Best practices for My Sites (SharePoint Server 2010)
Published: June 28, 2011
This article describes the typical characteristics and best practices for My Sites in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. This article is one of a series of Best Practices articles for SharePoint Server 2010. For more articles in the series, see Best practices (SharePoint Server 2010). For additional information and resources about Best Practices for SharePoint Server 2010, see the Best Practices Resource Center.
1. Use My Sites to promote social computing and enterprise collaboration
My Sites continue to give users a personal location to store and share documents as in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, My Sites have become a key part of social computing and collaboration in an enterprise.
My Sites are hosted by a Web application that is connected to a User Profile service application in SharePoint Server. The User Profile service application enables My Sites users to tag, comment on, and rate content of interest to them. My Sites also give users personal newsfeeds of activities based on colleagues and activities that the users have specified an interest in. Additionally, the User Profile service application contains user profiles with information that users can view by accessing another user’s My Site, and search for people by using names or expertise.
2. Deploy My Site farms based on the geographical distribution of your workforce
We recommend that very large organizations with geographically-distributed workforces consider multiple My Site farms and User Profile service applications to host My Sites, with the farms and User Profile service applications regionally located. This approach also applies to very large organizations, where the whole workforce is local. We also recommend that multiple My Site farms and User Profile service applications be located within the same data center. In both cases, this approach helps limit the number of content databases per farm and positions My Sites geographically closest to the site owners and users. Multiple My Site farms can also ease the effort and time that is required to deploy updates and service packs to any given farm.
When you have multiple My Site farms and User Profile service applications, you have to configure trusted My Site host locations and potentially use the User Profile Replication Engine to keep data synchronized among the User Profile service applications.
For more information, see:
Planning for geographically distributed deployments in "Plan for My Sites"
Web application limits in "SharePoint Server 2010 capacity management: Software boundaries and limits"
Estimate core storage and IOPS needs in "Storage and SQL Server capacity planning and configuration"
3. Plan for improved performance
Because each My Site is a site collection, the usage pattern of My Sites (even when as small as possible) can negatively affect the backup and recovery processes, as well as the availability of other Web applications in the farm, especially in a large organization. To improve performance during backup and restore operations, large organizations with 100,000 employees or more might consider performing these operations in smaller increments and performing them over time. If performance during backup and restore operations is critical to your organization, you might consider putting My Sites into a separate farm. We also recommend a maximum of 250,000 site collections per Web application.
For more information, see:
4. Isolate My Sites in a dedicated Web application
We recommend that you host My Sites in a dedicated Web application and create the My Site host site collection at the root of this Web application. This improves performance, manageability, and security by isolating My Sites from other Web applications in the farm.
The Web application that hosts My Sites has special security considerations because you must enable self-service site creation in the Web application to give users permission to create their individual site collections. A malicious My Site owner could perform cross-site scripting attacks. Isolating the My Sites Web application prevents such attacks from affecting other Web applications in the farm.
For more information, see My Sites architecture in "Plan for My Sites" and Additional information about the Self-Service Site Creation feature in Office SharePoint Server 2010.
5. Use dedicated content databases for My Sites
My Sites have a different usage pattern than other kinds of SharePoint sites. This difference affects the underlying content databases that contain the individual site collections for My Sites. My Sites typically have a larger write profile compared to other site types. Therefore, you should plan for dedicated content databases. Pre-create the content databases before you deploy My Sites in your organization so that the individual site collections are automatically distributed across the content databases.
The amount of space that you allocate to the databases will depend on the number of users in your organization whom you let create My Sites and how many of those users that you expect to use their My Site for storage. Some users might rely less on the storage aspect of their My Site than the social computing and collaboration features of My Sites.
6. Configure storage quotas for My Sites
The Personal Site quota template is automatically applied when each user creates an individual site collection in his or her My Site by clicking the My Content tab. By default, this quota template has a storage limit of 100 MB.
We recommend that you configure the storage limit for the Personal Site quota template based on your database size estimates from your previous content database planning, and suggest 500 MB.
You should configure the quota template before you deploy My Sites in your enterprise because subsequent changes will not affect existing site collections. If you decide to configure the quota template later, you can use Windows PowerShell to script an update for existing site collections. For more information about how to update site collections, see How To: Update Site Collection Quotas for Existing Site Collections (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=221950).
