Remarks by Kurt DelBene, Senior Vice President, Office Business Platform Group, Microsoft Corporation
SharePoint Conference 2008
March 3, 2008
KURT DELBENE: Well, thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here today, and I’m just daunted by the number of people out there, the sea of humanity. I’ve been going to these since we were just a little Tahoe project in the SharePoint Team Services, I’m sure a number of you have — and seven, eight years we’ve been at this thing, and it’s just so wonderful to see all the participation from everybody.
I first want to start off just by thanking everybody for their support of the SharePoint business. It has been a phenomenal year for us, obviously huge growth in terms of the numbers that Bill showed in terms of growth in revenue, growth in adoption — 100 million users, that’s a phenomenal number. Another number is three-quarters of the Fortune 100 now have SharePoint. That’s just a very impressive number, people seeing the impact that it can have in their businesses, how they do business; just very, very gratifying for us.
Also in terms of this has been a product — I’ve been at Microsoft about 16 years now, and this has been a better product where we’ve taken more feedback than any other product that I’ve worked on. I managed the Outlook team for a number of years, and let me tell you, you guys had a lot of input for us on Outlook, but even more SharePoint has kind of felt like a participative process of developing new features, and I hope you’ll see that that really shows up in the product that we’ve finally delivered to you guys, particularly in the 2007 product.
It’s also been a year where there’s been an explosion in the number of solutions that are available in SharePoint. We’ve had 77 percent growth in the number of partner solutions that are available, and we now have over 2,000 certified partners on SharePoint.
So, as much as it’s about end-users adopting the product, about corporations and businesses, it’s all about you as a technical community developing solutions that empower users to do new things about they weren’t able to do in the past.
You know, one of the things that I find interesting, you know, I can talk to you about all the features of SharePoint, you’ve got three days, four days here where you’re going to get nothing but that, but what I’d love to show you is a few examples of some of the kinds of sites that people are creating now on SharePoint. It really goes well beyond say the vanilla collaboration aside, the vanilla search site, portals, et cetera, to doing some very, very exciting things with the product.
Examples: Companies using SharePoint
I hope you’ll look at this as kind of stimulating some thoughts you might have about how you might take your implementation so far and bring it even further in terms of some of the themes that we’re evangelizing: line of business integration, really getting the most out of information in the intranet, connecting to extranet partners, et cetera.
So, I’ve got a few examples, and let me go through those with you. It’s kind of a whirlwind cavalcade of different uses of SharePoint that are actually out in the marketplace today.
The first one I’d show you is easyJet. They’re a flyer, a regional flyer in Europe, located all over Europe, and they use it as their way for crews to come and log in, so they’ve got great connectivity to their line of business systems in the backend. You login and register that you’re available for the flight at a particular time. You find your manifest; you find all the information about your aircraft, et cetera. You get all that information in a single portal, regardless of where you are across Europe.
So, that takes the concept of line of business integration, the portal for information dissemination, et cetera, and really brings it all together into a single place — very exciting site there.
Viacom has been a phenomenal partner for us. They’ve really done kind of the triple threat, if you will, of using SharePoint for their intranet site, for their extranet site, using them for search, Internet points of presence, intranet portals. They’re using it across their entire organization.
On the left-hand side you’ll see how they use us for their publishing pipeline for their Internet site, very different than how you normally think about SharePoint sites typically, very rich media content. And as I said, the value to them is around managing the publishing pipeline in the same way they manage content ending up on their intranet site. So, that unification of intranet and extranet, and Internet point of presence is very important to them.
On the right-hand side you see something very kind of social and consumer-ish. That’s their extranet site for Nickelodeon, where their partners can come in and interact with them on the Nickelodeon channel.
Some very, very different kinds of sites, but again all founded on SharePoint.
Switching gears for a second, I’d bring up General Mills, and we got Elliot Gerard here, who is going to give us a demo of some of their sites in a little bit from now. But one of things I’d point out here is their multilingual capability. They’ve actually localized their portal into nine different languages, and the multilingual capabilities of SharePoint really come to the forefront there, and the ability to have different experiences for you, different regions of the world.
Here we have Kroger. This shows the integration with some of their consumer commerce sites. So, they actually have the ability to do things like see stock, et cetera online. And so you take that integration with commerce applications, and the commerce site, and directly integrate it in with your Internet point of presence.
Starbucks: Starbucks, as many of you know, had a stand-down for three hours recently. That was all about getting training, everybody at the same level of knowledge about how to build that ideal Frappuccino. That’s one of the things that SharePoint is fantastic at, and we’re seeing a lot of people repeating, is the ability to pump out training and communities around what best practices look like. That’s certainly something that has been a passion for Bill around SharePoint. Starbucks uses us for their 24,000 employees at that single portal where people go to find information about what’s going on in the organization, interact with their line of business systems, and also get that information about what the perfect frappuccino looks like, so that they can improve the quality of their service to customers.
Here’s an example of Accenture, and using MySites around expertise locations. Accenture obviously lives and dies based on the ability to connect with different people in the organization to the right person at the right time. MySites has been a very, very well adopted product around — the key to MySites to my mind is to get you up and running with social networking, with expertise location with a minimum of effort. Out of the box the connections are already made to you as where the person sits in the organization, the information they publish in the organization, connecting it up to search so that you can search for a person as well as information. We kind of want that turnkey to happen out of the box so that you can get going in social networking, get going with an expertise location, and Accenture has won for its large set of analysts and consultants across the world, and created a very rich MySite, and using that to connect people to different communities of interest, and to particular experts that help them connect their consultants together and help solve business problems.
Then there’s Ford. Ford is using us for the community of marketing managers so that they can get consistency around how their brands go out to users, and really that one site that is all about “How do I push that information out to everybody in the organization in a super consistent fashion?”
