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Sharepoint foundation limitations

    Question

  • Hi,

    Are you restricted by the 4Gb database limit in SQL Express 2008 with a default installation of sharepoint foundation?

    I wanted to dump a lot of files into a file library (about 10Gb).  I used a bulk importer and now I'm getting a lot of errors with file management.  After poking about, I can see my WSS_Content database is 4096.5Mb which I agree are the limits - I just thought share point might role over into a new database rather than hitting known limits?

    So does this mean if I want 4Gb+ file libraries I need to use full SQL 2008 with sharepoint foundation

    Any idea how I can dump the existing file library I've got so I can continue playing around with other areas of the system.  Currently, if I try delete it I get an error.

    Ta

    Alex

    Wednesday, November 03, 2010 3:15 PM

Answers

  • Alex --

    If you do the default install of SharePoint Foundation with SQL Server Express, yes, you are going to be limited to a maximum of 4 GB per database. So, the most you'll be able to put a single site collection is 4 GB, and you'll have to manage yourself how site collections are distributed across content databases to achieve that (to avoid more than one site collection in a content DB). SharePoint does not create new content databases automatically for you. Also, you have to mark a content database as offline to prevent SharePoint from adding new site collections to that content database.

    The good news is that you do have another option to consider besides a full SQL Server license: Remote BLOB Storage, or RBS, with SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. RBS allows SQL Server to store content in files directly on the filesystem, rather than within a SQL database, but still present that data to SharePoint as if its in the content database. For more information on this capability with SQL Server 2008 R2 Express, take a look at these articles:

    The one thing I would caution you about (this is kind of the bad news) is that RBS is not necessarily a simple thing to implement. Pay attention to its storage configuration and Disk I/O requirements, and I would really read up on the SQL Server FILESTREAM provider (the default and free option from Microsoft to implement RBS, there's also other RBS Provider options out there from AvePoint and StoragePoint/MetaLogix) and its features and limitations.

    Does that help?

    John


    MCTS: WSS v3, MOSS 2007, and SCOM 2007
    MCITP: Enterprise Project Management with Project Server 2007

    Now Available on Amazon - The SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide. Also available - The SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide.
    My blog: My Central Admin.
    • Marked as answer by Alex____ Thursday, November 04, 2010 10:24 AM
    Wednesday, November 03, 2010 3:28 PM
  • Alex --

    If you install SharePoint Foundation on the same server as SQL Server, you will need to purchase a single Windows Server 2008 license (and perhaps user CALs for Windows Server, more below) along with a separate server license for SQL Server. SharePoint Foundation is included in the license for Windows Server 2008. You do not need to purchase SQL Server CALs for each user who will be logging into your SharePoint farm, but you may need to purchase Windows Server CALs for them. I apologize, but that point has always been a little fuzzy for me. In general, the best thing to do is to make sure to talk to a Microsoft Licensing rep or make sure you have your software vendor explain it all out to you in detail to get the best info about MS Licensing, because it can be very complex.

    John


    MCTS: WSS v3, MOSS 2007, and SCOM 2007
    MCITP: Enterprise Project Management with Project Server 2007

    Now Available on Amazon - The SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide. Also available - The SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide.
    My blog: My Central Admin.
    • Marked as answer by Alex____ Thursday, November 04, 2010 10:24 AM
    Wednesday, November 03, 2010 5:49 PM

All replies

  • Alex --

    If you do the default install of SharePoint Foundation with SQL Server Express, yes, you are going to be limited to a maximum of 4 GB per database. So, the most you'll be able to put a single site collection is 4 GB, and you'll have to manage yourself how site collections are distributed across content databases to achieve that (to avoid more than one site collection in a content DB). SharePoint does not create new content databases automatically for you. Also, you have to mark a content database as offline to prevent SharePoint from adding new site collections to that content database.

