I currently have 1 customer setup with multi-tenancy using a site subscription with a set of features. The assumption at the time was that i would share a content database with other tenants. The design has now changed in that each tenant (site collection) will be within their own content database but share the same web application.

I'm curious if i still need to setup each customer in a true multi-tenancy fashion even if they are using separate content databases. I guess i'm a little confused in terms of multi-tenancy as to what really needs to be partitioned... is it the content or the services that get partitioned and it partitions the database based on the site subscription regardless of whether the database is shared or isolated?

Thanks in advance. Adam

2 Answers 2


Separate content databases does not separate the tenant information in Service Applications (Search, UPA, etc.) or People Picker searches, and so on. If you need multi-tenancy (not recommended), then yes you still need to keep multi-tenancy enabled.

  • Hi Trevor, Thanks for the comment much appreciated. You mentioned that multi-tenancy is not recommended and i was curious as too why you think that. If there is a better way of setting up multiple clients then i would like to hear it. Thanks Trevor
    – adha409
    Feb 18, 2016 at 15:30
  • Because it is a very complex configuration that isn't well understood by many who implement it. It also requires development as the out of the box options are incomplete.
    – user6024
    Feb 18, 2016 at 15:53
  • Well again I'm curious as to what options are incomplete. In the case of hosting multiple clients what do you suggest as an alternative? Thanks again Trevor
    – adha409
    Feb 18, 2016 at 16:59

Adam, I think Trevor's point is, if you "need" multitenancy, this is the option, but if your are hosting SharePoint for a single organization, a standard farm should suffice and is simpler to implement and maintain. We deployed a multi-tenant farm to overcome other issues but have found it a good fit for our departments that are heavy SharePoint users with their own in-house expertise, as we host a farm that is open to schools and organizations across a public university. Multitenancy allows them to manage their own Secure Store Service and BCS connections without having to coordinate the work with the SharePoint server admins. As for the setup of tenants (Site Subscriptions) and content databases, unless you are going to create all new sites within all of the Site Subscriptions using Powershell, there is no way to tell it to place a new site in a specific content database. Our farm looks like the original setup assumed this as content database names match Site Subscription names, but the sites are distributed across the content databases without regard for Site Subscription membership.
This 5 part blog seems to be the go-to source for multi-tenancy, http://www.harbar.net/articles/sp2010mt1.aspx. Just modify the ending of the URL to ...mt2.aspx, ...mt3.aspx etc.

My $.02 worth, Tom

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