So, I hope that gives you a sense of some of the broad set of sites that you can create. Certainly in the sessions that you’ll see over the next several days you’ll see a lot more of that, and I hope you really kind of think out of the box. It’s a very broad platform, and I think you’ll figure out what are your business problems and how can they be solved with SharePoint.
Incorporating customer feedback into SharePoint
Switching gears for a second, I want to say also that we’ve heard and we’ve listened from you guys about the things that you need more from us, and I wanted to give some sense of that. Certainly in the next several days you will hear lots about the improvements that we’ve made. We’ve heard directly feedback from you on the places where you need more information, more guidance from us, et cetera, and I want to spend just a little bit of time going through that.
The first one, and I’m sure it comes as no surprise for a number of you, is that we had gaps in the documentation. The thing that I would stress is that we thought we saw these very, very early on, and we’ve been working for a long period of time to kind of roll out more and more documentation to you, focused on the feedback that you’ve given us. We heard from you that you want more prescriptive guidance about what the ideal SharePoint implementation looks like for the particular demands that you have.
You need more operations guidance. We basically took the key feedback that we’ve gotten from you and we’ve delivered that online in a set of documentation and a set of tools that I’ll show you a little bit later on. Tom Rizzo will come back and show you some of the tools we’ve delivered — or we are delivering to help you in this key knowledge areas that we have gaps today. So, I want to stress to you that we really listened in terms of giving you that key documentation you need.
The second part of it is customer support: how do we, when you call up Microsoft, when you have an issue with how you develop a solution on SharePoint, get you that solution as fast as humanly possible so you can get back to being productive.
We have doubled the number of staff that we have working on customer support in SharePoint. That’s a response to the fact that this product has exploded faster than we ever even imagined, and we’ve been working very, very hard to back that up with the necessary customer support resources so that you have what you need to be successful.
We’ve doubled it already. In the next six months we plan on doubling it yet again.
So, I want to stress you we’ve heard the issue here, and we’re working very, very hard to actually make that a better experience for you.
The flip side is it’s an amazing amount of demand in terms of skilled resources, partner resources in terms of helping with deployment, helping with designing SharePoint implementations. If you’re a partner that’s out in the audience, that’s a wonderful thing. It’s a very positive environment to be in where there’s a lot of demand. The demand is actually a bit outstripping the supply right now.
We’re doing our part to increase the number of MCS, Microsoft Consulting Services people, that we have available to you to help on your implementation.
We’re also working very, very hard with partners to staff them up and get you the resources within the partner community that you need to be successful with that SharePoint deployment.
So, we’ve definitely heard it on the support side there as well.
Specific in terms of deployment, we’re taking it one step further, and as part of our Software Assurance program, as you spend money to purchase our software, we’ll actually give some of that money back to you in the form of resources that you can use with a certified partner to help you in the planning and deployment of that SharePoint implementation.
So, this gives you an example of that SharePoint Deployment Services program, which is available now to you, and again is part of Software Assurance and SharePoint.
The final thing I want to touch on for a moment is this Gear Up program that we’ve got, that we’re just announcing today, as well. The idea here — and you can go to SharePoint.Microsoft.com/gearup is to look at the way you go through planning a deployment, getting justification for that deployment, going through the design of it, the rollout to your organization, and training people in the organization.
I highly encourage you to go to Gear Up site. You’ll basically see that laid out to you, and then you’ll see resources that you can use along those different points in the deployment process to help you through how you justify the deployment, how you roll it out, how you get people actually trained on SharePoint. It includes a set of materials that are available to get excitement up in the organization around what SharePoint is going to bring to them, and how they get trained in using SharePoint. So, we’re also helping you in terms of how we roll out deployment, and make that super easy for you guys, as well.
So, overall I just want to emphasize it’s a lot of looking across the different places where we’ve heard gaps from you guys, and making sure we address those gaps.
Finally, there’s a set of tools that we’re deploying to you, and looking at what are the particular places where you guys are having challenges. And a couple of them are listed down along the bottom here: extranet configurations, lots of demand for extranet configuration to connect the partners, how do we make that super simple for you.
How do we make it easy to upgrade? How do we allow you to take a set of configurations templates, master pages, et cetera, and roll them across all the sites in your organization in a super simple way, especially as your SharePoint deployment grows and becomes bigger with lots of different sites across the organization? It sure would be nice to be able to basically say, here’s a set of resources, let me blast them across the entire organization in one fell swoop.
And also the point I raised earlier, you want to be able say, okay, this is the demand I’ve got in my organization, this is the number of users I’m going to have, this is what they’re going to use the system for; help me with capacity planning, so upfront I can figure out how many servers I’m going to need, what the configuration of the servers are going to be, et cetera.
So, with that, I’d like to bring a Tom Rizzo back on stage and he’s going to show us some of these tools. Tom?
SharePoint Solution Accelerators Demo
TOM RIZZO: All right, thank you, Kurt. (Applause.)
So, what I’m going to really quickly show you is we have this great set of tools called Solution Accelerators. If you haven’t seen the Solution Accelerators, they’re up on TechNet. They’re not only for SharePoint, they’re for SharePoint, Exchange, Windows Server, SQL.
What we’ve decided, from a Microsoft standpoint, is really to take your feedback in between the product releases and release these accelerators to help you with your most common scenarios, as Kurt talked about.
I’m going to show you four Solution Accelerators, things around cross-site configuration, capacity planning, inventory asset of your SharePoint environment, and also extranet configuration.
So, let’s get started. The first thing is for those of you who have large SharePoint deployments, one of the key pieces of feedback we’ve heard was being able to deploy master pages, content types, even audit policies across your entire SharePoint environment, not only your site and your site collections, but your Web applications and your actual farms inside of your SharePoint environment.
So, I’ve got a really simple SharePoint site here. I can go into my site settings, be able to look at my site settings, go and take a look at my actual audit settings in here, and I’ve got nothing enabled for my auditing on my site collection. If I go and take a look at my content types, you’ll see I’ve just got kind of the out-of-the-box content types inside of here. So, for me to go and modify let’s say five farms with 500 servers in each farm, it would take me a really long time.
