I attended a Microsoft/Metalogix Webinar yesterday which talked about SharePoint BLOB remoting. The basic theme was about how to reduce SharePoint storage costs using their StoragePoint product. It was an education session as well as a sales pitch for Metalogix but I have to say that it was informative, interesting and really useful. My notes from the Webinar are below. Note that these are not necessarily my opinions but what was presented in the Webex.
Metalogix Software are a software house employing about 100 people. They have been in business for 10 years having been founded in Vancouver, Canada. They recently bought BlueThread, the company that developed StoragePoint. Their focus is on developing solutions for Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange and tools for the migration of content. The StoragePoint product is designed to manage content once it has been added to SharePoint via traditional means.
They started off by discussing why anyone would choose SharePoint and basically they said that no other ECM platform offers as much out of the box (OOTB).
Why some think that SharePoint is not an option
Some companies think that SharePoint is not an option because:
- It is not suitable for large scale document management scenarios
- Database restore and Disaster Recovery timeframes for content Databases are too high (StoragePoint addresses this)
- Regulatory compliance
- Having to store everything on expensive Tier 1 storage (StoragePoint addresses this)
- You can’t put more than 100GB in a content DB (StoragePoint addresses this)
Why use BLOB Remoting?
(i.e. why store BLOBs outside of the Database)?
On average 90-95% of Content Database storage is taken up by BLOBs.
e.g. 1Terrabyte of content = 950 Gigabytes of BLOB storage – so taking out BLOBs will reduce the DB to 5oGB.
Other key benefits of a product such as StoragePoint are:
- BLOBs can be stored on less-expensive storage
- SQL no longer burdened with inefficient BLOB Input/Output
- Smaller and fewer Content Databases
- Can use better backup techniques such as filesystem “snapshot-ing” for BLOB stores
- BLOBS can be remoted to WORM storage
- Content can be moved through its lifecycle to less expensive storage
- DB sizing is less relevant as they can reduce the size by 95%
- It is faster on document upload and retrieval
- It is substantially faster for large (>100MB) content and bulk operations
- Content can be compressed or de-duplicated
- Content can be encrypted
- You can implement multi-tiered content storage
- It Increases the upgrade speed from 2007 to 2010. This is because the upgrade does a reorganisation of the DB tables that manage the BLOBS. One example client upgraded with and without StoragePoint – It took 9 hours without it and 20 minutes with StoragePoint – a big difference!
Example Client – Chesapeake Energy – Their 442GB Content DB was reduced to less than 14GB. Index crawl went from over 24 hours to less than 5 hours. Big increases in speed for large file uploads/retrievals.
There are 2 supported mechanisms for remote BLOBs
1. SharePoint EBS – This is a SharePoint 2007 technology – based on the COM object model – Has a farm-wide scope – Is an old version and is being phased out. No orphaned BLOB garbage collection.
2. SQL RBS – Used by SharePoint 2010 onwards – based on .NET – this is a SQL technology that SharePoint connects to and works at the Content DB level. Has orphaned BLOB garbage collection
There are other legacy solutions on the market using Stubs or HTML redirects. They are not supported methods.
RBS has to collect to a FileStream Provider to work.
- RBS FileStream Provider: This is a free download for SharePoint 2010 – is limited as you can only store BLOBs on local storage devices i.e. the hard disk of the SQL Server.
- Entry Level EBS/RBS Solutions: Third party, don’t typically support tiered storage
- Storage Appliances – have to add new hardware, proprietary black box solution.
- Archiving and RM Solutions – these are unsupported by Microsoft.
So Why StoragePoint?
- Supports SharePoint 2007 and 2010 – EBS and RBS
- Administration is done through the SharePoint Central Admin console
- EndPoints are storage locations e.g. a hard disk, Windows Azure… You can have any number of EndPoints.
- Provides archiving, tiered storage/HSM
- Cloud storage platform support e.g. Azure
- Has intelligent EndPoint Management (Example 1: If Disk A fills up it moves to Disk B – Example 2: Network access to storage may be down so switches intelligently to secondary storage)
- It is the leading product in this space
- Files can be written synchornously or asynchronously, the latter being useful to prevent latency when writing to the Cloud.
- You can set rules e.g. files > x KB keep on premise, files smaller than x KB store on Cloud. You can select an EndPoint by type e.g. PDF or by scope e.g. a content type within a site collection.
- The structure of the EndPoint can mimic the SharePoint folder structure when using the asynch method
- StoragePoint Archiving Rules – moves Blob from Tier x to Tier Y e.g. Invoice Date + 3 years…
- The archiving rules can be done by Admin or delegated to business users via standard Information Policy settings
The product is now on version 3, for more information visit their website – www.storagepoint.com
They have a useful tool called BLOBulator which scans your content DB and tells you how much space you will save if using StoragePoint.
They then performed a demo of the tool which was well integrated, easy to use and worked! There are other tools out there and this WebEx was focused on StoragePoint but overall it looks a good product.