Reduce the number of servers with SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 1 or SharePoint 2019 Shared Min-Role Topology

Over the years, ever since Microsoft has introduced SharePoint 2016 RTM Min-Role topology, our customers were concerned with the increased number of servers and hardware recommended by Microsoft.

Here is the screen of SharePoint 2016 RTM Server Roles selection. You would notice that each role will require dedicated servers, which will increase the number of servers required for the SharePoint farm.

SP2016 Server Roles

With SharePoint Min-Role topology, typical recommendations for SharePoint 2016 RTM on-premises usually follows the following recommendation –

  • MinRole Topology for DEV or POC environments
    • Use Single Server Farm option (4 cores, 16-24 GB with SharePoint and SQL servers)
  • MinRole Topology for UAT or non-production environments
    • Use small farm topology for UAT (no fault tolerance or high availability or disaster recovery)
    • Minimum 5 servers – 4 SharePoint servers (one server for each role) and dedicated server for SQL databases
    • Hardware Requirements – 4 cores/16 GB for web/distributed cache, 4 cores/20 GB for application/search, and 4 cores/16 GB for SQL
  • MinRole Topology for a production environment
    • Medium SP Fault Tolerant, Non-Disaster Recovery Farm
    • Each SharePoint services must be started on at least 2 virtual/physical servers on two different physical hosts
    • Minimum 10 Servers – 2 servers for each role (2 WFEs, 2 Distributed Cache, 2 Applications, 2 Search), and 2 SQL on two different hosts
    • Hardware Requirements – 4 cores/16 GB for web/distributed cache, 4 cores/20 GB for application/search, and 4 cores/20 GB for SQL
    • You can optionally add more search servers to optimize your environment specifically for search – Minimum 4 Search servers – 2 Search Roles on each physical box, 2 servers running index/query servers and 2 servers running crawl/content processing servers
    • To scale out, add a server to the farm, select the role, and services will start automatically.

In SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 1 and later (including SharePoint 2019), Microsoft has introduced the shared min-role topology (or that’s what I like to call it).

Here is the screen of SharePoint 2016 FP1 Server Roles selection and Microsoft’s announcements around shared role with enhanced MinRole topology. Announcing Feature Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2016—cloud-born and future-proof

SP2016 FP2 Server Roles

With new shared MinRole topology, we can now configure SharePoint 2016 FP1 or later, and SharePoint 2019 farm with the traditional 3-layer farm (web, application, and database) and reduce the overall hardware required for the SharePoint on-premises farm. Believe me or not, this may be much more practical & cost-effective than traditional MinRole topology introduced in SharePoint 2016 RTM, depending on SharePoint footprint & usage in your organization.

Here is the revised, much more organized server roles selection screen in SharePoint 2019 RTM.

SP2019 Server Roles

If you want to stick to Microsoft’s recommended Min-Role topology with Shared roles, it might be one reason to choose SharePoint 2016 FP1 or later or SharePoint 2019 RTM over SharePoint 2016 RTM on-premises farm.

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