Now, you can tell this is a tools demo because I’m going to go to the command prompt. Exciting time: Every IT Pro loves the command prompt. We can show it in PowerShell inside of 2008. But this tool, actually this cross-site configurator, accelerator from the Solution Accelerator team, I’m just going to let it go run. It’s going to go off, talk to all my SharePoint sites, set up my content types, set up all my master pages, do all the work that I would have done, sneakernet or RDP (Rapid Deployment) or term serving to all my different servers inside of here.
So, now that it’s done, I’ll just refresh this page. Now, I’m not a designer, so you’re not going to see a beautiful SharePoint site here in a couple of seconds, but what it’s done is it’s deployed my master page, deployed a whole bunch of settings to my SharePoint environment, so I can see all the changes.
So, there you go, exciting Tom Rizzo design there. You can go in, and again if I go to take a look at all my site settings, and I go to my audit policies, they’re all checked, so now I have my corporate governance across all my different sites. And if I go and take a look at my content types, you’ll see now we have this new Rome content type deployed across our entire environment. Rome was the codename for this actual tool. So, really easy for you to go and deploy your information across your entire SharePoint environment.
That’s just one tool. Let me show you a couple more tools. The other thing that you told us about your SharePoint deployment is lots of times people get really excited about SharePoint, and they start deploying their own servers without telling you in central IT. Right, none of you have that; I guarantee it. You’re all controlling all your SharePoint environments.
So, what we wanted to do was make it easy for you to uncover all the hidden assets, we call them, of all your SharePoint across your environment. So, here’s the SharePoint asset inventory tool. And all you have to do is just configure the tool to go and scan your actual network inside of your environment. So, you can either scan via IP range, so give it all the IP inside of your environment, or we can leverage active directory and scan all the computer nodes stored inside of the Active Directory.
I’m just going to do an IP range scan here, and I’ve got one exciting server sitting on my network right on his local box.
And then you’ll see a couple things in here. I have to give it a username and password. You probably want to use a domain administrator account here so that you can log in to the box locally and get some information, as we’ll see in the second from WMI, as well as the Web Services for SharePoint.
So, I’m going to just let it run, and let me talk a little bit about what it does.
So, it’s going to go off, it’s going to start scanning your network, and if you do scan your network, it may take awhile for it all to go through.
But first we’re to touch all the boxes. We’re going to try and log into the box and do WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) to look at the registry, to look at all the information on the local box, and then we’ll even go and call the Web services of SharePoint. So, you’ll see that persistence count actually going up. We’re calling the SharePoint list Web service, the site Web service to try and understand what’s actually on the machine, so we can give you a detailed report of the actual SharePoint installed on the box.
Rather than waiting for it to finish, it’s going to go into a lot of information. This is the actual website where we generate and display the reports. We just leveraged SQL Server Reporting Services. So, I can go in and drill into the total number of documents inside of my SharePoint inventory across my entire site.
So, here I’ve got one server here. It’s got 77 documents. I can see all the different sites inside of here. I can drill into the homepage. I can see the documents, the form templates, the images, the style library, site collection images. So, you get a rich set of information across your SharePoint environment.
I can drill into the number of items contained inside of my SharePoint environment, right, and I don’t have many items inside of here because I haven’t finished yet. But you get the idea of how now rather than you having to try and figure out where all your SharePoint assets are, the tool can help you go find all of this different information.
So, let’s move on to the third tool. A lot of feedback on capacity planning; you want to make sure that you deploy your SharePoint environment correctly the first time every time. So, we have a ton of updated documentation on capacity planning, but what we’ve decided to do is release a tool, which is part of the System Center Capacity Planner, but not only for SharePoint, I’m going to show you we support WSS (Windows SharePoint Services) and Office SharePoint Server, but there are other Microsoft products that support this Capacity Planner, including Exchange Server.
So, you can model out your environment and be able to understand capacity, the load, and configure the user configuration to understand whether the actual model that you’ve created will withstand the load you put on the box.
So, let’s go and create a model inside of here. I’m just going to go and add a SharePoint farm, and I’m going to just call it SharePoint farm, very exciting naming. Right inside of here I can tell it the number of clients. So, I’m going to put 30,000 local clients on my SharePoint farm.
We do support different scenarios for SharePoint. So, if this was an Internet-facing site, I could select Internet, but this is an intranet facing site for SharePoint.
Then we ship a number of usage profiles like publishing, like collab, average, heavy publishing or collaboration, and you can customize these user profiles based on your actual usage inside of your environment. I’m going to say our corporate users are average collaboration users: they search, they upload documents — we’ll see that in a couple seconds.
Then you can even put into the tool your branch offices. So, if you’re a bank and you have five branch offices and you want to deploy SharePoint and have people access from those branch offices, you can just come in and say I’ve got a branch office, I’ve got 300 clients in each of those branch offices, and there are five of them. They are light collaboration users, right, they’re not heavy users, they’re just simple like collaboration users. Then we add in those branch offices into your model.
Then you tell us the type of connectivity you have between your branch and your corporate site. I wish I had a fractional T3, but I only have a fractional T1, and we give you tons and tons of choices inside of the user interface, as well as the ability to specify the bandwidth utilization, because no one gets 100 percent bandwidth off of their fractional T1s or T3s.
Then this is a really great feature. You tell us your desired configuration of your computer, so we don’t suggest a 64 processor, 64-bit server. You may only buy Four-processor servers or Eight-processor servers, or buy certain types of discs inside of your computer configuration. So, you tell us the type of computer configuration you have, so we use the smallest amount of servers that are valid in your purchasing process.
Then just a click, do you want high availability on your front-end, and of course you do, you want high availability of SQL Server, of course you do; what type of high availability, clustering, database mirroring, log shipping. You tell us all this great information and we’ll go and generate the right topology for you to support that.
