Michael Osterman, of Osterman Research, authored an introductory "what is" article about Microsoft SharePoint for SearchExchange.  I'd quarrel with the assertion that "WSS [Windows SharePoint Services] is available at no cost for users of Windows Server 2003", since SQL Server is required for all but the smallest WSS deployments (as discussed moons ago here).  Otherwise, the article is a good general overview of what SharePoint can do, though many other collaborative tools (such as IBM Workplace Services Express) have similar capabilities to what is discussed.

What I found particularly interesting was the first "sound off" comment entry (well, only "sound off" at the moment):

My main concern with Sharepoint is it's reliance on IIS, Exchange, SQL, AD and DNS. My experience with a number of clients is that IIS and Exchange are fragile. A simple browse through the support knowledge base for "issues" will scare the bravest amongst us. As the shared documents are stored in SQL, if IIS or any one of the many components involved fails, then users will not be able to access any documents. They will not have the simple luxury of accessing an alternative location. I would like to see Sharepoint become simpler and be able to operate independantly of Exchange if Exchange happens to bomb.
Indeed, the interlocking pieces of the MS collaboration jigsaw puzzle are not known to always move seamlessly.

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