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User Profile Replication Engine (Office SharePoint Server)

Updated: August 28, 2008

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2008-08-28

This article contains information about the User Profile Replication Engine tool. The Replication Engine provides a shared services administrator the ability to replicate user profiles between Shared Services Providers (SSP).

The concept of a Shared Service Provider (SSP) was introduced in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. The main role of the SSP is to serve as the provider of key centralized services to consuming sites and portals. It was designed with isolation in mind, so that an organization would have a single SSP from which all of its sites could consume enterprise-level services. Under the current share services architecture, a site or portal can only consume services from one and only one SSP. For most services in the SSP, this concept works well for hosted scenarios and non-global organizations and companies or completely silo-ed organizations. However, data isolation doesn’t work well for services that rely on user profile data provided by the User Profile service such as People Search, Audiences, and My Sites. At the root of the issue is a fundamental principle of the User Profile Service: that a person (user) is the same person (user), regardless of how Office SharePoint Server 2007 is deployed in the environment. My Sites extends this principle to say a user should have only one personal site (My Site).

In geographically dispersed deployment scenarios, user profile data isolation becomes a deterrent to personalization, resulting in the lack of use of the associated services, such as User Profiles, Audiences, and People Search, to their full potential. These deterrents include, but not limited to, inaccurate and inconsistent user profile data (including property, colleagues, memberships, links, and privacy data); inaccurate audience memberships; and an incomplete inaccurate people search data corpus and experience. For additional information about geographical deployment scenarios, see Supported global solutions for Office SharePoint Server.

The User Profile Replication Engine solves these problems by maintaining consistent user profile data throughout the complete SharePoint ecosystem, including geographic deployments. The Replication Engine does multi-master data replication from one source to multiple destinations in the form of a full or incremental synchronization using Office SharePoint Server 2007 Web services for the User Profile Service.

The Web services are used to pull the data (all profile data or just the changes) from a source SSP and immediately push and write the data to other SSPs on behalf of the user or User Profile Service. This data includes profile property data, user colleague data, site membership data, user links data, and the associated privacy policy attached to the data. The Replication Engine can synchronize data as a scheduled service or through manual initiation. Data can be pulled and pushed for all users or just a sub set of users as well as, all data or a subset of data. The data is then used to keep the User Profile, Audiences, and (People) Search Services accurate and up-to-date.

The Replication Engine is comprised of two components:

  • Windows service

  • Windows Forms application

The Replication Engine can be installed on any computer that has access to the source SSP and destination SSP. However, we recommend that you install the Replication Engine on a computer that is part of the source farm or on a computer that is connected to the subnet of the source domain. The Replication Engine uses the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) User Profile and User Profile Change Log Web Services to read and write data between user profile stores.

The following table describes the differences between Full Replication, Incremental Replication, and Recovery, all of which can be run by using the Replication Engine.

Types of Replication
TypeWhen to Use

Full Replication

  • When you want all user profile data replicated from an existing SSP user profile store, such as with a new SSP deployment.

  • Where user store profile data is lost or corrupt and a copy exists in another SSP user profile store.

  • When incremental replication has stopped responding over a period of time, full replication is used to update destination SSP User Profile Stores to catch up incremental replication.

Incremental Replication

After full replication is finished, you would start incremental replication within 14 days to make sure that individual changes are being detected and replicated.

Recovery

  • To fully replicate a specific user or set of users whose information did not replicate correctly.

  • To replicate user profile information for a user or set of users by specifying account names.

  • To replicate user profile information for a user or set of users outside of a regularly scheduled replication schedule.

To perform a task on any of the four tabs (that is, Configuration, Full Replication, Incremental Replication, or Recovery), the account that is used must have Manage User Profile permission on the SSP for the source and all destination farms.

The Configuration tab allows the administration to configure the other three tabs (that is, Full Replication, Incremental Replication, and Recovery).

NoteNote:

User Profile Replication Engine will not replicate Distribution Lists (DL) or security groups, but will replicate site memberships (for example, My Sites).

System Requirements

The Replication Engine requires Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) to be installed. For Incremental Replication only, you must have configured a trusted My Site host location by using the Shared Services Administration Web page. For additional information about how to configure a trusted My Site host locations, see Add trusted My Site host locationThe configured account must have Manage User Profiles permission on the source and destination Shared Service Providers (SSPs) and have read access to the source and destination farm to use the Office SharePoint Server 2007 with SP1 Web Services. For additional information about Trusted My Site hosts location, see Remarks.

You must be a local administrator to install the Replication Engine.

Remarks

User Profile Services should be set up and configured correctly for your environment before you use the User Profile Replication Engine.

Incremental Replication also uses the trusted My Site host locations list to determine where a user’s My Site is hosted. This identifies where that user’s profile is primary. The SSP hosting the user’s personal site is also considered as having the primary profile record for that user because of the way My Site was designed. The trusted My Site host locations list in the Shared Services Provider (SSP) Web page is used as a primary user’s profile that is based on some information about the user such as his Active Directory user domain. Audiences are used to identify and group related users and associate those users who have particular My Site hosts. For additional information about trusted My Site host locations, see Manage My Site host locations.

The incremental replication process depends on the trusted My Site host locations list to avoid cyclical replication. For example, if a user updates his or her AboutMe property, that change is replicated to User Profile Store B and the change log will capture that as a change. The Replication Engine running against User Profile Store B will attempt to replicate that same change back to User Profile Store it came from (User Profile Store A) as something that changed since the last replication. However, before replicating it, the Replication Engine will check the trusted My Site hosts locations list to determine whether or not the user’s profile is the primary profile in the User Profile Store A. If it is not, then the Replication Engine will replicate the change.

The exception to the previous example is that if a property is marked as Feed on the Configuration tab, then the Replication Engine will ignore the trusted My Site hosts locations list when replicating changes for those properties. Typically, you will want to mark a property as a Feed when the data is to be replicated regardless of where the user might be mastered. Typically this is done when you only have Business Data Catalog imports running on one SSP for all users and just want to feed those properties to the other SSPs. Another example is when you have the primary people search experience on a site connected to SSP-A (that is, the source SSP) and want the Add to my colleagues link to work for the primary user profile that is in SSP-B (that is, the destination SSP).

The Replication Engine does not replicate any data that comes from Active Directory, as it would automatically be updated from Active Directory on imports.

Installation Steps

For steps on how to install the User Profile Replication Engine tool, see Installing SharePoint Administration Toolkit (Office SharePoint Server).

In this section:

The User Profile Replication Engine tool has four tabs which are described in the subsequent articles:

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