And then you go that’s it. We tell you you need six servers, you need an index server, a primary and a mirror for your SQL, and then three Web front-ends.
But it gets even better than that. So, we click finish, we get a nice topology view of our SharePoint environment; we could drill into our SharePoint farm, understand the actual layout of the information, understand the usage profile for our end user. So, if we look at our end-user, I could say 36 requests are for a typical user, they do how many homepage access, how many list page access. So, you can completely customize the environment for your usage.
One thing we can do it now is before you deploy all these servers, these six servers, guess what, you can run a simulation to understand where that SharePoint deployment will actually fail: Is it SQL, is it your WAN (Wide Area Network), is it your Web front-end, do your database mirrors not work. So, the simulation is going to go off, simulate all those clients, connecting to those servers over whatever connectivity and processors that you told us to use, and then will report back to you whether that was a successful simulation or not.
Let’s give it a couple seconds here; lots of complex mathematics going on in the background here. We’ve see here that the WAN link between our SharePoint farm and our branch office will probably be overloaded based on our user profile.
Now, this is the “get a good review at annual review time for you”, so take notes. You may say, “Ohh, Mr. and Mrs. Boss, I’ve been working so hard on our SharePoint topology; let me go show you the hard work I’ve done.” You can export this to Visio. (Applause.)
KURT DELBENE: You’ve always got to have those gratuitous graphs.
TOM RIZZO: Exactly. So, you can go export it to Visio. We have a little cleanup to do on the lines, but you can say, I spent all night working on the topology diagram; please give me a good review. You get the idea here.
So, this is the capacity planning tool for the Solution Accelerators.
The last demo that I want to show you is around extranet configuration. Every one of you pretty much has told us that you want to set up extranets on SharePoint, but you want our help to speed up that process. So, we not only have great documentation, but we have this great extranet collaboration toolkit that we’ve released that really turns turning to extranet into a usable tool much, much faster.
So, the first thing you’re seeing here is we add in some new capabilities. You set up ADAM, and we’ll go up and set up the web.configs for all your sites. We’ll automate a number of the different processes were setting up your extranet. And once you’ve run the setup tool, now you can create site collections, and that’s your security boundary between your extranet sites. So, we allow end users to create site collections so that Contoso can’t see what Fabrikam sees, can’t see what Adventure Works sees, so you have very tight security across all your different extranet sites.
We have a new form inside of here. So, you put in a URL and put in, I don’t know, let’s call it the KurtD — because I’m going to collaborate with Kurt DelBene here, and so it’s rich collaboration with Kurt for my extranet, and I can put in my description. You can select your templates inside of here, the SharePoint template you want to use.
And then we even support business justification. So, as IT you may say, before I allow you to set up this site, I need some business justification. And, of course, as a good end-user, I always do this. You always love that. We support the out-of-the-box SharePoint workflow, so that an IT person can not enable the site collection creation unless the workflow is actually approved by you. So, it is end user empowerment with IT control, so you are in complete control.
So, I’ve turned that off. I can go and create the site.
Now, let’s go and access the site itself. Let’s go to site/KurtD.
So, what’s the next pain point that you told us? Well, the next pain point you told us is adding external users to your extranet site. So, let’s just go to people and groups — and again empowering the end user so they don’t have to call you up at 2 a.m. to add in their favorite person from their external company. Right from the menu item you see this new “add external user”. So, we have a form so we can add this person into ADAM, into LDAP so that you don’t have to go and do this manually. Let’s add in KurtD@Microsoft.com, or KurtD.com, whatever his e-mail address is.
When we do go check the name, we’ll say this person isn’t registered in the ADAM or LDAP directory; do you want to go and register this person. And I’ll say, yes, please go register this person so I don’t have to know anything about registering them into this directory.
What permissions do I want to give them? I’ll give that person site membership permission. And again we support workflow. So, you can make it so that you have to approve this before the external user is actually added.
Now, we do support complete security. If I go into my Outlook Web Access, you see I’ve got this e-mail here. We provisioned a secure password. You can call up this external person like Kurt, give him his password. You can log into the site, and we require you to change the password on the first logon.
So, really quickly, four Solution Accelerators, not all the Solution Accelerators that we have. If you haven’t seen them, go take a look on TechNet/SolutionAccelerators. Give them a try. I think they’ll speed up your SharePoint deployment to make you a much, much happier IT administrator.
Thank you. (Applause.)
KURT DELBENE: Great, thanks.
So, hopefully you get the sense we have heard the feedback from you along multiple dimensions in terms of support, in terms of giving you the documentation you need, in terms of helping you do things more rapidly via the Solution Accelerators.
It’s our commitment to you that we will continue to hear your feedback and identify the issues. I encourage you to give us feedback during the session over the next four days, and we will continue to deliver more and more functionality, more and more prescriptive guidance to help you be successful and be that hero in IT.
Switching gears for a moment, I wanted to emphasize the other complexion of SharePoint. As much as it’s about out-of-the-box functionality, it’s also about being the platform for business applications that Microsoft is delivering to you.
A lot of the solutions that I showcased early on are about taking line of business applications, taking repetitive processes, and putting them into a portal and making it super simple for you to deploy those as a template over and over again to adapt to the new uses.
One of the key benefits of SharePoint is to reduce that cost for you guys to build that next line of business application by giving you a standard set of applications, a standard set of services that you can just repeatedly build that next set of applications on top of, using those Web Services again and again, using those Web part components again and again, and to actually make it a faster, more functional application each time.
This gives you just some sense of the key components that we have. It’s really a stack that starts at the bottom with Windows Server and ASP.NET, and us building an ASP.NET rich business applications environment on top of that, and a set of client experiences that are extensible in the office clients with things like task panes and extensible ribbons, et cetera.
As much time as we’ve spent thinking of this as a uniform set of server products to give you this infrastructure, this connected infrastructure for information workers, we think just as much about how we deliver platform elements to you as well.
