SharePoint 2013 Learning Roadmap and Certifications


As with any new release there is an associated learning curve for anybody within the industry. In the past, Microsoft would rely solely on Microsoft Learning Centers to help get the information out. For SharePoint 2013 they are starting to do more. Recently multiple Learning Roadmaps for SharePoint 2013 were released to help IT Professionals understand what has changed with the platform. These Learning Roadmaps are broken down into:

  • Authentication in SharePoint 2013
  • Upgrade for SharePoint 2013
  • Virtualize SharePoint 2013
  • Windows PowerShell for SharePoint 2013

Within each of these Learning Roadmaps Microsoft breaks the information down into: Prerequisite information, 100 through 300 Level information, Ongoing Learning and other resources. A very handy tool for gaining knowledge on the SharePoint 2013 platform.

SharePoint 2013 Learning Roadmaps

Additionally it should be noted that the SharePoint 2013 certification path has changed, and in my opinion, for the better. My colleague Brian Caauwe wrote a post last October detailing the new and upgrade certifications for SharePoint 2013 within a post of SharePoint 2013 IT Pro Certifications. In essence for an IT Pro to be certified with SharePoint 2013 they will need to have their MCSA for Windows Server 2012. That is correct, you will need to understand the underlying server platform along with the SharePoint 2013 platform to become fully certified!

Luckily if you already have your SharePoint 2010 MCITP then it is a single exam (70-417 Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012) that you will need to worry about.

With all that said, I believe all of us will be putting in some time and studying to get ready for this within the coming year. Good luck to all going after your certifications.

 

</don>

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SharePoint Conference 2012 – Advanced Dashboard Creation Using Excel, Excel Services, PerformancePoint and Apps for Office


Later on day 3 of the SPC12 conference I sat in a packed session with Kevin Donovan talking about some of the advances of SharePoint, Excel, and PerformancePoint. Kevin started by talking the different levels of Business Intelligence that are being move evident within today’s workplace. These include:

  • Personal Business Intelligence – using Excel and connecting to data (available On Premises and Cloud)
  • Self-Service Business Intelligence – create Excel and publish to SharePoint (available On Premises and limited Cloud)
  • Corporate Business Intelligence – authored using SharePoint, Excel Services, and PerformancePoint for the entire organization (available On Premises and very limited Cloud)

Kevin jumped into great advances within the Excel 2013 including:

  • Quick Analysis – right click on table to access and this gives you many tools to quickly analyze your information
  • Recommended Pivot Tables – when creating a Pivot Table this will bring in any other pieces of data, such as Power View and make them available
  • Timeline Slicer – similar to regular slicers except based on time
  • Power View – which is now included within Excel 2013 and not an add-in

Kevin continued to talked about some of the issues that arise when self-service Business Intelligence becomes more prevalent within organizations. People tend to start questioning the validity of the data and ask where it came from. Microsoft recently acquired an auditing product called Audit and Control Management server. This product will be able to audit changes make to spreadsheets, configure an custom alerts and even access historical information about the file. This will help with internal compliance and regulatory needs.

One of the newer tools that is available within SQL Server Data Tools (called BIDS previously) allows IT to bring in a PowerPivot set of data found within an Excel workbook and use within Analysis Services. This helps to move the presentation layer for the data from a Self-Service BI to Corporate BI mentality. Of course when the organization is ready to make the move.

From the Excel Services side for SharePoint 2013 there are a lot of new/improved features that have been plaguing this feature since SharePoint 2007. Field List/Field Well is the capability of tapping into data connection within the web browser to choose a dimension. This will negate the need to having to always open the client when working with your data. Another important feature is EffectiveUsername. This allows you to pass a username identity to Analysis Services which is set on the connection string. Ultimately it connects using the as the process identity for Excel Services and then uses the logged on user name to access the appropriate data.

Another thing that I always had a hard time with in SharePoint 2007 & 2010 was remembering what a named range/object was within the Excel spreadsheet. Now with Named Object View v2 we have the capability of choose these named ranged while in the browser and interacting with the information.

Kevin talked some about the new Microsoft App Store. This store is not just for Windows phone 8. Included in the App Store are applications that are created for use within SharePoint 2013 and Office 2013 products. For example, he highlighted an election map for the just recent election that allows you to see over time what happened for electoral and popular vote for the presidency. The Add Apps for Office can be found in the Insert Page of an Office 2013 product.

AppsForOffice

 

The Apps for Office currently out there are taking free data sets and creating a dashboard to help developer understand what is possible. These Apps can be created internally of your organization allowing you to tie into existing data sources. Once these Apps have been created they can be published to File Shares, the Microsoft Marketplace, or Corporate Catalogs within SharePoint.

The presentation moved to talked about changes within the PerformancePoint environment. Kevin started out by outline big picture some of the changes within this SharePoint 2013 service.

