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SharePoint 2010 Farm Topologies

This post briefly explains the different farm topologies in SharePoint 2010 and explains the roles involved in that topology. SharePoint 2010 can be deployed on single server or multiple servers. The roles involved in SharePoint 2010 farm are


· Web server role

· Application server role

· Database server role

In small farm typically these can be one server or two servers.

Web server role:

1. Web server typically hosts the web pages, web services and web parts to process the requests.

2. It passes the requests to appropriate application servers.

Application server role:

1. Application server roles are related to the services that are in SharePoint

2. Each application service can reside on a dedicated application server

3. Group the client-related services based on usage

Typical components in Application server

· Query component

· Crawl component

· Search administration

· User profile service

· Business Data connectivity

· Web Analytics

The services associated with the above components can be shared over multiple farms.

Typical services that associated with service applications in application server are

1. Excel Calculation service

2. Business Data Connectivity

3. SharePoint server search

4. Performance point service

5. User profile service

6. Web Analytics service

7. Visio graphics service

Database server role:

All databases can be deployed to single server in small farm. In large farms group the databases by roles and deploy them to multiple database servers.

Databases can be categorized as follows

· Search Database (Search admin db, property db and crawl db)

· Content Database

· Service Databases(Business Data connectivity, User Profile, Usage and health data collection and state service etc)

These databases can be shared across the farms depending size and usage.

We can categorize the server topologies as

1. Small farm topology

2. Medium farm topology

3. Large farm topology

Small farm topology example: small farm topology can serve users up to 20000 and can scale out based on how heavily the services are used. The following two are the variances in the topologies

Two-tier farm

imageWeb server with query component image

Web server with query component and all other service components


All SharePoint databases


Three-tier farm



Web\Query server

imageApplication server
imageclip_image001[4]imageclip_image001[4]Database servers-

Search databases\All other SharePoint databases


Medium farm topology example: The medium farm can scale for to serve approx 40 million items. Scale out is based on utilization of service applications and services within the farm.



Web servers

Web servers you can increase the number of web servers based on number of users. Starting point 10,000 users per one web server.

Application servers
Query and Crawl servers
Application servers

All other application components and services

Database servers
Search databases

All other SharePoint databases

Large farm topology examples: In this topology we can group the service applications, services or databases with similar performance characteristics on to dedicated servers.

Web Servers


Web server group1
Web server group2
web servers for incoming requests web servers for crawling and administration

Application  Servers

Application server group1
Application server group2
Crawl servers Query servers


Database Servers

Database server group1
Database server group2
Search databases Content databases

About the author

Kalyan Bandarupalli

My name is kalyan, I am a software architect and builds the applications using Microsoft .NET technologies. Here I am trying to share what I feel and what I think with whoever comes along wandering to Internet home of mine.I hope that this page and its contents will speak for me and that is the reason I am not going to say anything specially about my self here.


  • Hi

    A very interesting post. I have been discussing with my development team arguments of having a live multi farm server for say 2000 users. I think it would be better to throw more server roles at a single farm e.g. search, shared service applications etc rather than have effectively a multiple farms in live. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts…

    • Hi

      It always be good option of deploying multiple servers in a single farm when there is huge user base like in your case, but when your users after real-time info and performance then I opt for multiple farms.


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