The other side of the platform application is to give you a rich set of tools that will help you regardless of what kind of developer that you are. This slide kind of shows you the different plethora of tools that exist out there.
We are very much focused on end user empowerment first and foremost. It’s what a thousand flowers bloom. The anchor point for building these applications is we think you ought to be able to — your end-users ought to be able to build these compelling applications out-of-the-box. So, we’re delivering you rich end user customization, either from the Web itself or via a set of templates like the fantastic 40 that we’ve delivered that are tailored around particular experiences like marketing sales campaigns, et cetera. We will continue to deliver more and more of this custom content on top of the base SharePoint, and we’ll continue to invest in terms of end user empowerment, and end user customization.
For the analyst, for the departmental IT person we give a rich set of tools in terms of customizing the site, adding workflows via SharePoint Designer. I highly encourage you to take a look at SharePoint Designer and the very, very rich capabilities, well beyond what FrontPage had in the past, in terms of customizing SharePoint sites. It is truly an analyst tool now and a departmental and even IT designer tool for building those SharePoint sites, and we’ll build more and more functionally there as well.
We’re also taking Office client applications and taking them and extending them to the web, via InfoPath, via Access. You’ll see more and more connections of the experience we have for building applications on the client, extending them to SharePoint, having a server version of Excel via Excel Services, a server version of InfoPath via InfoPath services as well, and you’ll see more and more of those experiences over time.
Finally, at the high-end a very big investment around Visual Studio for the hard-core developer. If you need to do a workflow, in this version of Visual Studio 2008 we’ve integrated the VISTO tools, Visual Studio Tools for Office, directly into Visual Studio, so you can do a SharePoint workflow design out of the box using Visual Studio. You can see the graphical representation of that as well.
We’ve also created a Visual Studio extension for Windows SharePoint Services, so that it knows the concept of a SharePoint site and can connect you to that SharePoint site. You’ll see the notion of master pages, et cetera, making it super easy for you to fire up Visual Studio and get to that customization and get that SharePoint site to look exactly like you’d like.
We’ve also announced an update to Visual Studio, extensions for Windows SharePoint services, more and more functionality, taking what was a little bit too manual and making it easier in the future, packaging up resources, et cetera. We’ve also heard from you that support for Visual Studio 2008, and specific for the VSE WSS is a high requirement for you. And so we’re working feverishly to make sure that it’s supported in Visual Studio 2008, and we’ll have that for you soon.
So, a broad set of tools that are available to you to build that kind of solution that you’re looking for.
Silverlight Blueprint for SharePoint
One of the things we haven’t talked about in terms of SharePoint so far is Silverlight. Silverlight, for those of you who don’t know, is a cross-browser, cross-platform development environment for rich media experiences, rich Internet experiences that are WYSIWYG and beautifully crafted, et cetera.
The question is how would you go ahead and use that for SharePoint?
So, what we’re here announcing today is a Silverlight Blueprint for SharePoint. This is a couple of things. This is a lot of prescriptive guidance on how you would best use SharePoint to create a rich, combined, collaborative experience that takes the best of SharePoint and combines it with a rich experience that you can get out of Silverlight. It’s also a set of sample code that shows you what does it take to wrap a Silverlight component in a Web part; basically a super, super simple way for you guys to get started and taking that rich Silverlight experience and integrating it directly into SharePoint so that you get the best of both.
So, with that in mind, I’d actually like to talk about General Mills for a moment. General Mills is a particular customer that we’ve been working with, that’s actually been working on SharePoint, I think since SPS (SharePoint Portal Server) in 2001, so has been a great customer of ours to give us that feedback on where the product needs to go, et cetera.
We’ve been working with them specifically on how they might leverage Silverlight in a SharePoint environment. So, they have need of a lot of rich brands that have a lot of visuals to them and have a lot of videos, et cetera. So, they were a very good opportunity to actually take the richness of Silverlight and expose the functionality they needed to get the product managers in a very intuitive way.
Many of you already — or most of us know General Mills. They have 28,000 employees worldwide. You see some of the brands there. But I’d like to invite Elliot Gerard on stage, and he’s going to give you a sense of how they used SharePoint and Silverlight to deliver the solution for the marketers.
ELLIOT GERARD: Hey, Kurt. How are you? (Applause.)
KURT DELBENE: I’m a doing well. How are you?
ELLIOT GERARD: I’m thrilled to be here, and I brought a friend of mine, who’s equally thrilledCan you hear him?
KURT DELBENE: That’s a little faint, but I get the idea.
ELLIOT GERARD: Okay.
KURT DELBENE: Thank you very much. I hope this isn’t a statement about my physique.
ELLIOT GERARD: I also brought along a little t-shift that kind of sums up the way we feel about SharePoint. This t-shirt reads, “Good Things Come in Small Packages”. I have to agree.
KURT DELBENE: Outstanding. It’s a copy of SharePoint 2007. (Applause.) Thanks, Elliot.
So, what are you going to show us today, Elliot?
ELLIOT GERARD: I’m going to talk about the work that we’ve been doing on several fronts. Some of that is with Silverlight, and I’ll give you a little background into that. We have been trying to solve a problem with metadata. So, as SharePoint is evolving in our environment and more and more businesses are adopting SharePoint technologies, they’re taking their electronic assets and they’re putting it in different places all around their enterprise, but guess what, we’re having difficulty finding things, because we don’t really manage our metadata centrally.
So, about three or four months ago, I called up Tom — and by the way, I want to just take an opportunity to thank Kurt and Tom for all the great work that they’ve done with this product. I think they really deserve a huge hand. (Applause.)
KURT DELBENE: Thank you. I appreciate that.
ELLIOT GERARD: Because as an IT manager — and I’m not getting paid to say this — as an IT manager, it’s really making my life a lot easier, because a lot of things that we used to have to do manually, we can port over to SharePoint, and now we have our businesspeople doing this.
