I am using SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise. I am new and learning Shared Service Provider (SSP), which is a new concept in SharePoint Server 2007.

I want to know whether my understanding is correct,

  1. SSP is a SharePoint web application;
  2. The web application (i.e. SSP) does specific shared works, like search;
  3. Other web application (e.g. a publishing web site) can utilize SSP web application by add links to the SSP web application (e.g. add a link to search SSP to provide search service, and the actual search is performed in the search web application SSP, other than in the publishing portal web application which refers to the search web application SSP).

All of my understandings are correct? Any comments or corrections?

Another confusion is how did other web application use SSP? I only know from link (links to SSP web application), not sure whether any other ways to use SSP from other web application.

2 Answers 2

  1. Technically the SSP is a site collection. It should be setup on its own web application, but it is not a requirement and in fact a Basic MOSS install will put it on an existing web application.
  2. The SSP provides certain services like Indexing, Profile Management, BDC, Excel Services
  3. I either do not understand what you mean by #3, or you are incorrect. End users do not use the SSP, it is primarily for administration and configuration of the services referenced in #2. For search there is separation between the indexing and the serving of the query results. You want to configure the site to point to a search center either on a central site, or on the given publishing site. You can configure additional search scopes for the given site collection and then configure those scopes with tabs and or custom results in the local search center.

I like to think of the SSP as a container helping to unify services for a collection of Web Applications and the site collections the applications host. I think it was a great idea, but it had some limitations and problems so the whole model has changed in 2010 and there is no SSP.

  • Thanks, guru! My confusion about item 3 is, how could other web site in MOSS 2007 uses the SSP (for "use", I mean provide end user the function provided by SSP from a SharePoint 2007 web site)? By adding a link the the SSP web site URL? From a webpart or? Appreciate if you could give me some comments or advice.
    – George2
    Jan 6, 2010 at 16:28
  • "and the site collections they host" -- confused. I think SSP is hosted by site collections, not site collections host SSP. Any comments?
    – George2
    Jan 6, 2010 at 17:20
  • 1
    "and the site collections they host" was referring to the Web Applications, not the SSP, I've made a correction to my post. Think of it as Farm -> Applications -> Site Collections -> Sites Jan 6, 2010 at 17:58
  • 1
    When a Web Application is "linked" to the SSP they "share services" which is where the Shared Service Provider term came from. Each SSP has its own user profiles, and may or may not have things like user mysites. If you create a second SSP and associate a web app with that other SSP features like Profile attributes, MyLinks, and MySite link are immediately impacted. Each SSP also maintains its own Search Index, so that is one way to segment what is available to a given set of Applications and Site Collections. Jan 6, 2010 at 18:03
  • "Farm -> Applications -> Site Collections -> Sites" -- I did not find Farm menu from Central Administration. Where is the Farm do you mean from GUI?
    – George2
    Jan 7, 2010 at 9:26

In regards to item 3 of the question, a Publishing Web site is not a a web application. Pubishing functionality is provided through 2 features: Office SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure must be activated for the site collection and then Office SharePoint Server Publishing is activated in the specific sites as desired.

see http://msmvps.com/blogs/shane/archive/2007/06/29/what-is-a-shared-service-provider.aspx for a nice explanation of SSP and of course the official discussion of SSPs from MS is at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263276.aspx in the Planning and Architecture section, (which should be the first thing you read to learn about planning your system)

HTH Dean

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