For more information, see Planning for storage requirements in "Plan for My Sites" and Storage and SQL Server capacity planning and configuration (SharePoint Server 2010).
7. Plan for provisioning of individual site collections
Following a full directory service import, each employee whose profile is imported will be able to view only his or her profile details and activities, even if the user has not yet created an individual site collection on My Sites by clicking the My Content tab. The profile page enables basic employee information to be displayed in search results, and the newsfeed page displays activities that a user is interested in. After a user creates their individual site collection, they will also have access to their content page to contain their documents, blogs, and other data.
You can pre-provision users' individual site collections to more predictably control resource usage and facilitate the initial deployment. Pre-provisioning My Sites can be a time-consuming process, potentially taking many days or weeks depending on the size of your organization. Pre-provisioning also requires some scripting knowledge, requires more storage, and adds time during upgrades. For a mid-sized organization, the increased administrative costs of pre-provisioning may worthwhile to facilitate a smooth rollout. For larger organizations, we recommend that you let users create their individual site collections on demand.
8. Plan for search integration
The SharePoint Search service application is an important part of the social experience with My Sites. Users can conduct searches of user profile data from their My Sites to find people in their organization based on either names or areas of expertise.
If you decide to disable My Sites completely, you can still get the benefits of People Search. You can configure permissions so that users can update their profiles without enabling them to create a My Site. This enables you to block the creation of site collections in My Sites, but still enables users to access their own profile information and to search for and view the profiles of other users.
In addition to enabling searches based on names or expertise, the Search service application performs security trimming. Security trimming refers to the process that the Search service application uses to display only the content that each user has permission to view among all the crawled items. This determines which activities a user sees in his or her newsfeed, and which tags and notes the user can see.
If you deploy Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint in your organization to crawl the farm, you still need to configure SharePoint Search to index all social aspects such as tags and notes, newsfeeds, and people search. You can use FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint to index the rest of the SharePoint content.
For more information, see My Sites overview (SharePoint Server 2010), the "Search service application" section in Plan for My Sites (SharePoint Server 2010), and Privacy and security implications of social tagging (SharePoint Server 2010).
9. Customize My Sites
Like other sites in SharePoint Server, you can customize the look and feel of My Sites by using custom master pages and modifying page layouts to better suit your organizational needs. For example, you might want to change the styling and navigation to incorporate specific branding, or customize Web Parts to include certain functionality for users. For more information about master pages and page layouts, see Page Layouts and Master Pages.
Modifying the site definition is not supported. The supported approach to customize My Sites is to design a Feature and then use Feature Stapling to associate that Feature with the site definition. For example, you might design a Feature that uploads and uses a custom master page for My Sites, and specifies certain Web Parts that you want available for users on their My Sites. For more information about how to customize My Sites, see Changing the Master Page on SharePoint 2010 My Sites and Customizing My Sites in Microsoft SharePoint 2010.
For more information, see also Deploy site elements by using Features (SharePoint Server 2010) and Governance features (SharePoint Server 2010).
10. Educate users about the purpose of their My Sites document libraries
Although a My Site contains document libraries for an individual user’s personal and shared documents, it is not meant to be a replacement for other document storage such as network drives.
Help users to understand when they should use their My Site to store content instead of another location, such as in a document library on a team site or a shared network drive. Good uses for My Sites document libraries include personal works-in-progress and other documentation that do not belong to a team or project, but do require governance, collaboration, and other functionality that is provided by SharePoint Server.
Users typically store a lot of content on network drives that is outdated or otherwise unnecessary to be managed in a SharePoint document library. If you want SharePoint Server to include content from network drives, index those drives and surface it through SharePoint search instead. This reduces the SharePoint storage required to manage the actual data while still enabling users to find content that is stored outside SharePoint Server. For more information, see Plan for crawling and federation (SharePoint Server 2010) and Manage crawling (SharePoint Server 2010).
The SharePoint Server 2010 Content Publishing team thanks the following contributors to this article:
Ali Mazaheri, Technology Architect
Bassem Yacoube, Senior Consultant
Bill Holden, Software Developer Engineer in Test
Reed Pankhurst, Software Developer Engineer in Test
Craig Schwandt, Principal Consultant
Bryan Porter, Senior Consultant
Steve Peschka, Senior Principal Service Engineer
Tajeshwar Singh, Senior Consultant