But anyway, back to metadata. So, one of our problems is we have these electronic assets, and they’re scattered all around the enterprise, and we didn’t have a really good way to centrally manage the metadata.
Here’s an example. So, the division; so, in the division we have Pillsbury U.S. Dough. That’s the name of our division. But the users would enter Pillsbury, PB, PB U.S., Dough. So, how do you find anything when you’re using search? It’s impossible.
So, we decided to try to build what we’re calling our metadata management toolkit, so we can get consistency in the metadata.
Right now the current situation is we have about 1,200 marketing people and consumer insights people, and they have to submit their documents to four admin, who then go and upload the documents into SharePoint, and put metadata around that they think best suits that asset. Well, we want to take control back and put it in the hands of the users, but the only way we can do this is to create a centrally managed metadata tool.
So, I’m going to kind of show you some of the work that we’ve done in partnership with Microsoft, building on some of this early Silverlight tool work that’s being done.
So, I’m going to pretend that I am John, who’s in the marketing area. And you can see here, this is what we call our Brand Champions portal. This is where the marketing people live and breathe every single day.
So, as a user I’m going to go into the portal, and I’m going to click “voice of consumer”. I’m going to go and select “trends” because that’s where I want to do my work. And in here I find the button that says “add documents”.
So, I’m going to go in and now what you’re looking at here is Silverlight controls on a form that we can style to match the current application. Our intention is to deliver this application to any area of the company that wants to leverage this power, so the users or the developers can style this page to kind of fit in to the look and feel of the existing portal.
So, basically the idea is go in, select the document, you’ll see that I brought back the title and description from the document. I’m going to enter the author name, and look what happens. We leverage Silverlight and SharePoint. We went out to the SharePoint document library, we brought back the five people that have authored documents in this area, and we also brought back account over here to show how many documents they’ve authored in that area.
You know, this is really great information. This really helps people with making decisions.
So, I’m playing the role of John. So, I’m going to go select myself, and then I’m going to close this control.
Now, down here you’ll see we have the vision, business unit, brand; these are all profile fields that we have synched up to our metadata management tool. That means that I am in control of this data.
Now, earlier somebody actually raised the question to Bill Gates about the ability to do relational dropdowns, and this is basically what we’ve achieved here. In addition to that, we’re actually leveraging Silverlight.
So, let me go show you what we’ve got. I’m going to click on “division”, and I’m going to select the very thing I was talking about, Pillsbury U.S. Dough. I’m going to select the good business unit, and now I’m going to go to a multi-select Silverlight control., and I’m going to select pizza crust, and I’m going to select cookies.
Notice what happens: As I make that selection, those metadata values are placed above the control. So, there they are. And if I don’t like them, I can click on the little X and get rid of them.
We also have a few other areas here, again dropdown boxes, and multiple select controls.
KURT DELBENE: And those values all know about each other, right, so that they can drill down?
ELLIOT GERARD: Absolutely. So, those first three that I just demoed, the vision, business unit, and branch, they’re all tied together. The way our tool works, you can have unlimited levels of relationships going on.
So, we didn’t want to confuse you guys, so we’d figured just three would be enough for now.
So, now I want to move on and show you some of the great work that we’ve done with search and leveraging some of the Silverlight capabilities.
So, I’m going to type in the word “breakfast”, which is something everybody at General Mills is an expert in, and I’m going to click on search, and I’m going to bring back this search form.
Now, in this search form, if you look over to the left side, you’ll see this is our filtering area. A lot of people are doing this kind of stuff. Some people call it faceted navigation. I’m going to go click on one of the authors, and you’ll see that the results sets now are reduced to five records authored by Brent.
Again using Silverlight I’m going to go filter on some images here. You can see now I’m just looking at some of our equity character images.
KURT DELBENE: What’s the slider do?
ELLIOT GERARD: Ah, the slider. I’m glad you asked that, Kurt.
So, we have this really cool base slider that everybody worked really hard on. So, I’m going to drag over to three months, and now I’m just filtering on documents that have been uploaded within the last three months.
KURT DELBENE: Cool.
ELLIOT GERARD: So, another really cool, innovative feature that just makes the experience more unique for the users.
Now, the last thing on the left side, we have this “collaborate with expert”. So, when we went out and searched for the word “breakfast”, not only did we go against the SharePoint content store, we also went against the user profile. So, we’ve asked our users to start filing in information: what do you know about, what are you an expert about? And now we can search those keywords, and I can bring back any people that have claimed to be an expert in a particular subject.
I’ll just click on one of these to show you kind of what we’ve done. So, I can bring back telephone number, title, and some various other information that that person has declared.
Okay, so now let’s go down and look at some of the meat of this search or I should say cereal.
I’m looking at this result set, and this is a big result set. I might want to just pull off some items to the side, and I’m going to come back, and maybe review a little bit later, because in the real world I might be looking at 200 items here, I might be looking at 500 items.
So, as I’m going through here, and I find something interesting, I can pull it off, and I can store it in the tray until I’m ready to come back and look at it.
KURT DELBENE: Very cool.
ELLIOT GERARD: All done with Silverlight. (Applause.)
I’m not done. Thank you. I’m not done; there’s more.
KURT DELBENE: But wait!
ELLIOT GERARD: But wait!
Okay, so here I am in the tray; watch this. Ooh! Wait, that’s the Pillsbury sound. That’s the Pillsbury sound.
Okay, so now I’ve got my items in the tray. I can rotate them around. You’ll notice down here in the tray I have different metadata highlighted. I could click on any one of those fields and further — what’s the word — filter, I can further filter down my search.
KURT DELBENE: There you go.
ELLIOT GERARD: All right. So, I have one last really exciting thing I want to show you. I’m playing the video right in the carousel.
KURT DELBENE: Outstanding. So, just your typical SharePoint site, you know.
ELLIOT GERARD: Yeah, pretty much.
KURT DELBENE: Everybody’s got one that looks just like this.
