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You may not have heard of this serious medical condition, but it exists in most people. It is the irrational fear of SharePoint Site Collections (and particularly Self Service Site Creation). The primary driver for this fear is that allowing people to create site collections will “prevent my ability to manage the environment effectively.” This is pretty ironic, all things considered. Lets compare:
So… from a manageability standpoint, the Site Collection wins. Granted, the Plan for Software Boundaries TechNet article clearly documents the “limit” of 50,000 site collections per content database vs. 250,000 webs per site collection… but if you’re also following the recommendation on content database size, you’re never going to hit either of these “limits” anyway.
In a strange twist of irony, many people seem much more comfortable providing users with the “Full Control” that comes with being either Site Collection Administrator or in the default Owner group. This is ironic because in the process of trying to maintain some sense of control, they’re allowing their users to do things like create unlimited subsites (that they can’t separate or move between databases) on virtually any number of nested paths, allowing permissions to inherit throughout the site collection (occasionally leading to permissions that weren’t planned), and allowing users to activate various features, use SharePoint Designer, and any number of things that are good features implemented badly.
Rather than let everyone create everything everywhere in ways that can’t be reported on, managed, backed up, or migrated, go ahead and turn on Self Service Site Creation and let the Site Directory be your guide!
There are some recommendations that go along with this though:
Yes, this is more initial work… but it is a LOT easier than what I usually hear: “Our site collection is too large, unwieldy, and we need to split it up and we’re not sure how that’s going to work!”.
Go ahead… enable SSSC… done right, it’s much easier to manage than you might think.