SharePoint has seen such wide-scale adoption and enough empirical evidence is now available to establish that BLOB externalization outperforms in-SQL storage. BLOB storage in SQL Server hampers the overall performance of a SharePoint infrastructure. Microsoft first introduced External BLOB Storage (EBS) and then Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) in SQL Server 2008 R2, only as interface specifications, to let you take BLOBs out of SQL Server. StorageEdge fills the gap nicely as it provides enterprise-grade implementations for both EBS and RBS to offload BLOBs to inexpensive external storage.
A detailed comparative analysis between EBS and RBS has been provided in my earlier blog here. Primary difference is that RBS is implemented in SQL Server 2008 and has no direct relation to SharePoint, whereas EBS has been provided as a layer in SharePoint stack from where it talks to SQL Server. Moreover, RBS is not unique to SharePoint as it is available to any application using SQL Server, whereas EBS is SharePoint specific. RBS has Managed interface whereas EBS’s is unmanaged. And RBS has more permanence, as EBS is scheduled to be phased out in the next version of SharePoint; EBS has been deprecated in SharePoint 2010 already. So, for these reasons, RBS is being widely adopted by SharePoint administrators and are shifting their content to RBS.
EBS, for having been around for a good number of years, has remained in use for externalizing large volumes of BLOBs to inexpensive tiers of storage. With RBS, there is a viable alternative available to the SharePoint administrators to which they might choose to migrate. However, one consideration that can stop them to convert from EBS to RBS is the actual movement of such large caches of BLOBs from EBS to RBS. Certain providers require you to bring the content into SQL Server first, configure an RBS provider on SQL Server and then externalize again. This presents an impractical approach, as it is a huge challenge for TBs of data to achieve and shall have negative impact on the overall performance of the SharePoint infrastructure. So, traditional providers do not provide you with an easy conversion path from EBS to RBS.
But StorageEdge does. Its tightly integrated architecture lets you to move from EBS to RBS, without actually moving your BLOB content. If your BLOBs have been externalized through EBS, and you desire to use move to RBS, you can use StorageEdge to convert to RBS with BLOBs being retained on the same external location. With StorageEdge, you are only required to enable RBS on the corresponding content database and specify the same storage profile settings and storage location as you have for EBS.
Figure 1: Convert EBS to RBS in StorageEdge
StorageEdge lets you do this in two easy steps:
- Select the Storage Profile for the SharePoint web application you want to convert to RBS.
- Select “Convert to RBS” option from drop down menu as shown below.
StorageEdge even lets you schedule this conversion job at a time, when your system resources are available, to avoid hampering SharePoint’s performance at peak usage times.
Figure 2: Schedule a Conversion from EBS to RBS in StorageEdge
So in a nutshell, StorageEdge makes life a lot easier whenever you choose to convert from EBS to RBS.