Wanted some opinions.....the way i have structured things at the moment on my site is as follows

1 upper level site collection -> 300 individual sites that will be accessible by our vendors (each has their own username/password) When someone else looked at this setup they said one issue with setting it up this way (using sites instead of site collections) is that it will bog things down. I wasn't aware that this would be an issue....can someone explain why structuring it this way is a problem and why using site collections would alleviate it?

2 Answers 2


Sites Size

The biggest factor in choosing to go with sites is size. A single site collection cannot span multiple content databases. Microsoft recommends that a single content database should not grow beyond 200 Gigabytes. This isn’t a hard limit, and with expensive hardware (Disk sub-system performance of 0.25 IOPs per GB. 2 IIOPs per GB) you can go up 4 TB however 200GB is the best practice for optimal performance and reasonable backup procedures. That being said, it really depends on the type of site that you are designing. For an internet facing site, a single site collection can work great. However for an enterprise portal and document management system that will service thousands of users and multiple departments, multiple site collections is usually the better approach since 200GB is a drop in the bucket these days.

Site Collections Size

The biggest advantage of going to site collections is that your content databases will scale much better beyond the recommended limit of 200GB. What this means is that you can use multiple databases to power your portal, which also means potentially multiple database servers. This allows your SharePoint server to scale much better along the data tier with additional servers.

Also of advantage is the ability to place database servers in separate geo distributed locations to increase the performance of farms that are accessed across multiple offices around the world.

there are other factors that can be found here:



I'd make separate site collections per vendor. Permissions will be easier to manage and you don't risk exposing information to other vendors by accident.

Bog it down is rather vague. It might make things slower for other users if one vendor is storing a lot of data.

  • I have to agree as the risk of accidentally exposing one vendor's data to a competitor usually outweighs most other factors. This is also the approach we've taken for this same situation. It can be cumbersome to manage but that is something the users never see.
    – Dave Wise
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 18:47

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