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Plan for My Sites (SharePoint Server 2010)

 

Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2011-09-24

In Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, a My Site is a personal site for a user in an organization. Although a My Site appears as a single site to a user, the My Sites architecture in SharePoint Server consists of a Web application, a My Site host site collection, an individual site collection, and several SharePoint service applications and features. Except for the individual site collection, all other parts of this infrastructure are configured once and shared among all the users who are part of the My Sites deployment.

This article contains information about My Sites architecture, related services, and other considerations when planning to deploy My Sites. Before you use this article to plan for My Sites, make sure that you understand the end-user capabilities and concepts of My Sites described in My Sites overview (SharePoint Server 2010). Then use this article to understand and plan for My Sites. After you understand the overview and planning concepts, use the procedures in Set up My Sites (SharePoint Server 2010) to set up My Sites in your environment.

In this article:

The My Sites architecture consists of a Web application that hosts My Sites, a My Site host site collection, and individual site collections for users.

Each user's My Site contains two site collections: the My Site host site collection and the user's individual site collection. Although you can use an existing Web application to host these site collections, we recommend that you use a dedicated Web application to improve performance and manageability.

When you create the My Site host site collection and users create their individual site collections, the data is maintained in one or more content databases that are associated with the Web application that hosts My Sites. Like other Web applications in SharePoint Server, you can add content databases to this Web application if you must have multiple databases for storage. For more information, see Planning for storage requirements.

The My Site host site collection and the configuration that enables individual My Sites site collections to be created are required before users can create My Sites. For more information, see Set up My Sites (SharePoint Server 2010).

The My Site host site collection and individual site collections are described more fully in the following sections.

The My Site host site collection is a special site collection that hosts the My Newsfeed and My Profile sections of all users' My Sites. The site collection's site template must be the My Site Host site template, available from the Enterprise tab of the Create Site Collection page. The My Site Host site template can be used only once per User Profile service application, which is discussed later in this article.

My Sites require that a site collection exist at the Web application root (which appears as / in the user interface). Without this, you will receive a message that indicates that there is no site collection at the root when you try to enable self-service site creation for the Web application. Because we recommend that you use a dedicated Web application to host My Sites, you should use the root path for the My Site host collection unless you have a specific requirement to create the site collection deeper in the uniform resource locator (URL) path.

If you create the My Site host deeper in the path, it must be under an explicit inclusion managed path. Additionally, you must create a separate site collection at the Web application root, although this site collection can be empty and created without a template. For more information about managed paths, see Define managed paths (SharePoint Server 2010).

The URL for a My Site host site collection is shared by all users of the same User Profile service application. The URL for My Newsfeed is http://hostname/default.aspx, and the URL for My Profile is http://hostname/person.aspx where hostname is the address of the site collection. For example, if you configure your My Site host site collection at http://my.contoso.com/, users access their newsfeeds and profiles at http://my.contoso.com/default.aspx and http://my.consoto.com/person.aspx respectively.

Although these URLs are the same for all users of a User Profile service application, the information displayed for each user is different. SharePoint Server determines the information to display based on the user's logon account. The information is targeted to that specific user and is provided by the SharePoint service applications referred to in this article.

When a visitor views another user's My Site, the visitor can see only the user's profile page. This URL is http://hostname/person.aspx?accountname=account where hostname is the address of the site collection and account is the user name (and, if it is configured, the user's domain name). For example, http://my.contoso.com/person.aspx?accountname=sidney.

A user's individual site collection hosts the My Content section of his or her individual My Site. An individual site collection is created the first time that a user clicks the My Content link in his or her My Site. This ability to create an individual site collection requires the following configuration in SharePoint Server:

  • The Web application that hosts My Sites has a wildcard inclusion managed path, such as sites or personal. This is the path under which the individual site collections will be created when users click the My Content link for the first time. For more information about managed paths, see Define managed paths (SharePoint Server 2010).

  • The My Site Settings for the User Profile Service application are configured to use the URL of the My Site host site collection and the wildcard inclusion managed path for individual site collections.

