One of the common questions we hear from customers is how much load does Site Administrator puts on SharePoint. This is not surprising considering the number and the depth of reports that are available in the Information Portal. Remember also that Information Portal can be open to the site and site collection owners, so the concerns can be completely understood.
However, tests and deployments in various customer environments show that Site Administrator Information Portal does not have noticeable impact on SharePoint or SQL servers. The reason is that Information Portal is designed to always use the lowest priorities when it collects data for reports in SharePoint or SQL. That is, even if there is a resource usage peak or a potential conflict, we will always give way to SharePoint processes. In rare occasions this means that report may take longer time to come back or shows an error in place of some data, but a simple refresh of the web page will usually make the trick.
What about the business content owners, what happens if all of them decide to look at the reports at the same time? Well, one of our large customers did load testing of Information Portal for simultaneous access of about 800-1000 simulated user connections. That is, hundreds of users requesting reports at exact same second! I am not really sure what are the chances of this ever happening in real life, nevertheless this was the test case. Imagine all of these reports are retrieving data from hundreds of sites in the SharePoint 2010 farm, what would you expect?
During this load test, we were monitoring performance of both SharePoint and Information Portal under this load. The exercise confirmed that even if Information Portal itself starts to experience delays or errors due to high load, there is no noticeable impact on SharePoint pages performance. Note, in this particular case we are load balancing Information Portal among 4 instances on the SharePoint front end servers to let it scale up. Also, numbers and capacity obviously depend a lot on the servers and network in the environment. The extend to which Site Administrator can scale without extra configuration tuning may be different in each case and scenario.
We here at Quest understand that SharePoint farm performance and availability are becoming critical for more and more organizations. We know that while reporting is important and must be there when you need it, it should never be distracting any of the SharePoint activity, and this is one of the design principles for Site Administrator for SharePoint.