10 Reasons why SharePoint is not a File Server

sharepoint file server

Many companies are migrating to Office 365.   SharePoint Online is included with most subscriptions for free. Often, IT professionals are asked to evaluate moving their company file servers to SharePoint Online.  While SharePoint is great for collaborating on documents with teams inside or outside of the company, can it completely replace an on-premise file server for larger firms?

Here’s the list of the top 10 reasons we compiled on why SharePoint is not a file file server:

 

  1. Speed – Nothing can beat the speed of local network file server access. While Internet speeds are measured in Megabits, local network speeds are measured in Megabytes.  A local network connection is at least 10 times faster than any Internet connection.  For example, a fast 100 Mbp/s home Internet connection only equates to 12.2 MB/S.   In the office, networks are typically 1GB – a whopping 125 MB/s!!  For large files access, nothing beats a local area network connection.

 

  1. Simplicity – Users are trained to easily grab their files from a mapped drive. With SharePoint, files are stored in libraries that are accessed using a web-based interface. The interface looks nothing like Windows File Explorer.  Alternatively user can access file using the OneDrive for Business client which requires user training and  intervention to sync and to locate the shares they need.

 

  1. Storage Capacities – Even the smallest companies have easily terabytes of data. SharePoint Online has a 1TB limit on each library, a  5000 item display limit, a 15GB file size limit and a maximum 100,000 file sync limit.   Even if you did store this much data, or files this large, accessing them over the Internet may be unworkable (see Reason #1).

 

  1. Migration – Migrating to SharePoint from legacy file shares takes careful planning. All permissions must be manually recreated on the SharePoint sites along with equivalent folder structures.  File names on local shares allow special characters that are not allowed in SharePoint (#%&) that must all be renamed before migrating them.

 

  1. Backups and Disaster Recovery – With traditional file shares, they can easily be replicated to multiple sites, backed up and archived for compliance going back many years. With SharePoint, restoring old data involves multiple databases and entire SharePoint farms that may be no longer supported.   SharePoint Online only keeps the latest 90 days of deleted files – backups requires additional 3rd party subscription services that charge for ongoing backups and retrieval.
  1. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – Sharing files using traditional file shares can be deployed to users in minutes or made available using VPN or SSL VPN products like MyWorkDrive.com with a simple File Explorer-type web page. With SharePoint Online deployments are complex, data is scattered across libraries and scripting tools and services come with high price tags.  Users must also be trained on how to share and access data.  This all leads to additional IT support and training costs.

 

  1. Ownership of Data – Many firms have compliance regulations preventing them from moving files to the Cloud or legal concerns as to who has access to their company data. Moving data to Sharepoint Online requires careful compliance and legal review.

 

  1. Fragility – SharePoint systems are complicated and fragile.  Any Windows update can take down the entire SharePoint farm.  File Servers and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are dead simple to manage, patch and restore in an emergency.  Even with Sharepoint Online, syncing issues on a single PC can corrupt or remove data across multiple users.

 

  1. File Locking – Databases, Engineering CAD files and Accounting applications are designed to run locally at Gigabit speeds and have the ability to lock files in a multi-user network environment. These types of files cannot be stored or accessed using SharePoint.

 

  1. Archiving – Traditional file shares can be easily encrypted and stored offsite indefinitely, then easily restored at any time in the future regardless of any technology changes. With SharePoint, entire systems must be restored, or with SharePoint Online additional archiving services must be purchased and paid for perpetually which store SharePoint into long-term archives leading to additional support and subscription costs.

 

Bottom line – SharePoint is not a file server, it’s a collaboration portal.  Microsoft has a great support article here on this topic and they recently released File Share Syncing to Azure at the 2017 Ignite Conference (see our earlier blog article here) which makes it clear Microsoft will be supporting File Servers for many years into the future.

With MyWorkDrive our customers get the best of both worlds, local file access and secure remote access with cloud features – learn more..

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Microsoft Azure File Share Sync – seamlessly extend file services across servers and cloud storage

Microsoft announced the public preview of Azure File Share Sync at it’s 2017 Ignite Conference.  This technology extends file services from on-premise to Cloud Storage on Azure File Shares and across windows servers in multi locations.   Microsoft engineers interviewed customers and confirmed that Windows File Shares are still in use for a multitude of reasons.    The customer pain points identified include speed of access, control of data and large storage capacities.   Azure File Share Sync addresses these concerns.

Watch the Microsoft Ignite Session Herecloud storage

Some of the key features and include:

  • Bi-Directional Sync – from Windows Server to Azure Cloud Storage with write back capabilities
  • Multi-Site Sync – Sync a share across multiple Windows Servers through Azure File Shares to Cloud Storage with the ability to cache and edit data in real time at each site.
  • Backup of Azure File Shares to Azure Backup
  • Tiering of data – set the maximum data storage capacities for each Windows server and only replicate the most recent data to each server with the balance stored in Azure File Shares in the cloud.

The MyWorkDrive team is very excited about this announcement as it will give our customers the ability to setup a MyWorkDrive server in Azure, sync files to it and use it access file shares remotely or during a disaster.   Using MyWorkDrive, windows file shares can be accessed from any location worldwide over https (Azure File Sharing  only supports access over smb port 445 which is typically blocked from most remote locations).

This technology also provides a seamless way for MyWorkDrive customers to migrate their servers completely to Azure Cloud Storage and remove them from on-premise entirely utilizing MyWorkDrive to map drives or access them using our Web File Manager.