Performing health checks on a regular basis is an important part of your SharePoint implementation’s lifecycle.
It’s a sad but well-known fact of IT life: many organizations feel they can’t afford or justify keeping a full-time dedicated SharePoint administrator on staff. So either the job gets added to some unfortunate soul’s already full roster of duties, or worse, nobody handles on-premises SharePoint administration duties at all – leaving the platform to fend for itself. SharePoint involves a lot of moving parts. Even a perfectly-built farm can degrade over time if left unmaintained – never mind a farm that was built quickly with little planning, or even (gasp!) using the Farm Configuration Wizard. Personally, I’ve never met a farm that couldn’t use at least some TLC (Tuning and Log Checking), whether it be arriving at a quick one-day “Top Ten” issues list or a multi-day effort complete with performance, capacity and response time monitoring.
Some of the bad things that can happen over time:
• SQL database transaction logs grow to excessive sizes
• User profile synchronization service stops syncing
• Search crawls take forever and/or never seem to complete
• Other SharePoint or Windows services spontaneously stop or become unresponsive
• Central Admin Health Analyzer shows lots of warnings or errors. And contrary to popular opinion, these are not just “to be expected” – in most cases they can be cleared up – restoring your Health Analyzer to a useful state!
A health check for SharePoint involves gathering and analyzing metrics from several different sources: disk, memory, network, event logs, ULS logs, SQL server, Central Admin, and Windows performance counters. In addition, if your users anecdotally report that “SharePoint is slow”, this warrants its own investigation and analysis, both from the perspective of the user and as viewed from the infrastructure itself. SharePoint as a platform can have its share of adoption challenges; a farm that’s perceived as “slow” will face even more of an uphill battle. For their part, as a minimum organizations should have a plan for updating SharePoint, including identifying the update frequency and the types of updates (service packs vs. cumulative updates vs. security fixes). But health checking involves much more than determining if a farm is up to date. A proper and thorough health check looks at all the components and technologies that make up a SharePoint farm, and compares them either against community-accepted best practices, or the standards and business requirements of the organization itself.
Whether performed internally, or by an experienced partner like Navantis, all SharePoint deployments, no matter how carefully built, require monitoring, maintenance and yes, the occasional health check. As you can probably imagine, in our years of architecting, building and developing for SharePoint, we’ve performed a fair number of these health checks. And whether on a one-off basis or as part of an ongoing Managed Services support agreement, Navantis is an excellent partner for helping you reduce or eliminate your SharePoint’s “sick days”.