I know that this is a very broad question and I am looking for a very broad answer. We are beginning to plan our Sharepoint deployment in the Online, Office 365 version of the software. We are open to a hybrid setup if necessary, but would rather contain everything in the cloud as MS is slowly moving there anyway.

We have a company of roughly 250 employees. They are broken into roughly 15 planning teams. We have roughly 150 clients. Each client has roughly 10-30 projects in a given year. That is the basis of our setup.

Permissions are based on the teams, but there are little sub-teams of IT, Research, Reporting and stuff like that.

We initially thought we would set it up under one site container, but the 2000 subsite limitation per site-container put a kibash on that. Initially, I was planning on creating a workflow that would create a new project under that client as a subsite in a templated way. Clearly that isn't going to work as I first thought.

Automating processes is our number one goal (maybe 1a, if you consider file storage and organization as maybe a number one goal). My natural inclination would be to create a site collection for each client now, with the projects still as subsites, but that brings in a higher level of complexion than I am comfortable with at this point...I think.

Can I automate the creation of these "Client" site-collections? Is that the best method? Can I template a site-collection so that I can build one and expect the other ones to look the same way? Will having approx 250 site collections limit my installation's ability to operate?

Basically, am I missing something?


~Joe Fedorowicz

1 Answer 1


You can have literally hundreds of thousands of site collections; 250 sites and 250 users is trivially small for Office 365 to handle.

Site Collections are a natural security boundary for SharePoint, and your idea of having site collections per client, as well as for your cross-functional teams, is a pretty good one since it allows you to manage security on a per-client basis. (You could also use AD groups for each "planning team" and manage security through those if it makes more sense.)

As far as provisioning goes, you have two options. One involves development and is really slick once it's deployed, and one that requires no development but can be an administrative hassle.

If custom development is an option, look at the OfficeDev Pattern and Practices site collection provisioning demo, and take it from there. You'll need some developer talent to actually tailor this to your process and implement it.

For the no-dev option, use the "Save site as template" feature, and download your site template's WSP. Then you'll need to upload the WSP to the newly created site and activate it to get the template. For root sites with a custom template, you'll need to create your site with the "select template later" option, and upload/activate the WSP before applying the template.

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