Information about Office Web Applications


Hello All,

Here are some thoughts on Office Web Apps (OWA) for SharePoint 2013.

Scalability –

As a high mark they recommend one server for every 10,000 users in my experience each server can handle approx. 1700 – 3000 concurrent connections and still maintain good overall performance.  It is recommended to scale out by adding another server to the farm once you start having performance issues or monitoring shows you are approaching the limit of concurrent connections.

Performance is affected in the following manner

  1. Processor for file conversion speed

  2. RAM for storing documents in memory for fast retrieval.

Hardware and Software recommendations –  

  1. Servers need to be dedicated to OWA

  2. .NET 4.5

  3. Any 64x version of Operating System including or newer then Windows server 2008 R2 Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter

  4. PowerShell 3.0

  5. IIS 7.0 role enabled

  6. Minimum hardware requirements

    1. RAM 12 GB *I recommend increasing to 16GB to insure fast retrieval of documents

    2. Processor 64 bit, 4 cores

    3. Storage 80GB for System drive

 

Languages –

OWA has its own language packs, they can be installed when you first create the farm or anytime afterwards.  Insure that you maintain the same languages across all servers to insure a consistent experience for users  However if you do it after wards, then just like with patching you must remove the server from the farm to update it.  View patching methodology below for best practices.

Monitoring –

There is a management pack for SCOM you can find it here and you can find knowledge articles for Office Web Application here

Office Web Apps also uses ULS logs to aid in monitoring and troubleshooting, you can view these logs using the same tools you use for SharePoint.

 

Office Web App server download – 

Software is a free download from Microsoft with licensing discussed later on, and you would have to license the server Operating System as well.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=2613

 

Patching methodology –

To minimize downtime the recommendation is to create a new farm as you patch servers, you would want to follow these steps:

  1. Remove server from farm by running the command Remove-OfficeWebAppsMachine (NOTE: Master server must be last server in farm)

  2. Apply patches.

  3. Run the command New-OfficeWebAppsFarm create a new farm, this would be a great step to script as there are several switches to customize to insure farm is configured properly.  NOTE: Set the ExternalUrl or InternalUrl parameter to the same as the original farm.

  4. On original farm run the command Set-OfficeWebAppsFarm changing the ExternalUrl or InternalUrl to a dummy url, this will effectively cause your Load balancer to redirect to the new farm.

  5. Recommend testing at this point to insure connectivity to the new farm works.

  6. Run the command New-OfficeWebAppsMachine to add other servers to new farm after patching each one

NOTE: In step 3 you need to insure that the new farm is configured correctly to mimic the original farm.  I highly recommend scripting to insure things are set correctly.

 

Licensing –

Depending on the type of license you have here is a chart to help understand the licensing issue.  To help with verbage external users are over the internet thru a public facing site and internal are enterprise users.

 

Rights

Type of User

Type of Content

Pre-Requisite

Viewing only

Internal and External*

Public and Private

No Pre-Requisite

Viewing and Editing

External*

Public and Private

Volume License Customer

Viewing and Editing

Internal

Private

Volume License Customer – The primary user of an
  Office licensed device** can access the Office Web Apps Server software to
  edit content

Viewing and Editing

Internal

Public

Volume License Customer – Any user can access and
  edit content/documents that is made publically available to users via the
  internet.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/volume-licensing/archive/2013/05/22/how-to-license-office-web-apps-server.aspx

 

Articles of interest –

 

Content roadmap for Office Web Apps Server

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn135237(v=office.15).aspx

Deploy Office Web Apps Server

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219455.aspx

Configure Office Web Apps for SharePoint 2013

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff431687.aspx

What’s new with Office Web Apps when used with SharePoint 2013?

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn455087(v=office.15).aspx

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