  • The Web application is enabled for self-service site creation. This functionality enables the individual site collections to be created under the specified wildcard inclusion managed path. The self-service site creation feature has special security considerations for cross-site scripting. This strengthens the recommendation to host My Sites in a dedicated Web application to isolate any scripts running in a My Site from affecting other sites in your environment. For more information about cross-site scripting vulnerabilities with Web applications enabled for self-service site creation, see Additional information about the Self-Service Site Creation feature in Office SharePoint Server 2010 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=211701).

  • Users must have Create Personal Site permissions to create a My Site. By default, this permission is enabled for all authenticated users. For more information, see the Plan users and user permissions section under User Profile service application.

The URL to a user's My Content section of a My Site is in the format of http://hostname/wildcard_path/account/default.aspx where hostname is address of the My Site host site collection, wildcard_path is the wildcard managed path configured for the Web application, and account is the account of the user logged on. For example, if you configure your My Site host site collection at http://my.contoso.com/ and configure the wildcard managed path to be personal, users access their content at http://my.contoso.com/personal/account/default.aspx.

With the account part of the URL, when you set up My Sites, you have three options to specify how to name an individual user's site collection, as shown in the following table.

 

Option Description

User name (do not resolve conflicts)

By using this option, the My Site name is the user name of the account. This is not a user's display name. For example, if a user's friendly name is Sidney Higa and the user's account is sidney, the site collection is named sidney. Only choose the first option if you are sure that all user names in your organization are unique. Otherwise users will encounter conflicts when they provision their My Sites. If a conflict occurs, the first user who creates a My Site with a user name is successful. However, the next user who tries to use the same user name cannot create a My Site.

User name (resolve conflicts by using domain_username)

By using this option, the first user who has a duplicate user name will have a My Site created by using their user name only, and a second user who has that same user name will have a My Site created by using both their domain name and user name. For example, the first user will have their My Site created under http://my.contoso.com/personal/sidney.default.aspx while the second user will have their My Site created under http://my.contoso.com/personal/CONTOSO_sidney/default.aspx. Choose this option when it is possible for a user name to exist multiple times in an organization, such as when you have multiple domains. Because a user name is guaranteed to be unique only within its own directory source, this option prevents two users who have the same user name but different domains from encountering issues when they create their My Sites.

Domain and user name (will not have conflicts)

By using this option, all My Site names are created by using both the domain name and user name. For example, http://my.contoso.com/personal/CONTOSO_sidney/default.aspx. Choose this option when you want My Sites to be consistently named with the domain name and user name, regardless of whether conflicts with user names exist or not.

My Sites rely on several SharePoint service applications and their related databases. These related service applications are discussed in this section, although you should also refer to the linked articles to fully plan and implement them to support My Sites in your enterprise.

The User Profile service application stores information about users in a profile database, a social database, and a synchronization database. Information can include a profile picture, the organization the user belongs to, colleagues, and pointers to tags and notes created by the user. SharePoint Server uses this information to personalize the data displayed on the My Profile page of a user's My Site. Additionally, the User Profile service application enables social computing features, such as social tagging and newsfeeds for My Sites, which affects the My Profile and My Newsfeed sections of a user's My Site.

The User Profile service application is required for My Sites. For more information, see User Profile service application overview (SharePoint Server 2010).

Although configuring the User Profile service application is required for My Sites, synchronizing profiles between SharePoint Server 2010 and directory services or business applications is optional but highly recommended. Profile synchronization provides rich functionality for My Sites by enabling the User Profile service application to collect information about users in an organization from directory services and business applications. As a result, consistent and timely information is always available on a user's My Site. Information about users can also be synchronized across the deployment among all site collections that use the same User Profile service application. User information can also be used by personalization features to increase the value of collaboration and relationships in an organization.

For more information, see Plan for profile synchronization (SharePoint Server 2010).

SharePoint Server 2010 provides a default set of policies that you can configure to make the appropriate information available to meet the needs of an organization. You can also create and deploy custom policy features to meet specific needs. When planning for My Sites, you should define which information is needed for key business processes in an organization and which information might be unsuitable for sharing across an organization. Between these extremes is the information that should be shared only among some users. In the case of information that might be unsuitable for sharing across an organization, you must create policies to address these specific situations. For more information about policy planning, see About property policies in the "Plan user profiles" article.

