SharePoint Data Outside SQL – Is This Real?

April 14, 2008

It’s been over half a year since Microsoft announced WSS v3 hotfix that allows to store SharePoint data outside SQL Server with a KB article that Todd Carter called one of the worst articles he had seen. And last week Adam Woodruff also published results of his research about keeping SharePoint files outside SQL database. This hotfix basically exposes an API for anyone who cares to develop a solution themselves.

Both Todd’s and Adam’s posts make me think that SharePoint data on external storage is still only a theoretical possibility rather than something real. The API is not guaranteed to be supported, and has several challenges. I wonder if anyone actually created a provider based on the API yet, I could not find any reference.

The biggest issue from my perspective is the API does not have a built-in mechanism to guarantee consistent backups. A backup tool for such deployment would have to be smart enough and consider different parts of the same object are stored in different places (e.g., hierarchy and metadata in SQL and the file itself on external storage).

BTW, with this entry Adam started his blog finally – after I teased him in the recent post about our new SharePoint recovery white paper. Adding the link to my blogroll and hope to see more exciting stuff there!

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