Friday, July 12, 2013

Keep those SharePoint libraries under 5,000 items


Unfortunately, what many people seem to think SharePoint Online is only good for is as a dumping ground for files. I have seem many people who ‘don’t want a local server’ simply copy all their files up to SharePoint and dump them into a single document library, map a drive letter on the desktop and think things will function exactly like they did when they had a server.
This is a really bad idea for many, many reasons but the major reason is that currently SharePoint Online in Office 365 has 5,000 item view limit per library/list as the following knowledge base article outlines:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2759051
This means for lists with greater than 5,000 rendering it into the browser becomes very resource intensive. Lists can certainly be greater than 5,000 items but trying to view lists larger than this in one go causes problems.
That article also includes the following recommendation:
To work around this issue, split the items into multiple lists so that no list exceeds 5,000 items.
So simply mapping a drive to SharePoint Online and copying massive amounts of documents in the same folder structure is not a good idea, especially for large amounts of files.
Prior to uploading data you really should look at breaking the structure up into multiple document libraries. Apart from overcoming the 5,000 view item limit it also allows you to more easily provide different permissions and options on libraries. For example, imagine you created one HUGE document library but wanted to have versioning enabled on only a limited amount of documents? Unfortunately, document versioning in SharePoint applies to complete document libraries.
Unlike email, migrating data to SharePoint Online is never just ‘drag and drop’. Sure, SharePoint can be used to store lots of files in the cloud but remember it is Office 365 not Server 365. There are major differences and these MUST be taken into consideration when migrating data into SharePoint Online.
Just because you can have massive lists doesn’t mean you should!