What is the Difference between Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and SharePoint Servers (MOSS)

What is the Difference between Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and SharePoint Servers (MOSS)

An Introduction to Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server

Though a pretty old technology, few individuals still face a confusion and mis-understand WSS as MOSS or Windows SharePoint Services as Microsoft Office SharePoint Servers. This article should help people understand the exact difference between the two.

An Overview

WSS ( Windows SharePoint Services) offers the webmasters the facility of organizing a collaborative information sharing environment over the Windows platform. The SharePoint Services are designed on ASP.NET on the Internet Information Services ( IIS ) server.

It comes free with Windows Server 2003. For the purpose of data storage, database such as an SQL Server or MSDE is used. Whereas the MOSS ie. the Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server operated on top of Windows SharePoint Services, ie. WSS functions like a platform for SharePoint Portal Server for facilitation the access to the sites, document libraries, templates, lists, etc. As stated by Microsoft,

“An Effective information sharing and collaboration is rapidly becoming a strategic platform advantage, but that advantage can be compromised if collaboration technologies are deployed in a piecemeal fashion.”

After going through this article a webmaster can get an overview of Windows SharePoint Services and SharePoint Portal Server.

An Introduction to Windows SharePoint Services ( WSS )

The Windows SharePoint Services is one of the components of the Windows Server 2003. WSS makes use of Windows Server, IIS and ASP.Net as a platform. It offers webmasters with simple development and deployment of applications and helps to locate and share the documents in a distributed and a collaborative environment.

All this enhances the productivity hence enabling you to achieve the business targets. In short, the WSS enables users to share information, collaborate files as well as collect team knowledge over the Internet or your internal business network.

The Windows SharePoint Services is basically an upgraded version of Windows SharePoint Team Services. The SharePoint Team Services is a team website solution which can be used to improve the team integration and management tasks.

You have a host of features: document libraries, contacts, tasks, discussions, and what not! SharePoint Team Services website is easy to customize and offers a seamless and efficient collaboration amongst individuals or multiple teams. It plays a dual function ie. as a product as well as a component. Webmasters can freely download the product, it is offered for free with Windows Server 2003 as well.

As said earlier that it also functions as a component is because it is a part of SharePoint Portal Server 2003. As you go ahead with reading this article you’d understand more about SharePoint Portal Server.

What are the features offered by WSS?

  • Ease of Extensibility
  • Seamless integration with other tools
  • Cost-effective and incremental deployment
  • Document sharing, security, organization, management and integration in a collaborative environment
  • In order to store website settings, data, docs etc. the MSDE or SQL Server is used as the database with an intention of facilitating data security, integrity, manageability and transactional support.
  • Managing the Content and Configuration of Databases in Windows SharePoint Services
  • There are two types of databases involved in the operations of Windows SharePoint Services:
  • One database for storing data of one or multiple websites (content) using Windows SharePoint Services.
  • Other database that holds the configuration information.

The configuration db is instrumental in configuration and helps the administration of all the websites that use WSS on a server. Whereas, the content databases hold the data of one or more WSS websites. It depends on the volume and the size of WSS websites supporting the server for WSS.

If you install WSS in your system, you’d have many content databases and just one database that holds the configuration. But if you consequently install SharePoint Portal Server, it wouldn’t use any of those databases but 3 other ie.

Portalname_prof, Portalname_serv and Portalname_site, are created with the installation of SharePoint Portal Server which inturn updatethe configuration database that was created previously with the installation of WSS.

An Introduction to SharePoint Portal Server

As earlier stated, WSS is a component of SharePoint Portal Server. The Portal Server runs on top of WSS acting as a base platform for SharePoint Portal Server. It supports integrated document management with flexible document search options.

The Portal Server offers flexibility and allows users to find, share as well as publish information at greater ease. The MOSS can be used for presenting the content in a customized way, also it offers an option to seamlessly integrate with SharePoint Portal Farms, Windows SharePoint Services web sites, backend systems through BizTalk, profile integration with Active Directory, etc.

If users have WSS and SharePoint Portal Server installed in the system, they can get an automatically created folder structure which can be modified as well as a customized template, ie. for both WSS websites as for SharePoint Portal Server pages. Since the Portal Server uses WSS as the base platform, most of the underlying architecture is identical.

Webmasters need to install WSS before installing the SharePoint Portal Server, again due to the fact that the Portal Server runs on top of WSS.

What are the features of SharePoint Portal Server?

  • Simple to customize
  • Web Parts can be customized, pluggable, reusable components that can be used to display specific information on a Web page
  • Integrated document management and scalable, enterprise search options
  • Web based shared Document Repository
  • Message board, Notification of Emails, Events, announcements, contact lists, etc.
  • Offers Content administration and Aggregation
  • A comparison between WSS and Sharepoint Portal Server

The prime difference between WSS and SharePoint Portal Server is that, the WSS is basically based on the collaboration theme, while the SharePoint Server is based on an aggregation theme and acts as an aggregator of content.

Further, WSS offers users to add content, whereas SharePoint Server enables users to very easily navigate and search the content whenever searched for. According to Microsoft,

“WSS is based on a collaboration theme in the sense that it’s designed to store and share list-based data and documents. SPS, on the other hand, is based on an aggregation theme. An SPS portal site is useful for aggregating information and documents from many different places.

SPS adds value because it provides users with a quick and easy way to find information and documents that are spread out around a private network or scattered throughout the Internet.”