If you’ve spent any time on SharePoint you’ll find the server roles and footprint can be quite confusing. I’m a big fan of MinRole v2 in SharePoint 2016 (latest CU or FP2).
The new options are even better than what we got at the release of SharePoint 2016, but if you’re an infrastructure, architect, or PowerShell geek you’ll gravitate to the power of MinRoles. I’ve been studying a lot of DevOps best practices lately and focusing on component-based architectures.
MinRoles can make building a SharePoint farm much easier, but even if you are building a SharePoint farm with more than 100 servers of a variety of roles, MinRoles make it easier. You don’t have to install it with the config wizard as PowerShell also makes this much more streamlined.
- Simplify your farm for easy deployment and recovery – in the past essentially every server quickly became a custom server with its own configuration. With MinRoles you can call out what a server should be and the machine will try to run those services relevant to the server role.
- It’s more secure – You don’t have to take my word for it. Ask Liam Cleary, one of the biggest advocates of MinRole. He’s clearly convinced a SharePoint server running MinRole is so much more difficult to mess with due to its own self-healing mechanisms. It will notice things that aren’t right and it will try to correct them. It knows what a WFE should do and it will try to do it well.
- Template-based or component-based architecture – Building cookie cutters for even a 2- or 4-server farm are so much easier with MinRoles. Now we can much more easily replace and swap out or add additional servers. In my mind, SharePoint 2016 started to support automation in 2016, but really the Office 365 team has been trying to componentize SharePoint for much longer.
- Capacity and scale is much more straight forward – Servers know what they are doing and no more or less! – The picture of MinRole is the idea of minimum footprint. Think about what that means from CPU and memory. It knows how to optimize itself, so it can be more efficient.
- Mixed dedicated or shared roles – You don’t have to think custom to be able to support multiple roles. Only the services that make sense should run. Microsoft can be a lot smarter about how to design for performance when it knows what workloads will run on which type of hardware. The key here is scale and support for best practices without you even knowing what it’s doing. MinRole is optimized for performance, scalability and self healing.