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File Server or SharePoint for Your Files?

By August 31, 2018November 2nd, 2018No Comments

From time to time we’re asked by our clients if SharePoint Online is a great substitute for their file server. It is a fantastic question, because both may save their files at first glance. Oftentimes, SharePoint can actually be a good alternative to a file server, but really only under certain conditions.

Like every stage, both file servers and SharePoint possess their particular strengths and flaws for storage. In this post, We explain which is the best option and go over the pros and cons.

Strengths of SharePoint

1. Collaboration & Document Management

That’s why SharePoint is an attractive option for many businesses which frequently work on shared files. Documents stored in SharePoint “libraries” could be edited simultaneously on the internet or in a desktop client. Libraries can be regarded as network drives, which may be incorporated with just a little configuration know-how.

The service has good versioning features that allow users to view and self-restore previous versions of documents stored on Sharepoint. Consequently, if something has been deleted from a document during the co-editing process, that content could be retrieved and restored.

2. Integration

SharePoint Online is completely integrated with the larger Office 365 package and supplies more record management benefits. By way of example, integration with Skype for Business lets users drag a presentation straight from SharePoint and introduce it to an audience. Meanwhile, data can be pulled out of SharePoint into Power BI to gain meaningful insights.

3. Automation

As an instance, the file approval process can be automated to alert the proper recipients when changes occur. This is to eliminate the practice of manually approving modifications and preserving user productivity.

4. Backups

Microsoft itself regularly saves snapshots of SharePoint content which may be revived as needed. Every 12 times a brand new backup is going to be stored that’s valid for 14 days. In the beginning, administrators have two variations to choose from when recovery is necessary. But still better create your own copy.

If all this sounds great to your small business, it’s fantastic! SharePoint can work nicely as an alternative to a file server. But, there are a number of smaller prerequisites that may be an obstacle to changing:

SharePoint Restrictions

1. Storage capacity

SharePoint also has some storage limits as a cloud support. Each website collection in SharePoint includes a base storage capacity of 1TB. The very best way to get around this is to make extra site collections and document libraries as required. While this does not restrict the storage capacity of the individual, it can be confusing for consumers and hinder acceptance and compromise the reliability of the synchronization tool. Generally, it is not the perfect tool for big and many files, you will find issues with synchronization preprogrammed.

2. File sizes

If your company typically works with very large files, such as a media creation company, a file storage server is surely better for hosting.

3. Filenames

The naming convention also matters if a file may be hosted or not. The file names have to be less than 260 characters, including the URL path that defines the location of this file (…). Filenames that contain most non-alphanumeric personalities are not supported.

In most cases, this just means your filenames need to be purged before being moved into the cloud. Based on the number of files you have, this can be a lengthy process.

4. File

SharePoint functions best when Office documents are stored in it (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) just because these file types can be edited over the internet portal. Most file types are accessible, however, as a pure perspective file (PDF, JPEG, MP3). Other websites, like Photoshop or CAD files, can not be considered through the web portal, but saved and merged with the cloud.

On the flip side, database files aren’t recommended to be hosted with the service because doing so are just like hosting a database within online databases.


Overall, SharePoint is a much better collaborative and document management tool compared to file storage. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we strongly advise against using Sharepoint as a file server – but it is dependent upon how you work. For instance, for startups, SharePoint Online can be a fantastic substitute until a bigger record of files is developed.

However, companies will want to remain with their file servers whenever they always work with large files or have a big record of inactive files.

What are you waiting for? Give us a call today, Talk to us, we’re delighted to advise you personally on the subject. Our Office 365 team is looking forward to working with you.

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