ELLIOT GERARD: Pretty much.
KURT DELBENE: That’s great.
ELLIOT GERARD: So, again what we’re looking at here, great.
So, just to kind of wrap up and summarize what I’m doing, this is just a glimpse into what we think is an emerging technology that we feel is going to help us capture more accurate metadata, and make search a more interactive, pleasant, and appealing experience to our users.
KURT DELBENE: Great.
ELLIOT GERARD: Thank you.
KURT DELBENE: Thank you very much, Elliot. (Applause.) That’s fantastic.
So, hopefully that gives you a sense of what’s possible with the Silverlight toolkit that we’re giving to you. Again, it’s all about prescriptive guidance, about how you do the implementation, and about sample code to get you going; really to change the kinds of sites you can create to be these rich media experiences, as well as the traditional collaboration experiences that we’ve seen in the past, and deployed in the past.
I wanted to switch gears a little bit and talk about enterprise capabilities. We have talked to many, many customers about being enterprise class, about absolutely scaling to no-limit scalability into the hundreds of thousands of users.
SharePoint Enterprise Capabilities
One of the things that helps us tremendously in this regard is the wave of products that we announced just last week, the 2008 wave. We announced a new version of Windows Server 2008, a new version of SQL Server 2008, and a new version of Visual Studio.
We are committed to provide you support for these new products out of the box, and are encouraging you to take a look at how you can deploy them across your organization and get the benefits that they will drive.
So, for example, in Windows Server, new security enhancements, the ability to roll out, deploy different roles and having it secure by design that way. In terms of multi-core support, improvements in the TCP/IP stack, lots of performance improvements wrapped up into Windows Server 2008, manageability enhancements, and we ship support for Windows Server 2008 starting with SP1, and we’ve got an availability, a slipstream that lets you do that upgrade as well. So, we’ve got that support in the box, and I highly encourage you to take a look at how you roll out to the next version of Windows Server.
Also lots of support for SQL Server, and lots of interesting enhancements there as well, the high availability improvements, the improvements to mirroring to improve that, the reliability and high availability of your SharePoint implementation; security enhancements in terms of having the ability to be — transparent data encryption, so all your data transparently gets encrypted there. And also we’re planning on supporting — we have — there’s a release out now, but we’re supporting the RTM release the minute it’s available to you, so commitment around that as well.
And then Visual Studio, lots of support, as I mentioned, around rich support for workflow design, task panes in the Office client via VSTO (Visual Studio Tools for Office), customizable ribbons, et cetera, lots of integrated support in for your SharePoint applications as well.
And with that, I’m actually going to bring Tom back out, and he’s going to show us some of the enhancements we’ve done around high availability, and show you exactly how those work in this new environment using Windows Server and the next version of SQL.
So, Tom, take it away.
TOM RIZZO: All right, thank you. You’re probably all sick of seeing me, so this is my last demo, I promise, and then I’ll leave the conference for the rest of the week, so thank you.
KURT DELBENE: Yeah, right.
TOM RIZZO: So, what you’re seeing here is we have a performance monitoring app that we built inside of SharePoint. So, we got — HP was nice enough to lend this six-blade rack to us. I will be trying to drag it home after the conference to my car. So, I may need help loading it up.
But we can see we have two Web front-ends, two SQL Servers using database mirroring. One of the beauties of this demo is it’s all running on the launch 2008 wave: Windows 2008, SQL Server 2008, and we’re going to use Visual Studio 2008 inside of here.
Of course, I have to show off some gratuitous Vista, 3D flipping here. We all love this feature.
But I’m going to pop over to Visual Studio 2008. One of the great things that we included in Visual Studio 2008 was the test edition. So, you can go off and do a Webcast against your SharePoint environment, and that’s what we’re going to go do here, against our HP blade. So, I’m just going to start this test, and we’ve got a bunch of bloggers, a bunch of searchers, and you can configure the Web test to whatever you want to blast your SharePoint environment to understand the load.
So, I’m just going to let it go because it takes a little bit to actually load up the test and get it started. But the way that you actually create this test is pretty simple. You just come to test, new test — we give you a number of different tests inside of here, and all we did was a Web test. We recorded the steps inside of the Web browser to go against our SharePoint environment, doing the things like creating a blog, uploading a document, all these sorts of things. And now we’re simulating clients blasting this server inside of here.
So, if I pop back here, you’ll see now that SharePoint 1 is the only Web front-end that we actually have enabled. It looks like it’s getting a little bit maxed out, right, on the CPU, on the actual memory. So, this is the beauty of SharePoint, right? It’s obvious we support scale-out environments with adding more Web front-ends. It looks like SharePoint Server 2 is not really pulling its load in terms of being able to handle the actual load that we have across SharePoint 1.
So, let me flip over and pop over to my network load balancing here. Now, I already set up the farm, I installed SharePoint, I added it to here. I just disabled for my network load balancing standpoint, just in the sake of time, actually the SharePoint second server to actually show you adding capacity to SharePoint.
So, let me go in and actually take the control host here and start it up. And if we go back and give it a couple seconds here, you’re going to see that SharePoint 1 and SharePoint 2 over here are going to start sharing the load between each other. So, this is the scale-out capabilities of SharePoint. And I guarantee you; all of you have actually probably done this inside your environment.
Combine this with capacity planner; if I had actually run my capacity planner tool from earlier, I would have known that I probably needed two Web front-ends. So, shame on me for not using my own tool.
Now, the next thing that you told us beyond just scaling out SharePoint and allowing a lot of load against your SharePoint environment is that you want a highly available SQL Server environment.
So, what we have here is — let me pop over to our SQL Server machine. We support database mirroring. So, if you haven’t looked at database mirroring in SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008 — and this is the management studio inside of SQL Server 2008 — if I want a highly available rack, HP right here, all I have to do is come in here, go to my different tasks for SQL Server, and just enable the mirror through a simple wizard. So, I just go and configure my security, log into my SQL boxes, do I want a witness for automatic failover, what’s my principal here, what’s my secondary server, my backup server for my SQL Server environment, and what user account should I log in as. What’s my witness instance inside of here, so let me connect to that.
