Recently there has been a lot of buzz related to the new Shredded Storage feature in SharePoint 2013 – especially related to Remote BLOB Storage or RBS. Over the next week, I will be posting a series of blogs related to Shredded Storage and some tests we performed internally to better understand its value and see how much storage can be saved by leveraging this new functionality.
Part 1: Introduction to Shredded Storage in SharePoint 2013
Part 2: How Does Shredded Storage Actually Effect Storage
Part 3: Can I Take Advantage of Shredded Storage When Upgrading?
Part 4: Can I Take Advantage of Shredded Storage if I use Database Attach? (Conclusion)
Still want to know more about our Shredded Storage tests? The numbers for my second blog were very exciting for new content, but you may be asking yourself what about all my GBs/TBs of existing SharePoint 2010 content. Won’t that still take up the same amount of space? How can I get that into 2013 and will it be “shredded”?
In order to properly answer these questions, we need to review the supported methods of getting your content into SharePoint 2013.
- In-place upgrades
- Database Attach (Backup/Restore)
- Third party migration tools
In-place upgrades are no longer supported in SharePoint 2013, so we can cross that off our list. The next option is Database Attach and this is probably the most commonly used method. This process requires the construction of a new SharePoint farm specifically for 2013; detaching or backing up your 2010 databases; moving them to the new farm; and re-attaching or restoring them to 2013. An oversimplified explanation, yes, but that is the basic process. For a more detailed description, you can download Microsoft’s “SharePoint 2013 Upgrade Process” from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30371.
You might be thinking…that earlier I said that Shredded Storage only works with new content. Isn’t this database backup method only restoring my existing data? The answer is emphatically, YES. Since SharePoint does not consider this content new, it is not processed and therefore left ‘un-shredded’. Your 100GBs of content in SharePoint 2010 will take up the same 100GBs (give or take) in 2013. You will only start to reap the benefits of Shredded Storage when users start adding new content OR modifying some of that 100GBs upgraded data. New versions and modifications of this content will be shredded.
To illustrate this point, let’s go back to the testing and proceed with:
Test 2: Database Backup/Restore
First, I need to backup a 2010 Content Database and then restore it to 2013.
With that done, now I can “Mount” it to one of my existing SharePoint 2013 Web App (:27858).
Database Successfully Mounted
Content Database Attached to Web App
As seen in Central Admin, it is now available in my SharePoint 2013 Web App. The option to update the User Experience which was not performed for these tests.
Accessed in SharePoint 2013
With that process complete, we can examine the baseline size of each database in SQL. First is the SharePoint 2010 WSS_Content_SP2010 which was used for back up and then the SharePoint 2013 which was restored, mounted and accessed:
SharePoint 2010 Data Space Used (KB)
SharePoint 2013 Data Space Used (KB)
A few extra MBs of space were added during the upgrade process, but as clearly illustrated the content contained within this database (10MB PowerPoint with 10 versions) was not shredded. This emphasizes the point that upgraded content databases are not shredded when mounted on a 2013 Web App.
I logged back into the updated 2013 site and began modifying my PowerPoint file. I proceeded to add 5 additional versions to the file, each one consisting of a simple change to the metadata. Here is the resulting database after 15 versions of the file were created.
Data Space Used after 15 Versions
The first new version in SharePoint 2013 (Version 11.0 in Figure 8) adds 10MB of space to the database, but subsequent versions consume only about 50KB each (as shredding is utilized). Overall, an approximate 11MB increase rather than the 50MB you would have observed in SharePoint 2010 running the same test. This is great news for those that plan ahead and allocate enough space to accommodate their 2010 databases.
You might ask –What about that initial 125MBs, can that also be shredded? The answer is, Yes it can! We will cover that process in more detail a little later.
The final option to upgrade your SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 is to use a third party migration tool. I won’t get into the Pros and Cons of using a migration tool vs. a database restore (that is definitely a topic for another day). What I do want to stress here are the benefits you can achieve from the Shredded Storage feature during migration. Using a migration tool, SharePoint 2013 treats all content as new content. This means it is immediately shredded reducing the overall database size. Again you might be saying “Really?! Is that true?” Yes. If you don’t want to take my word on it (I don’t blame you), let’s once again go look to the numbers.
Test 3: Migrating from SharePoint 2010 to 2013
For this test, I created similar 2010 and 2013 environments:
- A single Web Application using default settings
- A single root site collection using the Team Site Template
- A single, empty document library with versions enabled, a custom text column and a modified view
To establish a base line, I am going to migrate just the content during this test (again my PowerPoint file with 5 versions), but I could have just as easily migrated the entire site collection and received similar results.
To illustrate the impact of Shredded Storage, I migrated the same content into another SharePoint 2010 site collection:
SharePoint 2010 Space Usage after Migration
As expected there was a 50+ MB increase in size. And now, here is how the SharePoint 2013 Database Space increased during the same test:
SharePoint 2013 Space Usage after Migration
Impressive, right? What used to take over a 50MB, now takes as little as 15MB. Once content is migrated into SharePoint 2013, the content is shredded immediately leading to a significant decrease in storage and increase in efficiency from Day One! That can be a huge savings if you extrapolate that over your many GBs/TBs of SharePoint content.
To conclude this blog post, it is evident that regardless of which method you take, Shredded Storage in SharePoint 2013 has a positive impact on your storage requirements. With the database method, the impact will be felt gradually as your SharePoint 2013 content grows with use, while the migration path will provide the same positive impact immediately.
Check back on Monday for my final post in this series where I examine how you can take advantage of Shredded Storage if you use a database attached method using MetaVis Migrator.