SharePoint 2013 makes great advances in data storage with its new “shredded storage” feature, which helps slow storage growth from file versions. Yet those file BLOBs are still stored in SQL Server, exacerbating SharePoint performance demands.

What is shredded storage?

Shredded Storage in brief can be viewed as an extension of the MS-FSSHTTP work to provide more efficient transfer of files between client and server. Shredded Storage, effectively distributes a single BLOB, or monolithic stream, across multiple partitions.  When a user updates a file, only the partition that corresponds to the change is updated.  The net result is smoother IO patterns, and more efficient utilization of storage when using historical version.

Why do we need it?

All the trends in SharePoint storage, collaboration and clients add up to more storage demands on SQL content databases.  And we know SQL content databases, out of the box, work best at smaller sizes.    

But we know you want to empower users with rich content and collaboration experiences, and that usually means more storage.  Remote BLOB Storage, or RBS, lets you shift your content BLOBs (binary large objects) outside of SQL to file systems, SANs, or NAS devices.  At Dell Software, our shredded storage compatible RBS solution, Storage Maximizer for SharePoint, helps you manage RBS with an easy rules-based engine to identify content to move outside SQL.

What are the best practices for configuring SharePoint shredded storage with/without RBS enabled?

Shredded storage and RBS together give you more options for performance tuning your storage subsystems.  We’ve been conducting extensive research in our Dell laboratory on SharePoint 2013 storage performance with shredded storage and RBS turned on and off.  As a note, for those on SharePoint 2010, we conducted testing that show RBS boosting file throughput over 50%.

For our tests, we ran file uploads and downloads across a broad range of file sizes using a Dell Software internal performance metrics generator. A performance metrics generator uploads and downloads small, medium and large files to a SharePoint 2013 site by varying the shred size and minimum RBS size, and then records the time taken to perform each operation. Our mid-level results are noted below:

  •  Best upload performance, small files, shred size: 1250K
  • Best upload performance, medium files, shred size: 1250K
  • Best upload performance, large files, shred size: 1250K
  • Best download performance, small files, shred size: >1250K
  • Best download performance, medium files, shred size: >1024K
  • Best download performance, large files, shred size: >1024K
  • Best upload performance, small files, RBS minimum externalized size: 1024-2048K
  • Best upload performance, medium files, RBS minimum externalized size: 250- 2048K
  • Best upload performance, large files, RBS minimum externalized size: 1024K
  • Best download performance, small files, RBS minimum externalized size: >500K
  • Best download performance, medium files, RBS minimum externalized size: 1024- 2048K
  • Best download performance, large files, RBS minimum externalized size: 2048K

It should be noted that these numbers will vary from one environment to another. Different hardware environments could give different results. On the whole we found that a shred size of around 1250 KB and minimum RBS size of around 1MB gives better performance results.

Get your hands on the full published Dell Software research and recommendations on ideal shred and blob sizes for optimum performance in this technical brief.

We’re continuing our research into innovative new technologies to enhance SharePoint 2013.  We look forward to helping you transform your SharePoint.