Microsoft SharePoint Information Architecture

​Information Architecture: How databases, site collections, security, information flow, are organized.

All SharePoint deployments have the goal of architecting an Information Architecture that enables data governance. However, to achieve that goal Information and data needs to be structured, classified, managed, and secured in ways appropriate for its importance and sensitivity.

Site Classification Pyramid Classified Site Structure Containment Hierachy Scalable Site Structure Defined URL Scheme

SharePoint Information Architecture in Five Simple Steps:

  1. Your Site Map Draft Concept is reviewed against a Site Classification Pyramid to clarify a governance plan for site type.

  2. Next Partition your sites into Solution Boundaries based on site type and governance policies (storage requirements, management boundaries, information security).

  3. Adapt this to SharePoint's Containment Hierarchy, adhering to SharePoint architecture limits and best practices based on the classified solution boundaries.

  4. Use SharePoint architectural components (explicit and wildcard managed paths) to ensure a Scalable Site Structure that allows for future growth and expansion. Use wildcard site-collections by default as these are super scalable. Adapt or customize SharePoint global menu and current menu to your navigation concept, to hide the solution boundaries.

  5. Define your URL Scheme using host headers and managed paths.

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Aligning your strategic business goals with Sharepoint features is an important early step in planning:

  • How the site will be structured and divided into a set of site collections and sites.
  • How users will authenticate (FBA, SSO, ADFS)
  • How data will be presented in the site.
  • How site users will navigate through the sites, collections. portals.
  • How information will be targeted at specific audiences.
  • How search will be configured and optimized.

Information Architecture Containment Hierarchy

Number of Farms
Development, Staging, Production
Number of Servers
by Predicted Server Load
Web Front End, App, SQL
Web Applications
by Authentication Zones
Solutions, Central Admin, SSP Admin, Portal(s) Content
Web Applications
by Predicted Size for Management/Recovery
Content, Configuration, SSP, Search
Site Collections
By security inheritance/DB storage
Internet, Intranet, Portal, Doc Archive
Top Level Sites
Site Home, Projects, Teams, Wikis, Blogs
Or managed paths
Site Sections, Doc Workspaces, Meeting Workplaces


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