Improving the performance of Sharepoint with Shared Services and Applications
What are Shared Services?
Shared Services are a logical way to separate Sharepoint components between several servers. An important amount of Sharepoint functionality is designed in independent components or Shared Services that can be installed separately on distributed machines.
Shared Services in Sharepoint 2007
What can Shared Services be used for? To distribute Sharepoint workload among several servers.
Normally the Shared Services are services that take up a great deal of resources like profiles, searches, Excel services, business services,… this is why, these services/features are included as Shared Services to allow for a distributed use in different servers and improve overall performance.
One of the problems with Shared Services in Sharepoint 2007, is that when we created a new one, new related databases were created for the search, Excel services, for BI, this is, one per service. If we used three Shared Services on three servers we would have to multiply and there would be many databases to use the shared services.
Service Applications in Sharepoint 2010
This is one of the great improvements in Sharepoint 2010, with the introduction of Service Applications which in concept are similar to Sharepoint 2007 Shared Services but instead of creating one database for each Shared Service, there will be one database per service not Shared Service. Thus, if a service application is for the search is created, I have a single database for the service, not several distributed on several servers.