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:
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:
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.
- Build Your Own Solution
- Use Third Party Tools
When moving data to SharePoint, there are a few things to keep in mind that might affect the data.
SharePoint does not allow certain characters as names for objects. See Microsoft KB 905231 for more information.
The original date and time of the document are not carried over to SharePoint when it is copied from a file server.
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.
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.
Thanks for the great information. Our SP 2013 farm is on main location for head quarter users and 8 Branch Offices. 7 offices has around 200 - 300 users. One office has around 2500 users. 7 offices are connected to 45 Mbps Wan link and 1 office is connected to 200 Mbps. (2500 users) Our file size is around 5 MB to 50 MB office files/pdfs. Our main concern is the performance impact for remote users because they are using local file servers for their file servers. If we are migrating their file servers to Main SP2013 farm, it will be slower. Right?
Don, Yes the speed will be definitely be slower (comparing a WAN link to direct local LAN) of course. But what Microsoft is basically saying is that they tried to design SP2013 in such a way where performance is still acceptable when used over a WAN with features like minimal download strategy, versioning, etc. I would strongly encourage you to do some testing to really see if it will be feasible based on your file sizes and types. It might get more problematic when trying to use Office web apps in live search results (with preview), or co-authoring. 50meg documents are fairly large documents and might be tough to work effectively over a WAN, but again, mileage varies and the best way to tell is test (one of the articles I provided gives guidance here). Another option to consider of how these files are used, and in what business processes. Are they used as part of approval or other processes, where others need access? Are they critical business documents that could highly benefit from features like check out, versioning, workflow, etc.? Do other users in other locations need access to these documents? It comes down to what's the more important business driver, that users can access files quickly, or that they are available to everyone in SharePoint, part of search, are backed up with SharePoint and can be used in business processes? Also, is there a way to reduce the size of these documents? I don't know, maybe, but something to look into. Do they HAVE to be PDFs? There are also ways to solve this at the network layer with WAN optimizers as well. Ideally this issue should be 1 part of your governance strategy of how local and remote users use SharePoint. There are also disaster recovery implications here as well. What if SharePoint goes down? Can the branches operate properly? For how long? Your WAN performance I think will ultimately dictate your mitigating actions here. I hope this gives you some things to think about as you move forward with this. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you need more formal assistance. Doug
Great information, I got good details related to migrate data from files shares or their Document Management System over to SharePoint Online. I found really good information regarding to this topic from http://www.lepide.com/lepidemigratordocuments/ . This software allows to migrate data from file server and public folder to SharePoint2013 with emails, notes contacts, calendars, files and folders etc.
Thanks for the great info. What also do I need to consider for slow WAN link to connect to Centralized SP2013 Farm after the migration file servers to SP? We have local file server for each branch office. If we migrate this to main SP2013 farm. The user needs to access their file thru WAN to SP Farm. Any input?
Don, That's a loaded question and depends on the environment, but I'll do my best to give you a little direction. As I mentioned above, I don't think SharePoint will ever completely replace a file server, but definitely there are many benefits to having documents in SharePoint. It doesn't sound like it, but do you have a SharePoint farm per location, or just one main location? Specific to WAN performance, Microsoft claims that they made SharePoint 2013 to work a lot better over WAN connections, from TechNet: "SharePoint 2013 is optimized to perform well over WAN connections." I recommend you check out the following resources: SharePoint 2013 WAN case studies: - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh206325(v=office.15).aspx Testing WAN connections in SP2013 infrastructure - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh206322(v=office.15).aspx Global architectures in SP2013 - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg441255(v=office.15).aspx If you have rather robust requirements, you can also check out 3rd-party tools like Metalogix Replication: http://www.metalogix.com/How-We-Help-You/Use-Cases/SharePoint-Geo-Synchronization.aspx Hope it helps! Doug
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