I've heard of people doing scripted installs of SharePoint. Is this common and how far can you take it? Can you actually build your web apps and site collections? I would like to see some examples.
If you are doing a full SharePoint environment with dev test, integration test, pre-prod and prod (possibly with staging environment too) scripted installs are the bomb! Every farm can contain of 2-5 or more SharePoint servers!
What scripted installs will give you is a reproducable install, that can be done from environment to environment without having to fear human errors and mal-configurations. In other words you can trust your install when a bug occurs in one environment but not in the other, and can concentrate on issues that differ from environment to environment (an example here could be that the OS wasnt a scripted install and had different regional settings, which would cause string formatting to vary on environments).
Also creating farm after farm through environments, easily more than 10 servers and often more than 25 for a medium farm with full environments. Installing that amount of farms is tedious and error prone.
On my latest project we faced an even larger number of installs and ended up with a powershell script that read values from an excel document. This proved very helpfull for the non-sharepoint ITPro's at the customers, since they only needed to configure an excel sheet to change settings.
Also Ben Curry got a nice VBscript for installing SharePoint that we have used with success before: http://www.mindsharpblogs.com/ben/archive/2008/03/08/4411.aspx
hth Anders Rask
I think it is hard to say what the best way is since it really depends on your situation and what kind of install you are looking to do. There are some that have scripted the install process. I haven't had a need to do that since I don't bring up new environments very often.
Gary Lapointe has a sample of how he scripts it: http://stsadm.blogspot.com/2008/03/sample-install-script.html
Once the system is installed, provisioning apps, sites, etc can either be done via stsadm or PowerShell. I would encourage you to try the PowerShell path since it is a little more robust and is becoming the preferred path for these things.
I am surprised nobody mentioned this already, but I would recommend AutoSPInstall from Codeplex. This powershell script works like a charm! Believe me, I tried it the hard way - it is difficult to find all of those different services and figure out their settings and all.
Honestly, I don't know if it gets better or easier than this. This package has 22 reviews (scroll down after you follow the link) and every single one of them are 5-stars!
Here is my review:
Here are a few of the reviews: