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Quick and dirty test results: Active Directory Import versus User Profile Synchronization

Print | posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 1:12 PM

One of the most common questions I get regarding the Active Directory Import mode in the SharePoint 2013 User Profile Service is "just how quick is it?" As previously detailed Active Directory Import (ADI) is very fast, especially in comparison to User Profile Synchronization (UPS). But saying it is quick doesn't really mean anything. Each time I present on the topic, the question comes up, "do you have any numbers".

Sadly it's still early, too early, to provide real, solid proven numbers across a range of deployments. In lieu of such appropriate data I put together a very quick and dirty test to give you an idea of the speed of ADI versus UPS.

This simple test used the same machines to perform an import 23,362 user profiles, using the default user profile property mappings using sample attributes in Active Directory (not all attributes mapped were populated). In addition, one of the mapped properties wrote to the Job Title Term Set. No connection filters were used.

No database tuning, or other additional configuration was performed to improve the import time. All settings for both ADI and UPS were left at their default configuration. The tests were performed using a 4Gb single CPU Domain Controller, a 6Gb two CPU SQL Server and a 16Gb four CPU SharePoint Server. All machines run Windows Server 2012 as the host operating system.

Here are the results:


Full Sync Time

Active Directory Import (ADI)

34 minutes

User Profile Synchronization (UPS)

50 minutes


A 68% difference. Pretty conclusive.

Of course these numbers are not representative of a real deployment, as there were no groups imported. Group processing is one of the biggest influencers of sync time. In a real world AD there would be a number of groups, and of course their membership would vary.

Nether the less, this quick and dirty test gives you an indication of the key benefit of Active Directory Import in SharePoint 2013. It's Usain Bolt, by a mile.