In the sharepoint 2010 capacity planning document there is a supported limit of 250000 sites per sitecollection. There is however the following note in the document for this limit:

Deleting or creating a site or subsite can significantly affect a site’s availability. Access to the site and subsites will be limited while the site is being deleted. Attempting to create many subsites at the same time may also fail.

How do I need to interpret this? Assuming the structure sitecol/mainsite/subsite1 ... sitecol/mainsite/subsite200000. If I delete say subsite1, or create subsite200001. Will this impact the availability of the entire sitecollection? The availability of the mainsite? Or availability of other subsites?

PS: I know this structure renders the all sites view for the mainsite useless and should not be used. This is acceptable for this scenario.

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    Can you describe a little more about your use case here? How many subsites do you anticipate having and/or creating on a daily basis? SharePoint was designed to handle a large number of subsites to a degree as the User Profile service actually creates a subsite for each user, and the use of document workspaces spins off subsites for each doc as well. – tyshock Feb 6 '14 at 16:47
  • The scenario of 200k subsites is realistic. New sites will be about 10 to 50 a day. – Martijn Burger Feb 6 '14 at 17:14

In your comment you stated you would have 10-50 new subsites per day. This would probably not cause any major issues as long as you aren't running a process which creates a large amount all at once. I would also try to segment this across multiple site collections where appropriate. Note that a single site collection can only use a single content database, and for performance reasons, the recommended max content DB size is 200GB by Microsoft. Also, I'm pretty sure that any access issues caused by site collection maintenance would be be caused by locks on the content database's tables. Therefore, by distributing the subsites across multiple content databases, those locks would not affect your entire environment at once.

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