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My understanding is the HNSCs are recommended because as this technet article states

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc424952.aspx

This architecture is recommended to deploy sites because it is the same architecture that the Office 365 environment uses. Consequently this is the most heavily tested configuration. New features, including the App model and Request Management, are optimized for this configuration, and it is the most reliable configuration going forward.

However, are HNSCs required to take advantage of the App Model or is it a strong recommendation?

I've heard that they are required but I have not been able to find any documentation to back that up.

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They're not required and you can use path-based site collections instead. They're recommended due to scaling (and as we've heard, to make it easier to migrate to O365).

  • What are you referring to when you say "due to scaling"? Is it the Number of site collections? – RWL01 Sep 27 '13 at 20:29
  • It is an issue of multiple Web Applications v. Host Named Site Collections (and a single Web Application). Web Applications do not scale like HNSC in terms of number of vanity URLs one can have. – Trevor Seward Sep 28 '13 at 16:46

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