Additionally, My Site features might store or use personally identifiable information. When planning to deploy My Sites, make sure that you carefully plan how to control the behavior of these features — or turn off the features — to help protect the privacy of this information. These decisions are affected by several factors, including corporate privacy practices, and regional or national privacy laws. For more information, see Managing privacy (SharePoint Server 2010).

When planning for My Sites, determine who is allowed to create My Sites and which features are available to My Sites users.

The following table shows permissions that are available to users and groups on the Manage User Profile Service page of the User Profile service application.

 

Permission Description

Create Personal Site

Users with the Create Personal Site permission can create My Sites.

Use Personal Features

Users with the Use Personal Features permission can edit their profiles, add or edit colleagues, and add or edit memberships.

Use Social Features

Users with the Use Social Features permission can add ratings, and social tags and notes to SharePoint Server items, such as documents or blogs, and to external Web pages.

By default, all authenticated users are granted all these permissions, but you can configure specific permissions depending on your needs. For example, you might allow only full-time employees to create My Sites, instead of all workers in your organization. As a best practice, simplify administration by granting permissions to security groups instead of specific users.

The Managed Metadata service application enables Web applications to store and access keywords from a managed metadata term database. For My Sites, this functionality is required for users to specify keywords as their areas of expertise in the Ask Me About section and to use keywords for social tagging by using the Tags and Notes and I Like It features on the My Profile page of a My Site.

A Managed Metadata service application is highly recommended for My Sites. It must be configured as the default keyword term store for the Web application. For more information about managed metadata service applications, see Managed metadata service application overview (SharePoint Server 2010).

Although not required for My Sites, the SharePoint Server Search service application is highly recommended to enable users to search from their My Sites for people in the organization based on names or areas of expertise. This search functionality is part of enterprise search planning and configuration.

Although this section describes people and expertise search for My Sites, for more information about enterprise search, see Enterprise search planning (SharePoint Server 2010).

noteNote
If you are using FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint, the behavior described in this section will be different. Tags are stored in the social database related to the User Profile service application. However, FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint does not index the social database, which prevents relevance benefits for documents that have been tagged by users. Additionally, FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint disables SharePoint Server from aggregating and displaying tagging results, which prevents users from searching based on social tags. To work around these issues, you can develop custom code to populate managed properties in FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint for each term that is used in social tagging. For more information, see FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint.

When a user searches for people, results contain links to the public profiles of users and links to contact them by e-mail or messaging programs. When planning for My Sites, you might want to consider supplementing the default people search scope, and supplementing the Search Center tab with customized search scopes and tabs for more specific groups of users.

If the administrator of the User Profile service application differs from the administrator of the Search service application, the User Profile service application administrator should review the information architecture and site hierarchy to determine the key business concepts that might relate to specific groups of users for whom other users might search across sites. Then the User Profile service application administrator can work with the Search service application administrator to develop search scopes and people search tabs for those specific groups. User Profile service application administrators can also use their knowledge of the user profiles they manage to determine other useful groups of users, and to create additional specific search scopes and search tabs for those groups.

Site collection administrators can also create site-level search scopes for users who are members of their site collections.

People search planning also feeds back into user profile planning. Initial planning might reveal people or groups of users whom you want to make it easier to find. However, additional user profile properties might have to be created to allow for those users to be found easily. For more information about planning user profiles, see Plan user profiles (SharePoint Server 2010).

When planning My Sites, you should determine whether you want to enable users to locate colleagues within the organization based on the colleagues' expertise. People search and expertise tagging help users locate people inside an organization who have identified themselves as having significant experience with a particular subject. Users in your organization can add terms to their profile that describe areas in which they have experience. These terms are used by people search when a user searches for someone in the organization who has experience in a particular area.

If e-mail analysis is enabled, users can also find people by using e-mail analysis in Outlook 2010. Colleague suggestions are imported from Outlook if you are using Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 e-mail. If you are using Microsoft Outlook 2010, SharePoint Server analyzes sent e-mail messages and then makes colleague and keyword suggestions based on this analysis. Users can then see these suggestions when they edit their profiles.

Although you can enable e-mail analysis for all users in Outlook or only for specific groups by using Group Policy, users can opt out of this feature. If e-mail analysis is disabled for all users, individual users can still opt in. For more information about e-mail analysis, see Enable SharePoint Server 2010 Colleague in Outlook 2010.

