2014-28-July-Conductor.jpgSharePoint is complex. With increased SharePoint adoption comes a number of IT challenges -- more users, more content and increased mission-criticality. Yet managing and maintaining a high-performance environment doesn’t require a costly or complex solution. Staying ahead of a rapidly evolving SharePoint environment requires a commitment to success, backed by proactive and thoughtful goal-setting, testing and measuring.

Consider your own SharePoint environment. How much money could you save on annual SQL licenses and SAN maintenance costs if you were able to reduce Binary Large Object (BLOB) content by 98 percent? You can easily achieve this by streamlining SharePoint SQL database use and moving it to a less-costly network-attached storage (NAS) or cloud storage environment.

Cost is just one benefit to be gained from taking control of your SharePoint environment. Other gains include enhanced performance, fast and secure backup and recoverability, simplified management, and ongoing insights into SharePoint behavior.

Let’s break the benefits down into four key areas and how to improve them.

1. Performance

Most performance gains achieved from taking a proactive approach to SharePoint management come from a few key vectors: document upload speed, download speed and content discoverability. Basically, this is how users gauge whether SharePoint is working or not.

Most organizations use SharePoint to manipulate documents -- opening, downloading, saving and uploading. Database access can limit performance significantly. Weighed down by large content files, bloated databases slow search and file upload and download speeds.

How do you tackle this?

There are two different approaches to increasing SharePoint performance. The first centers around the age old technique of “throw more hardware at it.” This can work and even show significant gains but additional hardware also precipitates additional database licenses, complexity and sprawl. The cost versus benefit of this approach is severely limited. Organizations need to approach this in a more intelligent way.

If the underlying performance issue is a bloated content database, then reducing that bloat by moving unstructured files (aka “BLOBs”) out of SharePoint can result in big performance gains. This approach can double effective upload and download speeds by using Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) to externalize data. A secondary benefit of this technique is that it dramatically speeds up full index crawls, thus improving content discoverability for users. RBS allows processes to completely bypass SQL and thus drastically improve BLOB input and output.

2. Backup and Recoverability

SharePoint backup speed is directly tied to the size of databases, in particular, SQL Server databases.