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Best practices for My Sites

Updated: August 28, 2008

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2008-08-28

This article is one of a series of Best Practices articles for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. This article describes the typical characteristics and best practices for My Sites based on Office SharePoint Server 2007. For more articles in the series, see Best practices. For additional information and resources regarding Best Practices for Office SharePoint Server 2007, see the Best Practices Resource Center (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=125981).

1. Consider My Sites to be mini “team collaboration sites”

Because one of the most common uses of My Sites is as a location for individuals to store work-in-progress material, many if not all of the best practices for team collaboration sites can also be applied to My Sites.

See Best practices for team collaboration sites for details.

2. Plan for My Site content databases

Because you will have a very good idea of the potential total number of My Sites needed for your organization, you should project how many content databases you will need. Pre-create the content databases before you roll My Sites out to your organization, so that as the My Site site collections are created, they will be automatically distributed across content databases.

See Design My Sites architecture and My Site Pages and Architecture for details.

3. Plan for My Site storage quotas

Because you will have a very good idea of the potential total number of My Sites needed for your organization, you should project how much storage space you can allocate to each My Site based on your storage space budget. Set site quotas for the My Site root’s Web application as appropriate before you roll My Sites out to your organization, so that the My Site site collections will have the correct storage quota applied as they are created.

See Configure settings for a Web application and Scaling My Sites; How Many My Sites per Content DB? for details.

4. Plan for performance

The increased volume in sites, folder structures, drive storage, and processing that can accompany My Sites (even if they are as small as possible and used only to store a profile picture) can impact the backup and recovery processes and the availability of the rest of the SSP farm. Large organizations with 100,000 employees or more should consider putting My Sites into a separate farm from their Search SSP. We recommend a maximum of 150,000 My Sites per SSP.

We recommend that very large organizations having geographically distributed workforces consider multiple My Site farms, with the farms regionally located. If the workforce is local, we recommend multiple My Site farms within the same data center. This approach helps to minimize the number of content databases per farm, and places the My Sites geographically closer to the site owners. Multiple My Site farms can also ease the effort and time required to deploy updates and service packs to any given farm.

See Planning and Designing SharePoint Products and Technology Solutions for Geographically Dispersed Sites for details.

5. Customization policies for My Sites

Avoid customizing the site definition. Poorly designed customizations can severely impact server performance and unnecessarily consume valuable CPU and memory resources.

We recommend instead designing a Feature, and then using Feature stapling to attach the Feature to the site definition.

See SharePoint Feature and Feature Stapling for details.

6. Plan for manageability

Always create a dedicated Web application to host My Sites and set the root of that Web application to be the My Site host location. This leverages Web application policies to define security, facilitates content database management, enables creation of zones for external access, and allows users to browse to the root and be automatically redirected to their My Site.

See MOSS 2007 - Structuring Web Applications with a level of fault isolation and Create a My Site host location for details.

7. Configure content sources to optimize indexing scheduling

My Sites use a separate content source for people profiles rather than defaulting to the local Office SharePoint Server 2007 sites content source. Full crawls of My Sites can be time-consuming due to the potentially large number of site collections. Creating a separate My Sites content source enables independent crawl configurations, such as the type of crawl and crawl frequency.

NoteNote:

Install the latest service pack (currently Service Pack 1). Be sure to get the latest post-service-pack hotfixes applied. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) has issues where incremental crawls will not pick up all of the changes on My Sites without the hotfixes.

See Manage content sources (Office SharePoint Server) for details.

8. Do not pre-provision My Sites

Following a full Active Directory directory service profile import, each employee will have a user profile page, even if no My Sites have been created. Profile pages allow basic employee information to be exposed in search results.

We recommend letting users create their own personal My Site on demand. Do not pre-provision My Sites, as this can be a time-consuming process, potentially taking many days or weeks. It gains little, and can add much in terms of storage and administrative processing.

We recommend that you do pre-provision individual user My Sites if your organization decides to use personalized sites as mini-portals into everything a typical user might need (Web Parts for personal HR data, targeted sales data, task list, news or announcements related to that person’s role, and so on). Using the personalized sites surfaced in the My Sites UI eliminates the need for users to navigate through many different sites to gather pertinent information, and will drive My Site usage within your organization.

Security noteSecurity Note:

If you decide to disable My Sites altogether, you can still get the benefits of People Search against user profile data. You can configure personalization permissions so that users can update their profiles without enabling them to create a My Site. You can use this flexibility to then provide My Site capability to only selected subsets of users in your organization.

NoteNote:

In many locations on TechNet, MSDN, and the Microsoft Support site, “My Site” is also referred to as “Personal Site” or “My Site personal site”. Be careful not to confuse “Personal Site” in those instances with “Personalization Site”, the latter being a centrally managed role-specific site that is targeted to multiple users.

See Managing My Site Creation and Usage for details.

9. Plan for an effective rollout of My Sites capability and encourage on-going adoption

Make My Site available to everyone from Day 1. This allows for viral adoption by early adopters. Be creative and execute a communication plan. Some ideas are:

  • Send out e-mail invitations to a small group of pilot users who, based on their role in the organization, would likely be interested in trying out My Site. Depending on the size of your organization, this pilot group might contain a few dozen or a few hundred users. Encourage these users to add a link to their My Site in their e-mail signature. This drives awareness and helps gets a critical mass of My Sites in place quickly.

  • Several months after launch, promote the My Site feature in a story on the Intranet portal home page.

  • Sometime soon after, incorporate the concept of filling out your profile into new employee orientation as a specific training exercise. All new hires will then have a My Site.

  • Encourage high-profile executive blogging to drive awareness and adoption of My Sites. Blogging topics might include annual business planning, corporate strategy, rumor control and so on. This can demystify blogging by encouraging many participants to make daily posts about what they were doing and what they are thinking about.

    NoteNote:

    More frequent incremental crawling would be necessary in order to incorporate blog entries into the search index. See the “Configure content sources to optimize indexing scheduling” section for details.

These practices will eventually encourage others to create their own My Site, thereby gaining momentum within the organization.

10. Educate users about when to use their My Sites versus when to use team collaboration sites

Users may be confused about when to create a subsite beneath their My Site versus when to create a site on the team collaboration environment.

Generally speaking, users should only create subsites under their My Site for their own enterprise-facing blog, and perhaps in the case of solitary projects. When performing project work as part of a group of individuals, creation of the site in the team collaboration environment is more appropriate.

Inform My Site users of the My Site, Customizing sites and pages, and Customizing pages by using Web Parts topics available at Office Online.

See Governance Resource Center for SharePoint Server 2007 for details.

11. Use Personalization Sites to provide role-specific content in the context of a user’s My Site

Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides a template for creating personalization sites. Personalization sites use a Current User Filter Web Part that can be connected to other Web Parts on the page to display content that is personalized for each user who visits the site.

Unlike My Sites that are managed by each user, personalization sites are designed to be customized and controlled by central authority for a larger audience.

See Configure personalization sites for configuration details and Role-Based Templates for SharePoint My Sites for specific examples.

12. Use domain-and-user name site naming format

In organizations with multiple domains and where the possibility exists for there to be identically named user accounts in different domains, it is important to avoid the risk and confusion of site naming conflicts. Selecting the Domain and user name setting on the My Site Settings page is best in the long run. Even if your organization only has one domain at the present time, selecting this option can simplify things down the road in the event of mergers and acquisitions.

See Configure settings for My Sites for details.

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