Social database limits – Is 500 million enough?

As part of a question I was looking into recently I re-stumbled across the SharePoint Server 2010 Capacity Management: Software boundaries and limits article on TechNet. This is full of all kinds of interesting facts and figures to help you plan your solution appropriately. Whilst scanning through it my eye caught on the following entry:

Limit Maximum value Limit type Notes
Social tags, notes and ratings 500,000,000 per social database Supported Up to 500 million total social tags, notes and ratings are supported in a social database without significant decreases in performance. However, database maintenance operations such as backup and restore may show decreased performance at that point.

So the supported limit for number of social tags, notes and ratings is 500 million – that’s a pretty big number right!? But is it big enough? For some reason, that’s the question that popped into my head after reading it. I put together a few quick figures to see if/ when you’d start to run into problems with this limit; perhaps for those scenarios with a solution that really encourages or heavily utilises these social features (which we all want to do right?).

So, nothing too scientific here but if we take a lifetime of 3 years for the environment and then use an average of 2, 5, 10, 15 updates* on each working day (say 260 a year) and scale this out for some different size organisations: 1000, 10,000 and 50,000 users, we get the following numbers:

Users Daily Updates Updates After 3 Years
1,000 2 1,560,000
1,000 5 3,900,000
1,000 10 7,800,000
1,000 15 11,700,000
10,000 2 15,600,000
10,000 5 39,000,000
10,000 10 78,000,000
10,000 15 117,000,000
50,000 2 78,000,000
50,000 5 195,000,000
50,000 10 390,000,000
50,000 15 585,000,000

Now as you can see from these simple tables then it takes 50,000 users 3 years of 15 updates a day to break this 500 million barrier! Likely? I think not. So, is 500 million enough? Yes.

*Actually I see the chances of solutions have this many updates and with a consistent frequency being rare, and perhaps even not ever. Off the top of my head I’m thinking of solutions which actually try to build custom functionality that uses the social features, e.g. you must add a rating to a document to prove you’ve read it, or add a daily timesheet using notes!

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