Authors:  Ravikanth Chaganti and Kevin Guinn     -   May 2010

A SharePoint® Server 2010 farm hosts service applications that provide many different functions for its users. These functions are made available through Web servers, and store their configuration information and data in SQL Server databases. These interactions mean that a classical three-tier model is appropriate for SharePoint Server 2010. This paper provides a basic reference architecture that maps SharePoint roles to this model, and then extends this architecture to provide high availability and redundancy at each tier.

The paper discusses key criteria and decision points for determining what server and storage hardware are appropriate for a medium-sized SharePoint Server 2010 farm. It offers guidelines and rules of thumb for determining how much storage space should be allocated, and when separate storage volumes are desirable. The intent of this paper is to enable administrators to understand important planning criteria, and to begin mapping their plan to a specific farm topology and well-suited hardware components. Dell™ offers more direct and specific guidance through consulting and other services.

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

Link to the whitepaper

Link to other whitepapers on SharePoint farm Reference Architecture

Link to whitepapers on Performance Study of a SharePoint Farm