Use SharePoint Storage Wisely: Externalize Blobs

May 26, 2011

SQL Server is a high-performing resource manager for structured data. It provides an exceptional data management environment and an efficient SQL query engine. However, when it comes to large binary data streams, such as the ones that flow from SharePoint, it no longer remains a viable option to act as SharePoint BLOB Storage. A large proportion of content in a typical enterprise deployment of SharePoint is stored as binary data streams or BLOBs. However, SQL Server having not been designed to handle a heavy payload of unstructured data, a number of problems occur consequently.

So how to manage SharePoint Storage if SQL Server is not the right place to keep SharePoint’s unstructured data? The answer is StorageEdge. It takes care of the SharePoint storage by handling all BLOB management issues from within SharePoint; primarily it lets you use your storage options wisely, by externalizing the BLOB content out of SQL Server’s content database.

SharePoint Storage Problems and StorageEdge Solutions:

1: Large Database is unmanageable

As the database size grows, SQL Server performance degrades considerably which results in a poorly-responsive SharePoint environment. As a best practice, it is absolutely not recommended for a single SQL data file size to exceed 200 GB. Whereas your SharePoint infrastructure may have content in hundreds of GBs and it might eventually run into TBs, the content database of SharePoint no longer remains a viable option as multiple data files shall have to be created.

StorageEdge dramatically reduces database size (up to 90%) and the transaction load by externalizing the SharePoint BLOB content on SAN/NAS Storage. This frees up the database resources and as a result the SharePoint application performance improves. There are many other additional benefits that StorageEdge gives along with BLOB externalization see this .

2: Save Cost on expensive Storage

Externalizing BLOBs to an external media is the best option to consider for an optimized SharePoint storage environment. StorageEdge provides you with enterprise-grade providers for EBS and RBS to shift your BLOB content to an inexpensive storage media such as SAN, NAS, or Cloud.

Manage SharePoint Storage using StorageEdge Storage Providers

Figure 1 : Manage SharePoint Storage using StorageEdge Storage Providers

3: SQL Server Performance:

: Further, the BLOBs cannot make the best use of the indexing and querying capabilities of SQL Server because unstructured binary data does not expose itself to the rich SQL query environment. Store and retrieve operations for BLOBs are more than simple get and put. Therefore, its value as a BLOB store is limited. StorageEdge lets you manage BLOBs outside of SQL Server hence no performance bottlenecks for your SharePoint applications. Moreover, StorageEdge keeps your externalized content and content metadata in a completely synchronized state.

4: SharePoint Archiving:

In the presence of large amounts of binary data in SQL Server, backup and restore operations become tedious and too time consuming. Ideally, the primary storage should only be use for transactional content and historically large binary content should be stored in inexpensive storage media. StorageEdge lets you archive SharePoint content, based on various policies, to cheaper storage tiers and allows you to save storage costs. You can even choose Cloud as a cheapest medium for storing SharePoint archived content.

In a nutshell, externalizing BLOBs from SharePoint is not an option; rather it is a necessity for the best use of your SharePoint storage and for SharePoint deployment to perform. StorageEdge lets you achieve that with an absolute ease.


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