Hi. I'm Kirk Stark, a writer on the SharePoint IT Pro UA team.

A new tool that was released with version 2.0 of the SharePoint Administration Toolkit for Office SharePoint 2007 is the User Profile Replication Engine (RE), which permits a Shared Services Provider administrator the ability to replicate user profile data between Shared Services Providers (SSP).

While the basic functionality has been documented on TechNet, we wanted to include an example of how a company might implement the RE specifically. The following is a case study on how a fictional company, Contoso, might implement the User Profile Replication Engine in its corporate environment.

Let’s say Contoso has offices in New York, Hong Kong, and London. In geographically dispersed deployment scenarios, Shared Services Provider (SSP) services isolations become a deterrent to personalization and using such associated services as User Profiles and Audiences to their full potential. The User Profile Replication Engine solves these problems by maintaining consistent user profile data throughout the complete SharePoint ecosystem, including geo deployments. The Replication Engine does multi-master data replication from one source to multiple destinations in the form of a full or incremental synchronization using MOSS Web services for the User Profile and User Profile Change services.

The Web services are used to pull the data (all profile data or just the changes) from a source SSP and immediately push/write the data to other SSPs on behalf of the user or User Profile service. This data includes profile property data, user colleague data, site membership data, user links data, and the associated privacy policy attached to the data. The Replication Engine can synchronize data as a scheduled service or through manual initiation. Data can be pulled and pushed for all users or just a subset of users, as well as all data or a subset of data. The data is then used to keep the User Profile, Audiences, and People Search services accurate and up-to-date. 

Using this solution an organization can host the user’s My Site environment in the geographical region of the user (such as New York), allowing the user to profile himself or herself locally and have that data replicated to all other regions (London and Hong Kong). This allows services in those regions to use a local copy of that data for their services. Particular service consumption is People Search, which needs a local copy for indexing. With this solution, an organization can host People Search in the main region (New York) while serving up data from all regions, creating a seamless user experience including accurate social distance grouping. This same seamless user experience also transfers to other services, such as My Sites and Audiences.

This solution can also be used to assist with centralized user profile data management, managing user data across a multi-division organization, or as a deployment or test tool used to populate data from a production environment to a test/development or backup environment for data recovery.

Profile Feed Management and Geo Replication: Overview


Purpose:

·         Extend the reach of enterprise people data.

·         Keep Office SharePoint 2007 profile data across three worldwide regions consistent for People Search and Audiences targeting.

·         One location (New York) has a feedstore that is not available in the other two regions.

 

Profile Feed Management


The following diagram explains how a user would import and configure Business Data Catalog (BDC) profiles.

 

Details:

·         A system hosting external user related data is at the backend.

·         Fed into Office SharePoint Server profile database using the BDC with Application Definition files.

·         Feed data complements User-entered data and Active Directory data.

Best practices for feed management:

·         Optimize the data retrieval, such as SQL queries, in your Application Definition file.

Geo Replication

·         The job of the Replication Engine is to replicate from one source to one or more destinations. Geo replication keeps Office SharePoint Server People Search and Audiences consistent across regions.

·         The RE keeps profile database in synch so all users have a consistent people search experience and consistent data are available to regional admins for content targeting.

·         Enable global deployment under My Site settings in the SSP.

·         New York RE is configured to replicate Feed and User supplied data for all users.

·         Hong Kong RE is configured to replicate User supplied data from Hong Kong users.

·         London RE is configured to replicate User supplied data from London users.

In the following diagram, the Contoso solution has the Trusted My Sites Host Locations lists in each SSP configured and has the current SSP in the first position because the lists are interrogated from the top down, with each being asked, “Does this user belong to you?”

 

Best practices for geo replication:

·         Robust error logging to be trapped by Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM).

·         Implement Instrumentation.

Overall benefits:

·         Centralized People Search experience.

·         Reduced WAN traffic over the ocean for BDC imports.

·         Seamless My Site experience for users.

Thanks to PM Greg Mattox for his help with this post, and as always, we welcome your comments and suggestions, especially if such examples as this are helpful.