A Steaming Pile of SharePoint

By Michael Doyle posted 08-02-2011 11:46


SharePoint 2010 has greatly increased its scalability. We can now add millions of documents and create content databases in the terabyte range. Storage is cheap with everyone seeming to have virtually unlimited amounts of storage. SharePoint is more popular now than it ever has been. What does all this mean? It means people are dumping huge loads of files into SharePoint. This has created what I affectionately refer to as a “Steaming Pile of SharePoint”. Metadata is a wonderful thing and should be used with documents in SharePoint but it doesn’t prevent the pile. It doesn’t correct your folder structure issues, it doesn’t get rid of unwanted files, it doesn’t make sure your backups work in a timely manner, and it doesn’t make your search crawl any faster. These items require thought and effort by knowledgeable people who know about your business or organization. Mulling through tons of documents almost never anyone’s first choice of tasks, but cleaning out your documents will yield great benefits and will turn your SharePoint installation into a lean, mean, information finding machine. To aid in this task I have come up with some general guidelines when moving documents into SharePoint or cleaning up the documents that are already there.

Pile Preventers

  • Don’t just copy the folder structure from a file share. Flatten things out and use metadata and views to organize files.
  • Monitor your crawl times to make sure you are not exceeding your farms capability to crawl the content in a timely manner.
  • Get experienced people to help you weed out non-essential documents.
  • Separate mission critical documents from other documents into different content databases. This will greatly increase disaster recovery time.
  • Manage your metadata and tag documents. This will exponentially improve your ability to find the document you need.
  • Monitor what is being searched and make adjustments to key words and best bets. The time saving for your users is worth it.
  • Remember that less really is more. Piling a bunch of junk documents into SharePoint will only make finding the information you really need more difficult.
  • Continually weed out unwanted documents just as you would weed a garden.
  • Don’t try to shove every document into SharePoint. Make sure it is something that can be indexed and/or tagged. Otherwise it is just taking up space.

With all the new bells, whistles, and capabilities out there we want to dive in and use them. We are truly empowered now, but we must still use some common sense and thought to make SharePoint work for us instead of against us. Hopefully this will serve as a reminder that we still need intelligence along the line at some point. Moving a pile from one place to another just means the pile is in another place. Okay, I will jump off my soap box now.


SharePoint Ninja

#SharePoint #Search #files