SharePoint 2013 Service Applications

There are fewer fundamental architectural changes with SharePoint 2013 than there were with 2010, but there are a few changes and a number of new service applications that are worth a mention.

Search Service

This has been totally rebuilt from the ground up and replaces the mixed bag of options that were available with the various flavours of SharePoint 2010.  The new search service combines FAST with some of the features in the 2010 search service and even some bits from Index Server.  SharePoint 2013 is a much more search centric product as will become evident once you start to use it, and as I will discuss in future posts.

Office Web Apps

This is no longer a service application that is bundled with specific license agreements but instead is a separate product with its own license.  It should be installed on a dedicated server, which should not have SharePoint, SQL Server, MS Office, Exchange or Lync installed on it. It is now a standalone app that serves as the viewing engine for SharePoint 2013, Exchange 2013 and Lync 2013; if it is only being used for viewing then no license is required but if you want to use it for editing documents then you need to purchase a license.    There are a few improvements in Office Web Apps: full screen viewing is supported, even through web parts; it now supports multi-authoring for PowerPoint, Word, Excel and OneNote documents; user unfriendly URLs have been removed; and it provides a handy document preview whenever you hover over a search result.

Web Analytics

This is no longer a separate service application and has been incorporated into the new search infrastructure that powers many of the new features in 2013.  The two have been combined to provide a much richer and more powerful search tool that not only returns rich search results but can also provide data on relevance, suggestions and user activity.  Each site now has a site settings option called Popularity Trends which outputs data to an Excel spreadsheet (usage.xlsx) which details daily hits and unique users.

Machine Translation Service Application

This provides the capability to translate contents using the Bing cloud based translation service.  Objects that can be translated include files, pages, sites and term sets.  It can be run asynchronously or synchronously for on the fly translations.  The translation activity is managed by a new timer job.

Work Management Service Application (WMSA)

This is a useful new MySites application that provides a single task list, pulling together all of a users tasks from Exchange 2013, Project Server 2013 and SharePoint 2013.  It works both ways, enabling a user to complete a task in the source application or through their MySite.  This requires the installation of Exchange Web Services (EWS) and the Exchange Web Services Managed API.

App Management Service

This is the new service for handling the new 2013 app store.  More about this in a future post.


About rearcardoor

Chairman and founder of ImageFast Ltd, a leading UK ECM consultancy business and Microsoft Gold Partner. Over 20 years experience delivering successful ECM projects utilising scanning, data capture, document management, records management, workflow, BPM and SharePoint.
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