And then I just click finish. SQL Server goes, configures all the endpoints, all security, all this great stuff. And then to start mirroring my SharePoint environment, I just click on “start mirroring” and once it’s synchronized down here at the bottom, you’ll see that now we have an actual highly available SQL Server system with our SharePoint deployment.
If I pop back to the Web app, you see that the SQL secondary now is just mimicking what’s on that primary machine.
Now, let’s kill SQL. We can do it in a simple way. We can stop the service. I’m going to walk over to our friendly blade. All the HP people are probably going to be in shock in about a second. But I don’t think I need SQL Server anymore, so I’m just going to pull out of the actual blade from the server, and leave it right there.
KURT DELBENE: That woke up HP people in the back.
TOM RIZZO: Yeah, no one in the back is sleeping anymore.
We see that SQL primary has gone away, our load on our two SharePoint front-ends have gone away. Give it a couple seconds for it to realize that — for SharePoint to realize that that SQL Server is gone, and we’ll actually see that load comes immediately back.
So, what you’re seeing here just really quickly is our support for Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, how you can leverage those products today to build a highly available, highly reliable SharePoint environment.
Things, Kurt. (Applause.)
KURT DELBENE: Thanks, Tom.
I’m still kind of reeling from him throwing the thing on the — I’m thinking of doing that to my Small Business Server at home. It’s not going to like it.
Just a couple more slides to kind of wrap things up, and then we’re going to go to Q&A.
I wanted to give you some sense of what I think are important investments in the future. As SharePoint is now one of the largest teams in the information worker business at Microsoft, because of the level of investment that we’ve got going on across Windows SharePoint Services, SharePoint Designer, Office SharePoint Server as well, we’ve got a lot on the roadmap moving forward.
One of the pieces that’s already talked about is the whole notion of a cloud platform. Our goal is to take all of the functionality that you see today in Windows SharePoint Services, in Office SharePoint Server, the design environment, the applications platform, and move that to the cloud, and deliver it to you in a set of experiences that either go from to consumer-oriented experiences, Office Live that we’ve shipped already and are continuing to enhance is based on SharePoint at its core — I’m not sure how many of you realize that — but also having SharePoint Online available in terms of the services that we’re just announcing today, and we will move more and more of the functionality to the cloud moving forward.
The goal is to give you guys an option. You can either have it on-premise or you can have it in the cloud; it’s your choice. That’s your guarantee that as the market evolves in terms of getting more comfortable with what’s on the Web, your SharePoint deployment will evolve, too, and we’ll give you those critical options that are necessary, and you make the choice as to how you want it.
We have a lot of work to do in terms of process automation, lots of improvements in terms of workflow, the ability to design workflow, more options in terms of how workflows actually fork, the approval processes, et cetera. We got a lot of work to do in that area.
The Business Data Catalogue hasn’t been talked about much today so far, and I wanted to emphasize its importance in terms of delivering connectivity to backend line of business systems, so that it’s available within SharePoint, so it’s available to search, et cetera. We will be dramatically enhancing the capabilities of the Business Data Catalogue and using it as that conduit from SharePoint to back-end line of business systems, allowing more and more rich functionality via the BDC, allowing scenarios on the client, et cetera. So, that’s a very, very important piece of our investment, and overall investment connecting to line of business systems and business process automation is a key issue for us.
We are going to continue our investments around the yin and the yang of end user empowerment and giving them the enterprise interpretation of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 constructs, but also giving you guys the controllability of those so that you can lock down the data you need to lock down, you can audit the information and accessing it, you can add digital rights enablement on it, et cetera. And so giving you the best of both possible worlds is a key investment for us as well.
And then finally, social-centric computing: One of the things that I think is a particular key about our approach to social networking is a realization early on that social networking cannot be a product that you guys install; it has to be a set of pervasive capabilities that go across the entire infrastructure that you’re already installing, that you’re already deploying and depending upon for your business.
So, our commitment to you is to infuse the SharePoint experience with social networking constructs in all the right places. Our commitment is to do taxonomy management in a way that you can do cloud tagging, and you can have that information show up in SharePoint MySites, to get richer and richer experiences in SharePoint MySites so that out of the box you deploy SharePoint, you upgrade to the next version, and you’ve just got a rich social networking experience that connects people to different people, to expertise in the organization, et cetera. Again, the goal being it’s not a different place to go; it’s just a function that you get similar to how you got check-in/checkout enterprise content management in the current version of SharePoint.
I think it’s also important to emphasize that MySites is something we’ve been deploying for a couple releases now. And so I encourage you to take a look at it. It’s a stable concept. It is a way for you guys to get going in social networking and reaching out to other people.
I’ll point you back at the Accenture example. One of the key companies in the industry, if anybody needed to be able to connect people to expertise and communities, Accenture is one of those companies, and they’ve really invested in MySites as their commitment to how they deliver social networking and connecting individuals to individuals in a rich way.
So, I’ll leave you with this: There’s a lot of information for you guys to take a look at. There’s a lot of great sessions that are coming up over the next four days. I’d encourage you again to look at the Solution Accelerators. You will get more of those in the future. We’ll basically look at the key places that you need help, and we’ll deliver those to you.
Deploy and install SP 1; lots of great improvement there, certainly encourage you to go for that.
Lots of new documentation, please take a look.
End user training: Take a look at the Gear Up site. It really will help you a ton in terms of thinking about your deployment, how you deliver training to end-users et cetera.
Take a look at Silverlight, and use the kit that we’re giving you to jumpstart into these new visual and media experiences.
And then I’d highly encourage you to take a look at 64-bit and take a look at the 2008 products. Both will enhance scalability and enhance security, et cetera; so a really worthwhile set of investments for you guys to take a look at.