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My Sites in SharePoint 2013, Office 365 and SharePoint Online

The My Site social architecture in SharePoint 2013, as shown in the figure below, has undergone several major updates and the “personal site” (My Site) as it is now being technically referenced, drives a great deal of the overall social technologies and experience in this new release.

The My Site drives the aggregation of the way users perform their everyday tasks within three different major hubs. The personal site (My Site) drives sites, newsfeed and OneDrive for Business. The My Site is the central location that the underlying technology surfaces user profile data, search results, activity feeds and tagging capabilities for all users within your organization.

The My Site is the overall starting place for users to then navigate SharePoint 2013’s sites, lists, content and other data and where they can access the new features around newsfeeds, hashtags, community sites and OneDrive. When a My Site is created a matching site collection is created for you that includes a site template with a document library and several apps that provide insight into the sites, topics, people and events that you are interested in.

A My Site is a personal site that allows you to store personal information and access the events and data that are important to you and your day-to-day activities.

My Sites Usage within Your Organization

My Sites represent the use of personal collaboration Site Collections for individual business users and can be activated and allowed for specific sets of users as needed. The organizations usage policy may or may not restrict the use of sites for individuals. However, all sites used for personal reasons will have reduced controls related to the standard site and Site Collection usage policies.

The table below describes the main areas for acceptable usage limits for individual My Sites.

Areas for acceptable usage limits for individual My Sites
Language OptionDetermines if My Sites can be created in other languages different than the SharePoint Farm core languageDefault is unavailable without additional Multilingual User Interface (MUI) packs installed.Policy is that My Sites will be created using the core language English.
Storage QuotaDetermines maximum storage size for all content in the Site CollectionDefault is 100 MB
User SolutionDetermines maximum amount of solution points scored before solutions automatically disableDisabled
Blocked File TypesDetermines which file extensions are automatically prevented from upload into a My Site LibraryDefault is Farm Standard
Site Collection AdministratorDetermines which users have Site Collection Administration rights to the Site CollectionDefault is provisioned user
SharePoint DesignerDetermines if SharePoint Designer is allowed to be used and which features of SharePoint Designer are allowedDefault is AllowedStandard is Disabled
Privacy ControlsDetermines if other users are allowed to see information in an individual profile as well as default state of visibilityDefault shows all directory based properties to everyone and cannot be changed, but SharePoint-specific properties are manageable by userStandard is set to default
Blog or other SubsiteDetermines if the Blog subsite or other subsites may be created by specific userDefault allows any subsite, including the Blog option, to be created.Standard is set to default.
OneDriveDetermines if user may have personal content in OneDrive is used and synchronized with a Personal SiteDefault allows OneDrive to synchronizeStandard is set to disallow.

Additional policies applied to the shared My Site location are defined as outlined below.

 Newsfeeds – The Newsfeed provides a system of showing updates to individual users who have subscribed to automatic updates on other users, content, or sites. The organization’s policy must consider whether to allow the usage of Newsfeeds.

– Communities – Communities are Site Templates that provide a forum experience within SharePoint. Communities allow you to categorize and cultivate discussions among a broad group of people across the organization.

 Following and Microblogging – Following is a user-initiated action that allows individuals to be updated on changes in a document, site, tag, or person, and provides the update on the individual’s newsfeed. Related to Following, microblogging provides a user a simple system of providing status updates on their own profile that other users can follow.

It’s important to note that Microblogging is not restricted by default but cannot be seen by others unless that user is followed. Your organization must define its approach and policy around the features of Following and Microblogging.

 Tagging and Notes – Tags, including hashtagging, allows an individual user to mark pages, list items, and sites with single or multiple words that can be used as a bookmarking system as well as update system for an individual based on personal interest in any of those types of content.

These tags will be displayed in the Tag Cloud web part in the My Site for that user for later reference. The organization’s policy should typically be to allow the usage of Tagging and Notes.

 Ratings – Ratings provide a method for users to score the relevance and value of content in pages, lists, and libraries, which improves their discoverability in Enterprise Search queries. The Default for Ratings is deactivated on most lists and libraries. Site Owners and Site Designers can enable ratings for lists and libraries within their sites at their own discretion without further approval.

Understanding the Underlying System Architecture Behind My Sites “From the Consulting Trenches”

When an organization’s deploys My Sites for their users, the underlying SharePoint 2013 system architecture create a web application, a My Site host site collection, an individual site collection, and several SharePoint service applications and features. The individual site collection is created once a user provisions their My Site but the other moving pieces described are configured during the initial My Site deployment and shared among all the users who are part of the My Sites deployment.

EPC Group will continue to build on this post to discuss the underlying system architecture behind My Sites in SharePoint 2013Office 365 and SharePoint Online “from the consulting trenches.”

Errin OConnor

Errin OConnor

With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting, Errin O’Connor has led hundreds of large-scale enterprise implementations from Business Intelligence, Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, IT Security, Azure and Hybrid Cloud efforts for over 165 Fortune 500 companies.

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