[Video] Validate SharePoint farm configurations using Best Practices reports

In this demonstration video, we will show you how you can use the Best Practices feature from SPDocKit to analyze your SharePoint farms, improve their performance, or to fix potential issues. It helps you to optimize your farm according to the latest SharePoint Best Practices, and to check whether the current state of the SharePoint farm conforms to published software boundaries and limits. So, let's start!

Table of contents:

0:20 SPDocKit Snapshots
1:24 Best Practices Dashboard
1:53 BP example no.1 - SQL Alias
2:32 BP example no.2 - RAM
2:52 BP example no.3 - Is SharePoint up to Date
3:12 Use Case - Diagnostic Log Path
5:06 Best Practices Extras - Custom reports, exporting and email subscriptions

What are SPDocKit Snapshots?

The key feature of SPDocKit is the ability to create snapshots. A snapshot contains all the settings from your SharePoint configuration, central administration, everything about your sites, inventory, features and applications installed on your servers, information about your hardware and software – everything that makes a SharePoint farm. On the SPDocKit homescreen, you can choose to take a snapshot or view a previously created one from the database. When you open the snapshot, you can use Farm Explorer to explore all the settings that have been configured for your farm.

Best Practices Reports

When you open your snapshot, jump to the Best Practices. What you will see is the Best Practices Dashboard – it shows you an overview of all the settings in SharePoint that have been misconfigured, as well as those that have been configured properly. In this video, we covered a few of these reports with a short demo:

  • SQL Alias: This is one common mistake that many administrators initially make when configuring SharePoint – they don't use SQL Alias. This becomes a problem when you want to migrate your SQL Servers to another instance or another SQL Server box, because if you are not using the alias, you might run into another problem moving your databases from one server to another.
    In this Best Practice, we detect that situation and inform the administrator that he or she should fix this particular setting to improve maintenance, or to make maintenance of SharePoint easier than it is without SQL Alias.
  • RAM: In the video, it was also detected that our farm doesn't follow the recommended memory size Best Practices, and it doesn't have sufficient working memory for many web front-end servers. That is something that should be changed in order to improve the performance of this particular farm.
  • Is SharePoint up to Date: This particular Best Practice detects whether your SharePoint is up to date, or you are using a version that has been updated by Microsoft and there is a service pack or cumulative update that replaces this particular version. We recommend that our client update to that version.

Use Case – Diagnostic Log Path - Best Practices Check and a Quick Solution

Issue: Under Monitoring and Logging reports, we used the Diagnostic Log Path. This Best Practice report is used to detect whether you are storing your log files to your primary drive on your SharePoint server. This can be a problem if there are a lot of logs being produced in a short period of time, as this can lead to your primary drive being filled with a lot of data that can potentially cause your Windows Server to stop working.

Solution: This is an easy fix! You need to go to your SharePoint central administration – jump to Monitoring – then under Reporting, go to Configure Diagnostic Logging – scroll down to the Path text box. Here you just need to fill in the value of some other drive that you have in your system (e.g. G:\Logs\) and transfer all your logs to that drive. This is going to change the settings in the SharePoint.

Best Practices - new log path in SharePoint central admin
Final check: Now you need to jump back into SPDocKit and take a new snapshot. It will gather and save the new setting that you changed for Diagnostic Log Path. Now you can go to Best Practices and you will see that the Diagnostic Log Path report shows no errors and detects your logs on G drive, which is a good setting!

BP- log path checked

Best Practices Extras

We know that, for many systems, you cannot use the same values, so that's why we are providing you the Customize Best Practices option. It helps you to configure default values for some options, and it allows you to uncheck some Best Practices that you don't want to analyze – in case you don't need that particular setting, or you don't agree with a Best Practices value. Some options that are numeric values can be easily changed, such as the amount of memory. You can also configure different values for different versions of SharePoint, as there are different requirements from 2010 to 2016.

You can also create a new Best Practice report using a built-in wizard. It can work on any data that has been stored as part of your snapshot, and this Best Practice is going to be checked after every snapshot has been created. It is easy to use and you can customize the values that are shown in the wizard. We have prepared a step-by-step guide to help you create these reports.

All the Best Practices can be easily exported to PDF, Word, or Excel format, and you can then distribute these to your colleagues: store them in SharePoint or File Share, or send them via email using scheduling options so that they can review them on a regular basis.

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Wanna try SPDocKit?

We continuously work on Best Practices reports. We update them when there is a new SharePoint version, or if there are new recommendations published to help our clients optimize their farms in the best possible way. Try SPDocKit and tune up your farm performance!