    The good news is that you do have another option to consider besides a full SQL Server license: Remote BLOB Storage, or RBS, with SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. RBS allows SQL Server to store content in files directly on the filesystem, rather than within a SQL database, but still present that data to SharePoint as if its in the content database. For more information on this capability with SQL Server 2008 R2 Express, take a look at these articles:

    The one thing I would caution you about (this is kind of the bad news) is that RBS is not necessarily a simple thing to implement. Pay attention to its storage configuration and Disk I/O requirements, and I would really read up on the SQL Server FILESTREAM provider (the default and free option from Microsoft to implement RBS, there's also other RBS Provider options out there from AvePoint and StoragePoint/MetaLogix) and its features and limitations.

    Does that help?

    John


    MCTS: WSS v3, MOSS 2007, and SCOM 2007
    MCITP: Enterprise Project Management with Project Server 2007

    Now Available on Amazon - The SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide. Also available - The SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide.
    My blog: My Central Admin.
    • Marked as answer by Alex____ Thursday, November 04, 2010 10:24 AM
    Wednesday, November 03, 2010 3:28 PM
  • Yes, thanks for the help (I'm mark as Answered in a while).  Like I said, I'd hoped sharepoint would nicely roll over into new databases - much like if you look at how MS ISA server logs into SQL Express.

    Thanks, I'll take a look at the RBS stuff.  We're just piloting Sharepoint at the moment, a few of us testing if the foundation will work for us (we are a reasonably small company just wanting a document library with versioning and a nice intranet really and don't want to spend 1000's on the standard etc). 

    If SQL 2008 R2 is the simple way forward, can anyone tell me the licencing required;

    a) Does it just need the "one" server licence (whcih normally comes with 5 CALs) if Sharepoint foundation is installed on the same server as SQL 2008 R2 (on the assumption that Sharepoint makes the connection to SQL 2008 database rather than the clients/users?)

    b) Is it a case we need a SQL CAL for everyone who may access it in the company

    c) Or do we need SQL CAL's for expected concurrent users. 

    Thanks,

    Wednesday, November 03, 2010 3:47 PM
  • I've heard the easiest thing to do is to start with WSS 3.0 and the windows internal database (no size limitation). Then you can upload all your documents, and then upgrade to 2010 foundation. I'm told SharePoint will automatically create the sql server 2008 express database with RBS already configured. Just something I heard.
    Wednesday, November 03, 2010 3:50 PM
  • Alex --

    If you install SharePoint Foundation on the same server as SQL Server, you will need to purchase a single Windows Server 2008 license (and perhaps user CALs for Windows Server, more below) along with a separate server license for SQL Server. SharePoint Foundation is included in the license for Windows Server 2008. You do not need to purchase SQL Server CALs for each user who will be logging into your SharePoint farm, but you may need to purchase Windows Server CALs for them. I apologize, but that point has always been a little fuzzy for me. In general, the best thing to do is to make sure to talk to a Microsoft Licensing rep or make sure you have your software vendor explain it all out to you in detail to get the best info about MS Licensing, because it can be very complex.

    John


    MCTS: WSS v3, MOSS 2007, and SCOM 2007
    MCITP: Enterprise Project Management with Project Server 2007

    Now Available on Amazon - The SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide. Also available - The SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide.
    My blog: My Central Admin.
    • Marked as answer by Alex____ Thursday, November 04, 2010 10:24 AM
    Wednesday, November 03, 2010 5:49 PM
  • That's an interesting perspective, but I think I'd have to disagree with the advice.

    It seems to me like you're still going to have to manage the distribution of your site collections across content databases in WSS v3; SharePoint doesn't do that for you regardless of version. If it hits a SQL Express content database storage limit, SQL isn't going to let SharePoint put anything in it, so SharePoint simply won't work. Its not going to create a new content database to hold more content, you'll still have to do that yourself.

    My thinking is that the migration process is complex enough that I wouldn't want to attempt it just to try and alleviate some storage problems I was having on the backend. Not to mention that you'd still have to do some work to get up to 4 GB of content into a SharePoint site, so why not make that investment in 2010 so you don't have to learn the 2007 UI and UX then go to the 2010 UI and UX which is much different.

    Yes, the migration process may set up the RBS stuff for you, but even then I'm an obsessive enough admin that I'd rather have it set up to my personal specs and configuration, not Microsoft's general settings...

