It's with great excitement that I get to be the first to announce the initial release of the Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit! Since shipping SharePoint back in November of 2006 we've been listening to your feedback and requests for more tools to help you run our product. We've been listening and our team is deeply committed to supporting you and our in market products. One of our approaches to better support you is to provide a regular release of additional tools in the new SharePoint Administration Toolkit. This tool pack is oriented towards helping SharePoint administrators with complex or demanding tasks—and we will have updated releases several times each year. Each release of this kit will include new or improved functionality to make managing SharePoint easier and less time consuming. The tools on the top of our list are aimed at the issues that you, our customers, have brought up through Products Support—but this effort won't stop there! If there's something you need to keep your SharePoint deployments running on a daily basis, I want to hear about it! Use the comments below to give us ideas or any other feedback.
Now, shifting focus on to this version of the SharePoint Administration Toolkit—this first release contains two very useful tools which are both supported on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
The first tool, called "Batch Site Manager", adds new functionality through Central Administration. From the new "Move, Lock, and Delete Site Collections" page on Applications Management you can schedule bulk operations against site collections in the farm—including moving site collections between content databases! This is my favorite feature as it is completely new functionality for SharePoint and definitely helps manage deployments simply from the UI rather than requiring administrators to write or use scripts. The development of this feature was quite involved, and is a topic which I intend to blog about in full in the near future. For now, here's a screenshot of the "Batch Site Manager" tool:
*Note: when using the Batch Site Manager, be sure to refresh the site collection list using the "click here" aggregation link before every scheduled operation!
The second tool is actually a new command in STSADM called "updatealert". This command will refresh all alert URLs in a specific site collection, which is extremely important should you change the URL of a web application or after an upgrade. Alerts in SharePoint store the URL which the users used to create them—which is needed so that users of different "zones" get the proper URL in their email—but if the URL changes you can now use "STSADM –o UpdateAlert" to let SharePoint fix these alerts (don't know what a "zone" is? Start here on MSDN). Due to the multiple zones that can exist in a web application, the UpdateAlert command needs to be provided with both the new URL of the site collection to be fixed and the old URL–this operation must be run once per zone, but will update all the subwebs in the given site collection automatically.
The full detailed whitepaper about this release of the SharePoint Administration Toolkit is available on MSDN. There are some restrictions regarding the Batch Site Manager tool, so be sure to read the whitepaper!
The download links for the SharePoint Administration Toolkit
Program Manager, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server