PowerPivot for SharePoint - Transitioning from a Single Server to SharePoint Farm


This white paper is a How-to document that provides you with the steps to transition from a single-server Microsoft® SQL Server® PowerPivot for SharePoint® installation to a multi-server PowerPivot for SharePoint farm. As your PowerPivot for SharePoint environment becomes more heavily utilized with more PowerPivot workbooks and more concurrent users, server resources such as CPU, memory, disk, and network become saturated. To alleviate resource bottlenecks, SharePoint itself is designed as a scale-out solution; as more resources are required, more servers can be added to the farm. Therefore, it is important to transition your existing PowerPivot for SharePoint single-server installation into a multi-server farm as resources are required.


The transition will initially take you from a single “all-in-one” server to two machines, including one that is dedicated to the SharePoint SQL Server databases. As more resources are utilized within Excel® Services, PowerPivot System Service, and Analysis Services in VertiPaq™ mode, you will need to add additional SharePoint application servers. With this last step, you will have a basic three-server SharePoint farm that includes a SharePoint Web front end (WFE) (rendering and delivering Web services), a SharePoint application server (with PowerPivot and dependent services enabled), and a SharePoint SQL Server databases server. As more resources are required, you can scale out from this basic setup (for example, add more application servers). This technique offers the following benefits:

  • The initial startup is easier for a single-server installation than it is for a multi-server farm.
  • You transition to a multi-server farm only when necessary.
  • The steps involved in moving to a multi-server farm are fewer and less complicated when you scale up from a single-server installation.

The steps from a single-server installation to a basic three-server SharePoint farm are:

  1. In Step [1], you start with the single-server install
  2. In Step [2], you add a dedicated instance of SQL Server (for more information, see “Adding a Dedicated Instance of SQL Server” in this white paper).
  3. In Step [3], you add an application server (for more information, see “Adding an Application Server” in this white paper).

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