This is the conclusion to a series of articles that discuss the benefits of Moving Content out of SQL Server. Pairing SQL Server with a file system, with an archive, with a traditional ECM solution and not putting it in SharePoint in the first place.
Not surprisingly, the conclusion is that there are a number of different options when it comes to how to externalize content from SQL Server, the more functionality you want the more complex and expensive the solutions become…no surprise there then, I guess if the cheapest solution gave you the most functionality then I’d be wasting my time writing this.
In summary, the options are…
- Dump the unstructured content on to the local file system from SQL Server - this gets the content out of SharePoint and relieves any SQL Server bloat related issues but you do not get any additional value out of the practice.
- Externalize all content types and store them in an archive alongside your other archived content - as well as solving the SQL bloat issues this adds significant value with common policy management, long term archiving and retention/disposition/litigation support on the archived content.
- Store unstructured content in your ECM system alongside your existing content – fixes SQL bloat; provides policy enforcement, long term archiving and compliance management plus the ability to re-purpose and reuse the content. Also gives you a natural integration point in to other enterprise information systems
- Leave the content in the ECM system and use SharePoint as a portal – excellent solution for accessing existing ECM content and processes but doesn’t really leverage SharePoint’s native capabilities.
An interesting question is, “How many of these will still exist in 5 years time?” I’ll stick my neck out here and suggest that only the first will no longer be around in 2014. My rationale is that #1 solves an issue caused by a questionable architectural decision made by Microsoft, if they decided to fix that then #1 would no longer be relevant. Options 2 and 3 actually add significant value by allowing you to bring SharePoint-created content in to your enterprise’s other information systems. If SharePoint is going to be the dominant solution in the space then it needs to play nicely with other solutions in your company; it becomes another ubiquitous data source/consumer. #4 will hang around simply because SharePoint is a good portal choice not because it is a good portal platform but because it is pervasive and familiar to end users.