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SharePoint 2013 Snippets: Shredded Storage

SharePoint 2013 Snippets: Shredded Storage

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I’ve been spending this week learning about SharePoint 2013 on the Ignite training. Partly in an effort to get this knowledge to stick in my brain, I’m going to be writing a series of blog posts on some of the topics covered that struck me as particularly interesting or significant. This is by no means a definitive list of changes.

First on my list to talk about is shredded storage. This is essentially a way for SharePoint to break documents into chunks in order to make changing documents more efficient and to reduce storage requirements where you have lots of versions of documents.

How it worked with 2010:

In SharePoint Server 2010, if you uploaded a document to SharePoint, that entire document would get stored in the content database. If you wanted make edits, you would open that document, make your changes and then save back to SharePoint. SharePoint would put the entire document into the content database – even if you only changed one typo. This means quite a lot of network traffic if documents are large. It also means that if you have version control turned on that you’re saving lots of copies of the document.

How it works with 2013:

In SharePoint 2013, large documents are broken into multiple smaller chunks, i.e. the document has been “shredded.” If you make a small change to the document, only those chunks that have changed get written back to the storage. This reduces the amount of network traffic between the SharePoint Web Front End and the database server. It also means that when you have multiple versions, those pieces of the document that are unchanged between versions can be reused – reducing your storage requirements.

The idea of this is to make the size of versions equal to the size of the change, not the size of the original document. The upshot is improved performance when there is a lot of editing activity and reduced storage when you’re using versioning.

If you want more information, check out Bill Baer's post on the subject.

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  • Hi Jessica.  I did a few tests comparing the 2013 to older versions of SharePoint.  Specifically, when you make changes to only the metadata and you have versioning turned on in the Document Library Settings, the differences are incredible: talbottcrowell.wordpress.com/.../sharepoint-2013-shredded-storage-test-results

  • I wish there was a better way than storing the documents in the content database. Pointing to a shared storage location would be a lot nicer... as in, SharePoint completely separating content from attachments somehow... automagically. That would make exporting sites and backing up the databases, ect. so much faster.

    -Misty