  • Themes – any theme that is applied to a SharePoint site will be carried over into the dashboard.
  • Dashboard Designer can now be initiated from the SharePoint ribbon.
  • Filter Enhancements & Filter Search – this feature allows you to drill down into information quickly, search for a specific piece of information within the filter and then bolds the hierarchy so you know which nodes you selected.
  • EffectiveUsername – is the same feature as within Excel and Excel Services.
  • Server-Side Migration – allows a dashboard or individual components within a Dashboard to be exported from one location and imported into another SharePoint location. The export/import will also allow you to include data connections and Excel spreadsheets that are associated to your dashboard. This can also be scripted by using PowerShell from the SharePoint server.
  • Dashboard Designer Authentication allows organizations to not only use Windows Authentication but also Forms Based Authentication when creating dashboards.

Overall I found this session to be very informative when it comes to using out of the box features to help deliver Business Intelligence information to the users. In the scheme of things the Excel/Excel Services components would be considered Crawl and some Walking. The PerformancePoint would probably start within the Walk and move into the Run phases for organizations with BI needs.

</don>

SharePoint Conference 2012 – Advanced Dashboard Creation Using Excel, Excel Services, PerformancePoint and Apps for Office


Later on day 3 of the SPC12 conference I sat in a packed session with Kevin Donovan talking about some of the advances of SharePoint, Excel, and PerformancePoint. Kevin started by talking the different levels of Business Intelligence that are being move evident within today’s workplace.

To read more of this blog post please click here.

</don>

SharePoint Conference 2012 – Advanced Dashboard Creation Using Excel, Excel Services, PerformancePoint and Apps for Office


Later on day 3 of the SPC12 conference I sat in a packed session with Kevin Donovan talking about some of the advances of SharePoint, Excel, and PerformancePoint. Kevin started by talking the different levels of Business Intelligence that are being move evident within today’s workplace. These include:

  • Personal Business Intelligence – using Excel and connecting to data (available On Premises and Cloud)
  • Self-Service Business Intelligence – create Excel and publish to SharePoint (available On Premises and limited Cloud)
  • Corporate Business Intelligence – authored using SharePoint, Excel Services, and PerformancePoint for the entire organization (available On Premises and very limited Cloud)

Kevin jumped into great advances within the Excel 2013 including:

  • Quick Analysis – right click on table to access and this gives you many tools to quickly analyze your information
  • Recommended Pivot Tables – when creating a Pivot Table this will bring in any other pieces of data, such as Power View and make them available
  • Timeline Slicer – similar to regular slicers except based on time
  • Power View – which is now included within Excel 2013 and not an add-in

Kevin continued to talked about some of the issues that arise when self-service Business Intelligence becomes more prevalent within organizations. People tend to start questioning the validity of the data and ask where it came from. Microsoft recently acquired an auditing product called Audit and Control Management server. This product will be able to audit changes make to spreadsheets, configure an custom alerts and even access historical information about the file. This will help with internal compliance and regulatory needs.

One of the newer tools that is available within SQL Server Data Tools (called BIDS previously) allows IT to bring in a PowerPivot set of data found within an Excel workbook and use within Analysis Services. This helps to move the presentation layer for the data from a Self-Service BI to Corporate BI mentality. Of course when the organization is ready to make the move.

From the Excel Services side for SharePoint 2013 there are a lot of new/improved features that have been plaguing this feature since SharePoint 2007. Field List/Field Well is the capability of tapping into data connection within the web browser to choose a dimension. This will negate the need to having to always open the client when working with your data. Another i mportant features is EffectiveUsername. This allows you to pass a username identity to Analysis Services which is set on the connection string. Ultimately it connects using the as the process identity for Excel Services and then uses the logged on user name to access the appropriate data.

Another thing that I always had a hard time with in SharePoint 2007 & 2010 was remembering what a named range/object was within the Excel spreadsheet. Now with Named Object View v2 we have the capability of choose these named ranged while in the browser and interacting with the information.

Kevin talked some about the new Microsoft App Store. This store is not just for Windows phone 8. Included in the App Store are applications that are created for use within SharePoint 2013 and Office 2013 products. For example, he highlighted an election map for the just recent election that allows you to see over time what happened for electoral and popular vote for the presidency. The Add Apps for Office can be found in the Insert Page of an Office 2013 product.

AppsForOffice

 

The Apps for Office currently out there are taking free data sets and creating a dashboard to help developer understand what is possible. These Apps can be created internally of your organization allowing you to tie into existing data sources. Once these Apps have been created they can be published to File Shares, the Microsoft Marketplace, or Corporate Catalogs within SharePoint.

The presentation moved to talked about changes within the PerformancePoint environment. Kevin started out by outline big picture some of the changes within this SharePoint 2013 service.

