A Peek Inside: Why are domain accounts needed?

Have you ever had to do something that you knew (you just KNEW) that lots of folks were going to scream – and scream loud – about? This is one of those cases – I can just feel it!

Ok, here goes. There have been several recent newsgroups postings concerning why we require domain accounts to install PowerPivot for SharePoint. Why must the farm account and the various service accounts be domain accounts. This causes lots of heartache for users that want to install demo or evaluation servers because we don’t support a standalone server. Well, we do support standalone, but it a different kind of standalone. Let’s get right into it.

First, let’s compare and contrast this requirement with SharePoint. SharePoint has two types of installations: standalone (which they do NOT support in production) and complete/farm. The standalone installation is for demo and evaluation purposes only. It has uses NETWORK SERVICE as the service account for many of its internal processes. It is right up front that it is NOT expandable into a production system; it has security issues acting across servers; etc. However, it gives you a nice “toy” to play with. Let’s be right up front about it – PowerPivot does not install nor does it support a SharePoint standalone server installation. And, oh while we are on the subject, SharePoint does not support local machine accounts within a farm configuration. In the SharePoint world, once you go to domains – you go all of the way with domains.

Read more…

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