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A Hassle Free Configuration Of Office Web App Servers

Office web app servers are usually installed to ease the complication of accessing web browser based application Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote within OWA.

Office web apps, introduced in summer 2010, is a browser based version of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. The product was added to the SharePoint application package and the only way by which customers could install office web app was on a SharePoint server. When the product was rethought, it seemed almost impossible to launch a new version. To support the vision, it was concluded that would be difficult to accomplish some of the key goals, given its close with SharePoint architecture.

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Finally, all the research and development ended with a new version of the office web app which could be run on entirely different server, but SharePoint server. The version came to be known as office web app server. The version is advantageous in following ways:

  • Simpler set up
  • Update and maintenance unrelated to SharePoint.
  • Multiple sharepoint farms as well as other products such as exchange or Lync getting connected with office web app server.

Whether it is one virtual machine working on shared server or a dozens of data center you require same server set up for them. Here are the steps for perfect office web apps configuration:

Hardware

Suppose you need a four server setup. For that a professional office web app services provider will need the following hardware system:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012.
  • 8 GB of RAM.
  • A decent-sized hard drive (60 GB or more)
  • Load balancer.

Software

If you want your users to reach office web app using both internal network and internet, then it requires you set up an internal and external DNS for your organization. Or else, you could just set up an external DNS and use internal DNS to keep internal requests on the private network. What you require while setting up a network?

  • Clients (usually web browsers) can make requests to the organization, which are normal HTTP/HTTPS requests on port 80 or 443 respectively.
  • Office Web Apps machines can start requesting to a service on the file host (e.g., SharePoint). These requests are also HTTP/HTTPS on port 80 or 443. Sometimes, file hosts request information directly from the Office Web Apps Server farm using the load balancer. These requests are also HTTP/HTTPS requests on port 80 or 443.
  • All the machines in the Office Web Apps Server farm should connect with each other via port 809.

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Configuration

Once, your hardware and network infrastructure requirements are fulfilled, you have to follow some steps to easily configure your Office Web Apps Server. Start with installing Office Web Apps Server and its language packs on all the machines. Don’t install any other software like SharePoint on the machine. If you want to share hardware, use virtual machines. Once that’s done, run the following Windows PowerShell on the first machine in your farm (we’ll call it Server1).

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