  • Themes – any theme that is applied to a SharePoint site will be carried over into the dashboard.
  • Dashboard Designer can now be initiated from the SharePoint ribbon.
  • Filter Enhancements & Filter Search – this feature allows you to drill down into information quickly, search for a specific piece of information within the filter and then bolds the hierarchy so you know which nodes you selected.
  • EffectiveUsername – is the same feature as within Excel and Excel Services.
  • Server-Side Migration – allows a dashboard or individual components within a Dashboard to be exported from one location and imported into another SharePoint location. The export/import will also allow you to include data connections and Excel spreadsheets that are associated to your dashboard. This can also be scripted by using PowerShell from the SharePoint server.
  • Dashboard Designer Authentication allows organizations to not only use Windows Authentication but also Forms Based Authentication when creating dashboards.

Overall I found this session to be very informative when it comes to using out of the box features to help deliver Business Intelligence information to the users. In the scheme of things the Excel/Excel Services components would be considered Crawl and some Walking. The PerformancePoint would probably start within the Walk and move into the Run phases for organizations with BI needs.

</don>

SharePoint Conference 2012 – SharePoint 2013 Upgrade Deep Dive


In the morning of SPC2012 day 3 I attended the SharePoint 2013 Upgrade Deep Dive by Sean Livingston. This was a part two by Sean who did an Overview on the first day of the conference. Sean started off by showing us a particularly interesting flowchart that depicted the Check Site Collection Health, Request Site Collection Upgrade, and Create Evaluation Site Collection components work.

 

Deferred Site Collect Upgrade Flowchart

 

Compatibility level is the successor to Visual Upgrade which was introduced in SharePoint 2010. Similar to what we saw in 2010, if a site is in SharePoint 2010 or 14 mode then it only has those SharePoint 2010 features. It is not until you upgrade to SharePoint 2013 or 15 mode you will be able to use the newer features. The compatibility level designation is only found on the site collection level and can be found within PowerShell at the following object level SPSite.CompatibilityLevel.

Because both exist it is possible to create both SharePoint 2010 and 2013 site collections. There are some exceptions to this because of deprecated features including:

  • Web Analytics
  • PowerPoint Broadcast
  • Work Group Templates

Also because of this split architecture it is important to note that when installing SharePoint Solutions you will also need to specify which environment this is deploying out to. Options for CompatibilityLevel include:

  • 14 – to install in the 14 directory
  • 15 – to install in the 15 directory
  • “14,15” – installs in both directories
  • “AllVersions” or “All” installs in both directories
  • “OldVersions” or “Old” installs in the 14 directory
  • “NewVersion” or “New” installs in the 15 directory

Another important component is wrapped around the ability for SharePoint 2013 for Site Collection Administrators to upgrade from SharePoint 2010 to 2013. To prevent all 30 Site Collection Administrators from upgrading all at once and taxing your memory and SQL IOPS there is a throttle in place. The upgrade queue will handle 10 upgrades per content database or 5 per web application. It is first come first server when it comes to upgrades. As the upgrades are processed there is a monitor that will allow you to check the progress: Queued, In Progress, Failed, or Success. This is accomplished by using the following command:

Get-SPSiteUpgradeSessionInfo -ContentDatabase -ShowProgress -ShowCompleted

It is possible to adjust the number of upgrades that the queue can handle, which is done at the web application level using the SPWebApplication.SiteUpgradeThrottleSettings.UsageStorageLimit or the SPWebApplication.SiteUpgradeThrottleSettings.SubwebCountLimit object model within PoSH. However a word of warning, only do this if you have an environment with hardware to handle the increase load. SharePoint PoSH also includes the capability of evicting an upgrade that is currently in queue. Also if you do not have Site Collection Administrators that will be doing the upgrade you can as a Farm Administrator run the Upgrade-SPSite for any of the site collections. This command will still honor the database throttling that has been established. The following command will add all site collections all at once:

Get-SPSite | upgrade-spsite -versionUpgrade –QueueOnly

Along with the upgrade throttling there is a Evaluation Site Collection throttling. As a reminder this is the capability of a SharePoint 2010 Site Collection to preview an upgrade to 2013. This create an “Evalulation” copy of the site collection. This process works with SQL server that supports Snapshots, otherwise it will use backup and restore. Besides the throttling, SharePoint 2013 also includes a timer job that will run to put up those in queue and process them. Because this is a copy of the site collection, it will take up more space in the database to ensure there is enough room to handle this overhead. There is also an expiration date of 30 days after creation. This can be changed using PoSH.

Another interesting component for SharePoint 2013 is that when create web applications, the default security is now going to be Claims. This was not true in SharePoint 2010. It is highly recommended that you use Claims since it is a more secure environment, but if you do not currently have Claims setup in your environment it is recommended that you upgrade to Claims prior to migration to SharePoint 2013.

All in all this was a very informative session on the inner workings of the SharePoint 2013 upgrade avenue. I know I will be using doing this more and more in the upcoming months.

</don>