Improved Reporting in SharePoint 2007 with ControlPoint
One of the most important topics for any SharePoint Administrator is having adequate data and reporting on their environment. Understanding the reports that SharePoint offers out of the box is an important first step – but what are the essential reports and analysis that an Administrator requires to manage SharePoint? What are the reporting gaps out of the box, and how can Axceler help Administrators fill those gaps?
Axceler’s ControlPoint has many different types of reports; this blog will cover some in four key categories: Permissions, Usage/ Activity, Storage, and Audit. Here is what you get out of the box, and where you may want to consider expanding your reporting capability using ControlPoint:
Reports on permissions are not easily generated with out of the box SharePoint 2007. It can be a manual process to collect and track this data, or may require custom reports using the SharePoint object model. Permissions reporting is critical to your business for a number of reasons – from regular auditing, to maintaining accurate user access, to troubleshooting functionality problems that, commonly, stem from end users trying to perform a task without having the correct permissions.
In ControlPoint, reports on Permissions can be filtered by User, AD Group, SharePoint group, or Permission level. The two main ways to generate permissions reports are by User or by Site. They can also be generated on different scopes of the Farm, for example several Web Applications, Site Collections, or Sites. The flexibility allows users or Administrators to tailor the reports to the needs of the business. This first report shows Permissions by User showing all sites for which the user has access.
Reports on Usage and Activity can be generated by Site Collection Administrators and Site Administrators (available in Moss 2007, not WSS 3.0). Some examples include:
- Request per day over the past 30 days
- Average requests per day by month for the past 12 months
- List of top pages over the past 30 days
- Unique users graph over the past 30 days
Unlike permissions reporting, there is quite a bit of activity reporting available out of the box with SharePoint 2007, but you must dig to find the data you need. Most reports are available only at the site level, and not in an aggregated view. Most data only goes back 30 days so it’s tough build long term reports.
With ControlPoint, reports on usage can be generated a number of different ways. The reports allow for increased insight into how SharePoint is being used. See who is accessing what, what sites are most active, and what are the trends. ControlPoint reports span many SharePoint Sites at once and can be filtered for long periods of time. The second report shows a trend on activity for many months.
Reports on Storage can be generated by Site Collection Administrators and Site Administrators. These reports show:
- Document Libraries including size, number of items, last modified date, and path
- Documents including type, size, last modified, and path
- Lists including type, name, size, items, last modified, and path
Storage reporting out of the box provides you with the essentials you need for managing your environment. Most administrators augment this reporting by accessing the back-end servers directly and performing analysis and reporting from the SQL Server. Other reports you might consider in SharePoint include quotas management in Central Administration, you can see the current storage used per Site Collection, assigned site quota.
Much like Permissions and Activity, Storage reports in ControlPoint can be generated across many SharePoint sites at once. Analyzing storage is extremely important for growth planning, and ensuring optimal performance. The third report shows trends on Storage for a given time period.
SharePoint records audit data when auditing is enabled on a Site Collection. Site Collection Administrators can view the following:
- Audit records include data on events that get recorded
- Events detail includes user IDs associated with event, site of event, item type(page, document, list), event date and time, event description (view, check out), and item name and URL
Auditing is a growing area of focus for many SharePoint administrators as SharePoint is more widely adopted and as it becomes more business critical. Audit reporting requirements can also come from data that is subject to different types of compliance. For example, Internal or external audits can require Administrators to produce reports that show all users that accessed a certain item in a given time period.
ControlPoint Audit Log Analysis provides an easy way to filter the SharePoint audit logs. This provides meaningful reports that show who is doing what, where, and when. Audit records can be filtered by date, user, event, scope, site, and URL.
Out of the box, SharePoint 2007 provides you with the essentials you need to manage your SharePoint environment – but comes up short in a number of areas, especially when compared to other enterprise applications under your care. Fortunately, ControlPoint provides rich reporting capability out of the box that allows you to better monitor and manage your SharePoint environment.
Guest author Jamie Aliperti is a
Senior Sales Engineer at Axceler.