SharePoint Dragons

Nikander & Margriet on SharePoint

Tag Archives: Capacity planning

Maxer and Beads

We were looking for an apt metaphor to describe the need for the Maxer for SharePoint 2010 tool. At first, we were inclined to use the Big Bang theory as a metaphor to describe the common problem within a SharePoint farm in that it is ever expanding. However, the universe is a scary thing and thinking about it is too. So, we switched to another metaphor: a jar of beads. Beads are a lot nicer, they’re not scary, beautiful to look at, and you can create wondrous things with them. Don’t believe us? Check out these:

Tibetan Beads - Button Beads / Glimmering Golden Amethyst Beads - Cloudy Appearance / Lavender Purple Wood Beads - Classic Abacus / Tasteful Coffee Colours Nut Beads - Natural Coconut Shell
Bracelet Watch - Light Blue / Rhinestones Beaded Bracelets - Faceted Green / Pink Pearls Evil Eye Beads - Flecked Yellow Pieces / Eerie Red

Please note: All pictures were taken from either Google search (search term “beads”), or, with permission, from beads.

Now, imagine your SharePoint farm is like a jar of beads. You can create beautiful things using these beads, but you can also try to stuff too much beads into the jar, in which case bad things will happen. There are SharePoint capacity planning guidelines you can follow to prevent the jar from breaking, but just like a jar of beads can be hard to count, it can be difficult to determine if, how, and where you are crossing capacity boundaries within a SharePoint environment. That’s where Maxer for SharePoint 2010 enters the stage…

Maxer for SharePoint 2010 is a command line tool that checks for capacity planning limits as described per the Planning section of the TechNet Wiki SharePoint 2010 Best Practices overview page at

The Maxer zip file can be extracted on a server of the SharePoint farm. To execute it, all you need to do is type maxer at the command line. It will then start analyzing your entire SharePoint farm (so make sure the user account executing the tool is extremely powerful, otherwise the analysis will fail) and create a text file called overviews.txt in the same directory as Maxer. Depending on the size of your farm, this may (or may not) take a long time and can be a CPU intensive operation, so be careful to plan this off hours when doing this in a production environment.

Since this is the first version, a limited set of 10 features is included. Also, error handling is quite rudimentary. Community feedback will decide the future direction of Maxer for SharePoint 2010.

The v1.0 feature set contains the following capacity limit checks:

  • A single web application can only have 250,000 site collections.
  • A single web application can only have 300 content databases.
  • A single content database can only have 2000 site collections.
  • A single site collection can only have 2 million users.
  • A single user can only be a member of 5000 groups.
  • A single site collection can only have 10,000 SharePoint groups.
  • A single SharePoint security group can only have 5000 AD principles/users.
  • A single site collection can only have 250,000 sites and subsites.
  • A single web site can only have 2000 sub web sites.
  • A single list can only have 30,000,000 items.

The top feature request that will be implemented next is to have the option to specify whether a full blown report should be generated or only a report of capacity violations. Currently, Maxer only supports the full blown report.

Maxer for SharePoint 2010 can be downloaded at

Calculating the size of SPS crawl and property databases

Great capacity planning resource containing some formulas for calculating the size of both crawl and property databases:

Content db limits include remote BLOBs

It’s funny, cynical, and educational:

Easy to miss, since the article is not about that, but we really liked the comment that the fact that auditing is either turned on or off has a great impact on capacity planning:

With the BLOBs remoted it’s much more likely that you’re going to hit an object density threshold (i.e. items in a list) before you reach a content db size threshold unless of course you have an enormous amount of metadata, are storing a large number of versions, or have auditing turned on…that last one always catches folks off guard and is rarely accounted for in capacity planning exercises.

More capacity planning links

Some more useful capacity planning links… It contains interesting information. For example, a stretched farm, where multiple data centers are located close to another with high bandwidth connectivity so that they are configured as a single farm, must have less than 1ms latency between SQL Server and the WFEs, and at least 1Gbps connectivity:

Having said that though, apparently Microsoft has supported enviroments with latency levels up to 10ms:

Also check out the following info:

SharePoint capacity planning

Early on, in every project, there comes a time when you need to think about the capacity you require and exact farm configuration you want. It’s the time when you need to think about the number of users that will use SharePoint, how they are going to use it, and how much they will use it. Normally for us, this process starts with the SharePoint capacity planning tool. Here are some links that we find useful during the capacity planning phase: