As a SharePoint developer I find that having a good understanding of the underlying infrastructure (such as Active Directory, DNS server, etc.) is very useful.

I must say I'm not that good when it comes to infrastructure. So what is a good starting point for a SharePoint developer to get a working knowledge in this area?

4 Answers 4


Here are some of the things you need to understand, there are tons more - but generally these are the ones I'm discussing during my classes:

  • Understand the SharePoint Solution Framework - how WSP's are added to SP and then distributed in the farm
  • SQL Server!!!!
    • Understand how large database affects performance
    • Understand how queries affects performance
  • IIS - understand load balancing, how it affects your solutions and decisions
  • AuthN - understand NTLM vs Kerberos, understand Claims based AuthN
  • WCF

Here's a good start at Technet: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc794342.aspx


I would also add basic understanding of

As a developer these are generally out of your remit and in the sysadmins domain - but in reality you need a working knowledge of all of this especially when troubleshooting your apps and persuading the sys admins to 'just take another look at that thing you insist is working ok' ;)


You might also want to check out the IT PRO training guide provided by Microsoft: http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/Pages/IT-Pro-Training-Guide.aspx


As a sysadmin who works with Sharepoint Developers, I'd suggest basic understanding of the things you want to interface with, or rely on is what is important; I'm not suggesting you should be an expert on AD (for example) you should know enough about it to understand what it does for SP and how it is used so you can get the best out of it instead of viewing it as a magic box. Same for DNS, I don't expect developers to know the ins and outs of what different records mean but knowledge that DNS is important for deploying a new sharepoint site is good.

I'd suggest AD, DNS, IIS, SQL Server at least. If I was going to say spend a lot of time on just one or two of those I'd probably suggest IIS (its the building block for sharepoint after all) and SQL Server (poor appreciation of how SQL Server works and how Sharepoint uses it can cripple a Sharepoint farm as I'm sure you know).

I'd also suggest that a really good sysadmin might reciprocate the interest and try and understand what you're doing to some degree. As a sysadmin myself I know that the more the other people in IT understand what I'm trying to do (even if they're not clear on the how and the why) and the more I understand what those others are trying to do, the better the service we both provide to the customers.

  • 1
    +1 especially for reciprocate comment!
    – Ryan
    Apr 25, 2011 at 12:35

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