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One of your first questions should be this. What are you going to use when learning how to do all the SharePoint stuff? Well, what I'm fully expecting is that you already have an existing SharePoint 2010 server installation that someone else has already installed that you can play with. What that means is I am expecting right now you could open up a web browser and type in the address of a SharePoint site that you know you already have access to. That could be a really long address. It could be a really short address.
It could be a .com address. It could be an internal server name. It doesn't matter, and whether the site that you see looks anything like the one I'm looking at now, whether it looks completely different, that doesn't matter either. But I'm expecting that you can already go to SharePoint 2010 site, and if you can, that's great. We will start from there. But what if you don't? Well, to properly learn SharePoint, you are of course going to need access to a SharePoint server. Now, the response I often get from people is "well, can I just quickly go ahead and install it?" And unfortunately not, if you think you can just quickly install SharePoint, you're mistaken.
This is one of the most complex products you could ever dream of installing. It requires a database. It's usually integrated with a lot of backend systems like your mail server and your existing user directory. And I am not going to go into SharePoint installation at all in this course. Installing SharePoint would be a completely separate course all in itself. Now, many companies actually provide commercial SharePoint hosting. If you search for the phrase SharePoint Hosting, you will find out a whole bunch of different solutions including Microsoft themselves who provide this.
If you don't have a SharePoint store together yet, you might want to take a look at these. I'm recording this course in May 2010. This is right at the release date of SharePoint 2010, and that means when I search for SharePoint hosting, I'm seeing a lot of results for the old version of SharePoint, SharePoint 2007, which is not what I want. But as SharePoint 2010 becomes more popular, as we move through 2010 and 2011, this will of course change. But what if you want your very own SharePoint server to experiment with? Can you do that? Well, yes, absolutely you can, if you want to spend the time to get it set up.
Now a very common method for this is to have a virtual machine. A self-contained machine within a machine. You can create one yourself or even use somebody else's. So I am going to go out to microsoft.com/downloads, and see if they have anything, because Microsoft actually often has pre-created virtual machines that can be downloaded. So I am going to search for the phrase SharePoint VM here. I actually have two results. You want to pay attention to any results you see.
Again, this is going to depend on the time that you search for this and what month and what year you're in. I'm seeing the 2010 IW or Information Worker Demo VM (RTM) and Information Worker Demo VM (Beta). And I can tell just from the dates that the one in May is really the one I'm interested in. This is the released to manufacturing or the final shipped version of SharePoint in May 2010. This is a virtual machine that Microsoft has created that you could actually download for, as it says ,evaluating and demonstrating Office 2010, SharePoint 2010 and Project Server.
Now, this is a huge and complex download. This is nearly 20 GB for you to download and yes, I did say gigabytes. There are about 20 different 700 MB downloads that you have to do. I don't want to belittle the idea of how complex it is to set up a virtual machine and the actual requirements just for setting this one up, if you take a little look at what you get here, is that those two different virtual machines, one that has a Windows Server 2008 on Exchange and the other machine has all sorts of different things on it.
SQL Server, Office Server, Visual Studio, SharePoint Server, Fast Search, Project Server. These machines themselves have to actually be installed on a Windows Server 2008 R2 box. So that means you can't just put them on a say a Vista or a Windows 7 machine even, because you have to use Hyper-V, which is Microsoft's Virtualization software. Now, if at this point you're thinking, "oh good, Lord, I don't want to mess with all this." "Do I have to do this just to work with SharePoint?" No, absolutely you don't. Again, my assumption is that someone else has already installed the software that you can use, but if you really are needing to look into SharePoint and set something up, and have your own servers to play around with, you might want to take a look at the virtual server solution.
Whatever happens, you need to be able to open up a browser and go to a SharePoint site in order for much of this course to make sense and in order for you to have hands-on experience with SharePoint.
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