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Microsoft SharePoint can’t scale, but people want it anyway.

Posted by Gia Lyons on March 28, 2008

Good article on InfoWorld…

In March, Bill Gates said SharePoint had passed 100 million licenses sold, had attracted 17,000 user companies, and had eclipsed $1 billion in sales for his company.

Many critics dispute the licensing number but not the message that SharePoint is on fire.

SharePoint, however, isn’t without issues that users should consider, including the fact that it does not scale well given the way it stores data in SQL Server, a concern Microsoft is working to answer in the next version likely to ship in 2009.

Or that its social-networking tools are considered rudimentary, that SharePoint’s portal capabilities still don’t measure up to enterprise-class platforms, and that the server takes customizations to make it truly sing.

“I think there is going to be some buyer’s remorse,” Gotta says.

SharePoint does many things, but scaling is not one of them. SharePoint stores everything in SQL Server in what amounts to one universal table, which leads to lots of on-the-wire traffic and a Microsoft recommendation of only 2,000 items per list. By contrast, IBM WebSphere permits hundreds of millions of items per list.

The social-networking tools are uninspiring, and Microsoft is partnering with NewsGator (feed reader) and Atlassian (wiki) to cover bases, which will lead to inevitable feature clashes as SharePoint evolves.  

“Compared to what is out there today, Microsoft’s Web 2.0 tools look old and very static and are clunky and difficult to use,” says Oliver Young, an analyst with Forrester.

But Young says those limitations and others are speed bumps, not show-stoppers.

“I’m not sure I’ve seen anything that has taken off this big, this quickly. SharePoint 2007 has just blown up,” he says.

Microsoft SharePoint taking business by storm | InfoWorld | News | 2008-03-26 | By John Fontana, Network World.

There’s more…

“I think the most interesting trend to watch for this year and next is how IBM/Lotus reacts to this SharePoint phenomenon,” says Harry Wong, CEO and founder of Casahl Technology, which has been helping users migrate either to or from Microsoft and Lotus messaging platforms for years.

Wong says SharePoint is proving to be a powerful leading punch for Microsoft to sell IBM/Lotus users on migration to Exchange and Microsoft’s entire slate of collaboration tools.

IBM/Lotus is countering with a similar product called Quickr, and just like Microsoft with Windows SharePoint Services, is giving users a free version to get started.

To be successful, Wong says Lotus has to sell customers on Quickr vs. SharePoint; on Lotus Notes 8 and its Outlook-like interface and integration with Lotus Sametime and Connections; and convince bigger Domino shops the J2EE version of Quickr will provide the scale that SharePoint lacks

“IBM/Lotus has the weapons to defend against Microsoft SharePoint if IBM/Lotus acts quickly and aggressively,” he says.

The comments on the article are interesting as well…

2 Responses to “Microsoft SharePoint can’t scale, but people want it anyway.”

  1. Randy Holloway said

    Gia- there are many inaccuracies in the InfoWorld piece regarding how SharePoint works and its technical/scalability/storage limitations. Of course it isn’t a perfect product, but what’s presented here isn’t accurate.

    In terms of social capabilities, we previewed some features in 2006 that got delayed and I think that has hurt perception in some areas. We have a lot of new add-ons and templates that make SharePoint great for social computing (I’m obviously a bit biased). I’ve certainly heard many good things about some of the newer IBM collaboration tools as well.

  2. Gia Lyons said

    Randy, thanks for the comments. When I have the time, I’ll go read the whitepapers re: operational maintenance capabilities with SharePoint and get better informed.

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