SharePoint Notes

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Site Provisioning Assistant for SharePoint 2007

Posted by Christian Dam on April 29, 2008


I have been evaluating some new tools and add-ons today. One of them actually impressed me so much and and can provide so much added value, that I feel compelled to share my findings.

I am talking about Site Provisioning Assistant for SharePoint 2007 from SharePoint Solutions. It may be well-known in the US but it’s the first time I see it in my neck of the woods 🙂

Installation:

The installation is straightforward so I’ll skip the instructions for that. Just grab the trial version here (requires registration) and go for it. A couple of points about installing the license files, though:

  • the license files must be installed prior to installing the product
  • there is no separate license file download for SPA, but it is included in the Trial License for Extranet Collaboration Manager.
  • the license file installation don’t work correctly on 64-bit architecture. on x64 the files are installed in C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\XHEO\SharedLicenses but the software is looking for them in C:\Program Files\Common Files\XHEO\SharedLicenses. SImply copy the files and you are good to go

Creating the provisioning site:

Once Site Provisioning Assistant is installed you get a new site template. Use it to create a new site:

  1. Go to the site or site collection of you choice
  2. Select Site Actions -> Create Site
  3. Enter Title, Description and URL
  4. In the Template Selection choose the Management tab and select Provisioning Management
  5. Finally, click Create

The Provisioning Site looks like this:

Initially no provisioning profiles are created, so we’ll create two different profiles, one Intranet Site Provisioning profile and a Extranet Site Collection Provisioning profile.

Creating the Intranet Site Provisioning Profile

  1. Select Site Actions -> Provisioning Settings -> Add Site Provisioning Profile
  2. Enter Title and Description
  3. Select Create new Category and name it Intranet Sites
  4. Leave the remaining settings and click Next
  5. Select the Web Application the new sites are created in
  6. If the Web Application have Site Collection(s) select which site collection will contain the new sites
  7. Select the Parent Site and click Next
  8. Select Language and Site Template and click Next
  9. Finally, select any of the Additional Input Fields and click Finish

Creating the Extranet Site Collection Provisioning Profile

  1. Select Site Actions -> Provisioning Settings -> Add Site Collection Provisioning Profile
  2. Enter Title and Description
  3. Select Create new Category and name it Extranet Sites
  4. Leave the remaining settings and click Next
  5. Select the Web Application the new sites collections are created in
  6. If you want the new site collections to have their own databases, select Creates site collection in a new database. Enter the required database information as well. I recommend to apply use some sort of naming convention to the database names, e.g. SPA_{SiteTitle}
  7. Click Next
  8. Select Language and Site Template
  9. Enter the Primary and Secondary Site Collection Administrators and click Next
  10. Finally, select any of the Additional Input Fields and click Finish

Our new Provisioning Profiles are now available for users.

Requesting a Site:

Users can now very easy request a site or site collection by using one the Provisioning profiles we just created:

  1. Click Request Site in the Extranet Sites section
  2. Enter Title, URL and any information required and click Finish. The URL is relative to the URL speficed as Location so no need to enter the http bits again
  3. The My Active Site Requests web part is now populated with the site request

Approving or rejecting a Site Request:

Approving or rejecting a site request is straight forward:

  1. Select All Site Requests (unless you are approving your own requests – in that case use the My Active Site Requests web part)
  2. Click Review Request
  3. Select Approve/Reject  Item
  4. Approve or Reject the request and click OK
  5. The site is now being created

Pretty cool, eh? Well, I think it is and I can think of a lot of ways where this can add value. I think it is especially useful when:

  • the IT staff is not necessarily highly skilled SharePoint Admins
  • Governance is an issue 
  • site creation can’t wait for an SharePoint administrator to become available

If Governance, self service, and site provisioning is important to you, I’d recommend you to take a look at the tool. The documentation is not that fantastic but there is a lot of information on the support web site.

One note about the licensing: it requires one license per Web Front-end and the cost is $3.595 per Web Front-end in your farm. A bit pricy for large farms but if you have a lot of users, chances are you will really benefit from the site provisioning capabilities.

 

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