My task is to build an Intranet environment.

What should be the may thoughts when building a SharePoint topology from the ground, for a Intranet site with 1000-1500 users.

My idea is to use the Microsoft Best Practice and build the topology as a medium-farm. The business have some requirements, and they are to have 4 environments, that is 4 farms (developer, test, pre-prod and prod). Now they have three layer/tiers topology on each envirnment, (3xWFE, 2xAPP, 2xSQL). My thought was to propose them to run a single-server farm on dev and test environemnts, and run a three layer/tiers architecture on pre-prod and prod. What do you think ?

My newly build visio-diagram of the pre-prod and prod architecture is like this,

  1. 2xWFE (12GB RAM)
  2. 2xAPP (12GB RAM)
  3. 2xSQL (16GB RAM) --> where one server will act as a failover.

I would love som inputs from you, this is my first SharePoint farm build from the ground, and it is for a business who does not have high requests, for there intranet, but again it is daily used by 1000-1500 users where the most of them reports trough the Intranet.

Thanks in advance

3 Answers 3


I don't see any issue with your design, Because this farm is more than enough for 1000 to 1500. I can say this farm will easily handle upto 10K user.

  • I am sure, you will use Load balancer between the WFE, which will give high availability.
  • What service application you plan to configure, UPA/Search /MMS etc? i would recommend properly spread across the both App servers.
  • For Database server, i would recommend go to Always ON option.

I did not see anything for the Office Web Apps and also for the Workflow manager? are you plan for it or not?

  • The plan is not to implement Office Web Apps now, maybe on a later stage if the business requires it. I have not given the Workflow manager a thought, would it change something drastical about the design? And at last, is the idea to use Single-server environments on Development and Test environments a good idea?
    – emo
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 6:34
  • Workflow manager will not change your design. Dev farm will not have the issue with single server farm but for the testing, One thing keep in mind. You Prod& non-prod having the Load Balanced WFE, so in the test farm your testing will be with one server, sometime it cause issue when you move the code from single server to load balanced farm. So i would suggest, if you can then add one more WFE( low spec).
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 12:08

from experience, depending on what your doing on the site is a major factor like having a Business inteligence website ect...

I would also like to note that SQL server is a memory hog, if you were to have 24GB ram it would use it all up unless stated.... The more ram the better but set a limmit.

it is best practic to have pre-prod mimic prod, this is needed to make sure any changes on pre-prod are the same on prod to minimise error and corruption. Test and dev are more than enough to be single server deployment.

make sure your physical read/write disks are adequate on the server (not slow) otherwise everything will be slow. Make sure there is ample of space on the disk drives. Setting up your server should be setup in hyperv (vertual machine). why? so you can backup the vertual server easily and recreate easily or make other farms on the same server.

The next part that might be bigger than the initial hardware requirements is the admin/developer.... You can easily mess up sharepoint, to me having a good admin or developer that can do admin stuff is important considering alot of people would be using it on a daily basis and it would be increasing in usage over time incorperating custom functionality due to business requirements. (maintaining the system from errors is vital)

  • Thanks for the reply. Nice to now that single-server deployment is enough for the dev- and test environments. And yes, they do run all servers virtual, so it will be nice to be able to use snapshots feature.
    – emo
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 8:25

SQL Memory (RAM) depends on database size and amount of databases you are using. For a small intranet environment/site, it should be okay but I'd go for 24 GB if possible.

If loadbalanced, those two app servers (frontend) will handle the traffic easily. Proper maintaining the content databases will have a bigger impact on performance - in a positive way.

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