One of SharePoint’s popular features is Document Management, which leads many organizations to migrate their data from files shares or their Document Management System over to SharePoint.  Is this best practice?  Let’s not be hasty, and look at the various things to consider on both sides of the coin.

When to Store in SharePoint

You should use SharePoint for dynamic documents, documents used for collaboration and easily organized data like:


  • Customer related information
  • Projects
  • Tasks
  • Processes and Procedures
  • Need ability to have versioning, auditing or retention policies
  • Provide search extensibility on documents for easier finding or navigation


When to Keep File Shares

There are certain types of files that SharePoint was not designed to store, and should be kept in traditional file shares:


  • Large files (SharePoint’s limit is 2gb, but anything over 200meg is typically not a good idea)
  • Software Distribution Packages (Microsoft SMS)
  • Databases and related files (.mdb, .pst, .ost, etc.)
  • Backup files (.bkf and others)
  • Audio/Video (this is not so true with SharePoint 2010, as it has tremendous improvements and supportability for these types of files
  • Developer Source Controls
  • Executables, scripts, program files, etc.
  • Cost


Moving from File Shares to SharePoint

When do you need to move data from file shares, there are a few different ways to migrate your data to SharePoint.

 - Manually

  • This is a lot of work
  • Suited for smaller migrations
  • In SharePoint, use Upload, Upload Multiple, or Drag-and-Drop (Explorer view or mapped drive to SharePoint).  Note – drag-and-drop does not maintain version history or metadata.  This should only be used to initially move your data into SharePoint.


- Build Your Own Solution

  • PowerShell
  • .Net application


- Use Third Party Tools



When moving data to SharePoint, there are a few things to keep in mind that might affect the data.


  • Length Restrictions
Entity Max Permissible Size
Site Name 128 characters
Site URL 255 characters
Display name 128 characters


  • Character Restrictions

SharePoint does not allow certain characters as names for objects.  See Microsoft KB 905231 for more information.


  • Date/Time

The original date and time of the document are not carried over to SharePoint when it is copied from a file server.


  • File Sizes

We would recommend a document size of between 50 – 100 MB on average, up to possibly 150 MB if the files will be delivered externally.  If they will used exclusively on an internal LAN, this could increase to 200-500 MB per document.  SharePoint’s limit for a file size is 2 GB.  To configure file sizes beyond the 50 MB default, please see Microsoft KB article 925083.


Other Resources

We would also recommend the section on this topic in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Best Practices book, starting on page 199 in the Document Management chapter.