The Difference Between Per-User And Per-Server SharePoint

Here at Rackspace we love SharePoint – so much so that we have a whole team dedicated to the product. We call ourselves SharePoint@Rackspace and have a fun filled website (if you haven’t seen it before).

While our team does everything including SharePoint Consulting and SharePoint Training, the product we sell the most of is hosted SharePoint or SharePoint in the cloud. We use the words interchangeably like that because we have found that customers consider any SharePoint not in their datacenter to be “in the cloud.” We strive to avoid confusion, so we have come up with much simpler product names: Per-User and Per-Server.

Per-User SharePoint

This, in its most simple form, is SharePoint sold per user, per month. You will often hear this referred to as multi-tenant SharePoint or SharePoint as SaaS. We run the infrastructure and handle the admin work like patching, backups and figuring out what is wrong with SQL Server; and you just use your SharePoint site to run your business. We are currently running SharePoint 2013 with the March 2013 public update. This product is available in SharePoint Foundation, Standard and Enterprise. Because we run the infrastructure and are supporting thousands of users, there is a limit to the customizations you can make to the environment. Can you use SharePoint Designer to make it look not like SharePoint? Absolutely. Can you install third farm web parts that are packaged as farm solutions? No. Sorry, but the key to the stability of this farm is the consistency so no farm solutions or server level changes allowed. This offering sound like it might be worth a shot? Check out the 45 day free trial. No credit card required to take it for a spin.

Per-Server SharePoint

Do you need to make wild customizations or have a complex configuration to meet some regulation? Then Per-Server SharePoint is for you. This offering is the same SharePoint that you would install in your own environment. The only difference is we install it for you on dedicated to you servers in one of our worldwide datacenters. Since the environment is 100 percent dedicated to you, when you ask the questions “Can I do X? Can I install custom code? Can I have all of my backups copied to floppy disks every day at tea time?” The answer is always YES. Now, hopefully you don’t really want to copy things to floppy drives, but they are your servers and if you want to add floppy drives who are we to stop you? In this offering you can choose between SharePoint 2010 and 2013 at any license level. And speaking of licenses, if you already have SharePoint licenses you can bring them to us. This is truly your SharePoint environment we are just taking care of it for you. Sadly because of the nature of this dedicated offering no free trials are available.

So if you are looking to take advantage of SharePoint without having to sweat the details of actually keeping it up and running, then look no further than SharePoint@Rackspace. If you need help figuring out which offering is best for you then feel free to contact us. We are always here to help.

Shane has more than 15 years of experience architecting and administering large-scale server farms using Microsoft enterprise technologies. For the past seven years, he has been working exclusively with SharePoint products and technologies as a consultant and trainer.



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