A Peek Inside: Why no cross-farm support (PowerPivot for SharePoint)?
From time to time, particular from knowledgeable SharePoint users coming up to speed with PowerPivot, I get the question: “PowerPivot have ‘cross-farm’ support”. As you can see from the title of this post, we don’t support it – and in this “A Peek Inside” I hope to explain why.
First, what is SharePoint ‘cross-farm’ support and why is it important. In large, complex SharePoint configurations a common requirement is to specialize servers or farms of servers to specific services. A good example of this approach is to have a separate farm dedicated to Search. Rather than having each end-user farm host its own Search service, the idea is to get better scale through specialization. Content crawling is done remotely; the indexes are kept remotely; and the Search results are calculated remotely. End users connect to the content farms (so-called because that is where the content is stored), but the content farm reaches out to specialized servers/farms for other services. Example of these services is: Search, Personalization, Business Data Catalog, Portal Usage reporting – coming in SharePoint 2010 are lots more . . .