    Does that make sense?

    John


    MCTS: WSS v3, MOSS 2007, and SCOM 2007
    MCITP: Enterprise Project Management with Project Server 2007

    Now Available on Amazon - The SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide. Also available - The SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide.
    My blog: My Central Admin.
    Wednesday, November 03, 2010 5:55 PM
  • Thanks John.  Yes, I'll try the nightmare department that is Microsoft licencing to try clear it up for sure.  Problem with them, is quite often on an issue like this I've had two different answers.  maybe I'll keep emailing them until I get the one I want :)

    For anyone googling this in the future, if you got stuck in the same position as myself that you loaded too much data into a default install of Sharepoint Foundation that you then continually get errors while trying to do anything because the database is full, then the quick fix solution is to upgrade to SQL Express 2008 R2 with a 10Gb database size.  This will get you out of a hole quickly and very easily, then you can look at RBS (which is what I'm just about to do).

    Thanks all.

    Thursday, November 04, 2010 10:28 AM
  • FYI MS licensing say that even though it's IIS/Sharepoint foundation accessing the SQL Server, it's counted as indirect access which still requires a CAL for every user :(
    Thursday, November 04, 2010 12:16 PM
  • Just to chime in - the limit for SQL Server Express R2 is 10 GB. That's the one to use, but that is NOT the version installed with a basic install. This is discussed a little more in depth on my blog here:

    http://whitepages.sfintelligence.com/index.php/2010/08/sql-express-microsoft-internal-database-and-sharepoint-be-careful-upgrading/


    John P. WHite
    Thursday, November 04, 2010 2:09 PM
  • That one I'm 99% sure is WAY off. I confirmed that with a friend who is a SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master, you shouldn't have to pay for SQL CALs for SharePoint users.

    My suggestion would be to try to talk to someone else, or at least to have that person provide you with documented evidence that supports their position. In general, I would encourage you to have whomever you're talking to email you the specific information and their statements on it so that you have it in writing and can use that as a basis for your costs should it ever be discussed during a license true-up activity or something similar.

    And John White's right, I had completely forgotten that SQL Server 2008 R2 Express raised the database limit from 4 GB to 10 GB, that's a great point and something to keep in mind!

    John


    MCTS: WSS v3, MOSS 2007, and SCOM 2007
    MCITP: Enterprise Project Management with Project Server 2007

    Now Available on Amazon - The SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide. Also available - The SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide.
    My blog: My Central Admin.
    Thursday, November 04, 2010 2:22 PM
  • That one I'm 99% sure is WAY off. I confirmed that with a friend who is a SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master, you shouldn't have to pay for SQL CALs for SharePoint users....

    Microsoft clearly says in point 5 of the following article that SharePoint does not include CALs for SQL Server (unless using SQL Server Express)

    http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-au/buy/Pages/Licensing-Details.aspx 

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 2:18 AM
  • That one I'm 99% sure is WAY off. I confirmed that with a friend who is a SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master, you shouldn't have to pay for SQL CALs for SharePoint users.

    My suggestion would be to try to talk to someone else, or at least to have that person provide you with documented evidence that supports their position. In general, I would encourage you to have whomever you're talking to email you the specific information and their statements on it so that you have it in writing and can use that as a basis for your costs should it ever be discussed during a license true-up activity or something similar.

    And John White's right, I had completely forgotten that SQL Server 2008 R2 Express raised the database limit from 4 GB to 10 GB, that's a great point and something to keep in mind!

    John


    MCTS: WSS v3, MOSS 2007, and SCOM 2007
    MCITP: Enterprise Project Management with Project Server 2007

    Now Available on Amazon - The SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide. Also available - The SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide.
    My blog: My Central Admin.

    There are 2 ways to license SQL server 2008. By user or by physical processor. If web sites (any web site - sharepoint included) will interact with SQL than each user who interacts with that web site requires a SQL CAL license. In this situation it is more economical to license SQL by the processor which includes unlimited client connections.


    • Edited by ZackinMA Thursday, May 24, 2012 2:00 PM
    Thursday, May 24, 2012 1:58 PM