The timer jobs in the following table are related to My Sites functionality.

 

Services Jobs

Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application

My Site Cleanup Job

Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Timer

User Profile service application name - User Profile to SharePoint Full Synchronization

User Profile service application name - User Profile to SharePoint Quick Synchronization

User Profile Service

User Profile service application name - Activity Feed Job

User Profile service application name - Activity Feed Cleanup Job

User Profile service application name - My Site Suggestions Email Job

You can enable or disable these jobs, and configure their schedules to meet the needs of your organization. These jobs are located in Central Administration, under Monitoring, in Review job definitions section. In the View list, select Service and then, from the Service menu, select Change Service to select different services and view the related timer jobs.

For more information about these jobs, see Timer job reference (SharePoint Server 2010).

When planning for My Sites, you must consider the location of the users in the organization and the number of farms or User Profile service applications that will host My Sites. If you have more than one farm or User Profile service application, you will likely have to configure trusted My Site host locations and the User Profile Replication Engine.

The Trusted My Site Host Locations feature prevents a user from creating more than one My Site in an organization with multiple User Profile service applications.

For example, in a server farm deployment that spans geographic regions, you might have separate User Profile service applications for each region or regional server farms in the environment. By default, a user can create a different My Site in each User Profile service application or server farm, which could cause unwanted results from both an administration perspective and a user perspective. When you have multiple My Sites for an individual user in an organization, server resource needs increase. Additionally, users might not understand or want multiple My Sites.

To prevent individual users from creating multiple My Sites, configure trusted My Site host locations. When specified, users are redirected to the single My Site host location that is intended for their accounts regardless of where they are browsing when they attempt to create or access their My Sites. This feature ensures that each user can create only one My Site in an organization.

Configuring trusted My Site host locations is optional. For more information about configuring trusted My Site host locations, see Add or delete a trusted My Site host location (SharePoint Server 2010).

The User Profile Replication Engine replicates user profiles and social data, such as social tags, notes, and ratings, between User Profile service applications. This is important in geographically dispersed deployments, as user profile data and social data are isolated in domains. As a result, personalization features, such as profiles and People Search, might return inaccurate results inside a domain. The User Profile Replication Engine maintains consistent user profile data and social data throughout the enterprise.

Configuring the User Profile Replication Engine is optional. It is a separate download as part of the SharePoint 2010 Administration Toolkit. For more information, see User Profile Replication Engine overview (SharePoint Server 2010).

When enabled, users can use the multilingual user interface feature for their My Sites. This feature is used to display the site's user interface in a secondary language that the user prefers instead of the default, primary language that was selected when the site was created. By default, when a new site is created, it is created in the default, primary language of the SharePoint Server 2010 installation on the server. A farm administrator must install language packs on the server before sites can be created in languages other than the default, primary language.

For My Sites, the multilingual user interface feature is controlled by the Language Options setting when you configure My Site settings. The languages that are available to users correspond to the language packs installed in the server farm. For more information about the multilingual user interface and its effect on My Sites, see Multilingual user interface overview (SharePoint Server 2010) and Plan for multilingual sites (SharePoint Server 2010). For more information about language packs, see Deploy language packs (SharePoint Server 2010).

Because My Site users can edit their profiles, generate activities, upload and download documents, and so on, plan carefully for the storage and capacity needs of your environment. Take into consideration the content databases for My Sites and the databases for the related services of My Sites. For more information, see Storage and SQL Server capacity planning and configuration (SharePoint Server 2010).

Additionally, SharePoint Server includes a default Personal Site quota template, which has a storage limit of 100 MB and no user limit. This quota template is used for each user's individual site collection in their My Site. If the default settings for this template do not meet your needs, you can edit it.

Configuring quota templates is optional, but recommended. For more information, see Manage site collection storage limits (SharePoint Server 2010).

Like other Web applications in SharePoint Server, you can configure the file types that users are able to upload to or download from the Web application that hosts My Sites. This is useful if you want to prevent users from uploading or downloading file types that can be large, such as media file types, or file types that can be run on the client computer, such as executable files.

By default, SharePoint Server blocks certain file types. However, you can configure My Sites to allow these file types, or add other file types to block depending on the needs in your organization. For more information about managing file types, see Manage blocked file types (SharePoint Server 2010).

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