A frequent type of question asked on SharePoint courses goes something like this –
How big should my content database be or how many web applications or how many site collections per application, how many servers do I need etc, etc? The answer of course is – It depends!
You have to get the requirements and think through what it is you are trying to achieve. Document your existing network and server topology then sketch out what you think your solution will be. Check this against requirements and technical limitations and see if it fits. If not re-model and start again. Doing this up front on paper is big step forward before implementing test systems and running performance tests.
Consideration needs to be given to what you are trying to store, which users are allowed to access it and where will it be used amongst other things.
Microsoft’s TechNet site contains valuable information for planning your SharePoint infrastructure from server farms through to individual enterprise features.
For technical restrictions, their guide on SharePoint Server capacity management is well worth looking at as well.
Planning for SharePoint isn’t just about SharePoint, it encompasses the network, Windows Server configurations, Active Directory, Security, SQL server requirements, Performance and of course security. Training and governance will fall in there as well.
Treat each enterprise feature implementation as a project with requisite planning and design rather than just as a feature to be switched on and used.
I wish it was as simple as just giving an answer such three servers , two web apps and three site collections but it isn’t! Which is just as well as life wouldn’t be as interesting if SharePoint was this simple J
And just like the proverbial piece of string, one size does not fit all.