services architecture eliminates the dependencies on a physical file system for Internet Information Services (IIS) and the local Windows security groups. You can now create a server farm system and host many more websites than you could with SharePoint Team Services.


Windows SharePoint Services has a new architecture that enables greater scalability and simpler application management from the Admin page in Microsoft Office Project Web Access 2003 as well as the Administration pages in Windows SharePoint Services. To improve the architecture of Windows SharePoint Services, the following new features have been added:

  • Scalable architecture     Windows SharePoint Services scales from a single stand-alone server to a server farm with multiple front-end Web servers and back-end database servers. Front-end Web servers are stateless, so the load can be balanced across them.
  • Storage of all documents, metadata, and site data in a database     Microsoft SQL Server 2000 or Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE 2000) can be used to store all site data, including documents. In addition, all user security information is stored in the database. Information stored in a SQL Server 2000 database can be backed up and restored using methods that are familiar to SQL Server 2000 administrators.
  • Site quotas and notifications     Windows SharePoint Services automatically sets quotas (quota: A value that limits the amount of storage or number of users for a Web site.) for site storage size and generates notifications for the site owner when a site reaches its size limit.
  • Site level backup and restore     Each site in a server farm can be individually backed up and restored. This feature can be used for archiving inactive sites prior to their deletion.

Stand-alone server configuration

A stand-alone server configuration has the following characteristics:

The following diagram illustrates the architecture for Windows SharePoint Services in a stand-alone server configuration. The architecture is similar to the one used in SharePoint Team Services, but it differs in a key aspect: all data is now in a SQL Server 2000 or MSDE database rather than being split between the database and the file system.

SharePoint architecture in stand-alone server configuration

Server farm configuration

A server farm configuration has the following characteristics:

  • Multiple separate servers run Windows SharePoint Services and SQL Server 2000.
  • Multiple sites are grouped in site collections on each virtual server in IIS that is extended with Windows SharePoint Services. An ISAPI filter maps incoming URLs to specific sites on that virtual server
  • Each virtual server has its own set of content databases in SQL Server 2000. The configuration database for the server farm directs each server to the appropriate content database for a given website. The content for the top-level website within a site collection is stored in the same content database.
  • Performance and capacity are increased by adding additional servers running Windows SharePoint Services and SQL Server 2000.
  • Scaling is achieved by adding more front-end Web servers (to increase throughput for existing content) and by adding a top-level website (to support more content).
  • Load balancing is achieved by using switching and routing hardware or by using Network Load Balancing technology.

The following diagram illustrates the architecture for Windows SharePoint Services in a server farm configuration.

SharePoint architecture in server farm configuration

Because site information is stored in the content database, you can distribute the load among several front-end Web servers running Windows SharePoint Services, and they can all communicate with the appropriate database. So a request coming from the client can go to any of the front-end Web servers and still connect to the correct website data. In a server farm, each front-end Web server running Windows SharePoint Services can have multiple virtual servers. Each virtual server can have multiple site collections, which can have one top-level website and multiple subsites (subsite: A complete Web site stored in a named subdirectory of the top-level Web site. Each subsite can have administration, authoring, and browsing permissions that are independent from the top-level Web site and other subsites.).

Virtual servers

A virtual server is a way of breaking up the Web server structure to allow finer control over settings for a particular group of websites. Rather than configuring a setting for an entire server, you can configure it for just a virtual server.

You can also configure authentication (authentication: In a multiuser or network environment, the process of validating user logon information. A name and password are compared to an authorized list, and, if there is a match, access is granted with the level of permission specified.) on a virtual server basis, so that different virtual servers can use different authentication methods. If you have some sites that are internal to an organization and some that are accessible from the Internet, you can host them on separate virtual servers and use the appropriate authentication method for each environment.

Using virtual servers in Internet Information Services 6.0 also can enable you to isolate websites from one another. You can specify different application pools (application pool: In Internet Information Services (IIS), a group of one or more URLs served by a worker process.) for each virtual server and be sure that changes made to one site on one virtual server will not accidentally be transferred to another site on a different virtual server.

SharePoint Team Services supported about 1,000 virtual servers per server. Windows SharePoint Services supports significantly fewer virtual servers per front-end Web server (up to approximately 10). This difference is as a result of using Microsoft ASP.NET, which creates a separate list of compiled dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) for each virtual server.

Because Windows SharePoint Services uses several large DLLs, it is not practical to have them all in memory at the same time. (When you extend a virtual server, approximately 50 megabytes (MB) of memory is taken up by the base working set of processes, including ASP.NET.) However, because you can host multiple site collections on each virtual server, you should not need to create as many separate virtual servers in Windows SharePoint Services as were needed in SharePoint Team Services.

For more information on choosing the right configuration, see the Microsoft Office Project 2003 Configuration Guide.

Setup and maintenance

To improve setup and maintenance processes in Windows SharePoint Services, the following new features have been added:

 Important   SharePoint Team Services will not integrate and work with Project Server 2003. If you are planning to upgrade Microsoft Project Server 2002 to Project Server 2003, you must upgrade from SharePoint Team Services to Windows SharePoint Services.

For more information about upgrading to Windows SharePoint Services from SharePoint Team Services, see the Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 Installation Guide.


To improve the security of Windows SharePoint Services, the following new features have been added:

  • Standard Windows domain authentication and security methods     Windows SharePoint Services can be used with any IIS 6.0-supported authentication method to connect to Project Server by using Windows authentication.
  • SharePoint administrators security group     Members of a domain group can perform central administration tasks without granting specific administrator rights to the local server computer.
  • User validation     A single COM+ application is installed by Project Server and controls access to Windows SharePoint Services. Windows SharePoint Services validates for the correct server type and COM+ setting, as well as validating administrator functions. The COM+ application runs as a SharePoint administrator for all administrative functions performed by Project Server.
  • Authentication     Windows SharePoint Services requires Microsoft Windows NT® authentication for all users who require use of the document, issues, and risk management features. Windows SharePoint Services can only be accessed by the current logged-on Windows NT authenticated user. Anonymous access is turned off by default.
  • Lists and libraries     Windows SharePoint Services offers site administrators the ability to manage lists and libraries by:

Next part

Part 2: Managing risks, issues, and documents with SharePoint