A Microsoft® SharePoint® Server 2010 farm hosts the core platform services and applications that provide many different functions for users. With the multi-tier architecture, sizing of each of the tiers of a SharePoint farm requires a comprehensive study of the workload requirements and performance capabilities of each hardware component. Dell‟s priority is to provide accurate guidance to customers when recommending infrastructure elements of a SharePoint implementation.

Dell‟s SharePoint engineering team developed a load generation framework to perform SharePoint load testing to provide guidance on choosing the best farm architecture to increase performance and keep client response times to less than one second. This performance data is provided to our customers to help them understand the impact of SharePoint collaboration workload, and how to size and design the best farm architecture to support these workloads.

This white paper includes results of a comprehensive study and describes how a large SharePoint farm, built using Dell PowerEdge™ blade servers and Dell Compellent™ Storage Center storage arrays with Fibre Channel Controllers Series 40 , performed under load testing. The key findings from this study are:

  • The recommended farm architectures were able to support more than 100,000 users with 10 percent concurrency.
  • The farm architecture used in this study had an average farm response time of 87ms or 0.087 seconds at the maximum supported, which was well below the one-second response time target.
  • The Dell Compellent storage backend was capable of supporting a 2TB SharePoint content database with an average disk response time of 2ms and ~2400 average disk transfers per second.
  • Using hardware load balancing solution enabled us to scale the farm beyond 4 Web Front-Ends (WFE) and achieve the maximum desired concurrent user load.

The paper also details information on how the farm was configured, factors considered while designing the farm, how Dell performs SharePoint load testing, and several performance metrics of various farm components.

A companion paper, SharePoint Server 2010: An Introduction, is available from www.dell.com/sharepoint. It offers an overview of SharePoint Server 2010, and provides common concepts and definitions that form a basis for understanding the reference architectures presented in this paper.

Another companion paper, SharePoint 2010: Designing and Implementing a Large Farm, is available from www.dell.com/SharePoint. This companion paper provides the reference architecture and infrastructure best practices for implementing a SharePoint 2010 large farm. These reference architectures formed the basis of the performance study described in this paper.