SharePoint 2010 and the Four Gigabyte Gotcha

November 9, 2009

The goslings and I have been trying to figure out some of the implications of migrating from an “old” SharePoint to the whizzy new SharePoint 2010. We ran into a four gigabyte barrier and began the all-too-familiar practice of hunting for explanations, work arounds, and explanations. We found “A Couple of Worrying Changes in SP 2010 Products Compared to the v3 Equivalents” interesting. You will want to read this write up from Mindsharp and then check out the comments to write up.

First, there four gigabyte database size limit is still an issue. Mindsharp point out that “the only slightly bright spot is that it was also confirmed that SPD 2010 and SPD 2007 can be run together on the same client machine. So you don’t need two machines just to be able to work with v3 and v4 sites.”

With regards to this point, Mindsharp reported:

That problem area however fades rapidly into insignificance if you are a WSS 3.0 user using Windows Internal Database. As such you have a free database system which unlike the standard SQL Server 2005 Express it is based on does not have a 4GB database size limit. Well it looks as if people who are running this and have exceeded this figure (non-limit!) or about to do so will have serious problems if they want to upgrade their system to SharePoint Foundation 2010. I don’t have any other explanation that in yesterdays massive batch of over twenty KB articles on the “Pre-Upgrade Checker for WSS 3.0 SP2” two of them are about the Windows Internal Database and both of them are about warnings that you get if you exceed 4GB in the size of a database “The large size of a database can prevent it from being upgraded”.

Second, the comment that caught my attention was:

The second one is not a problem

Within reasonable limits, the second issue is not a problem. Take a look at the following article on Technet: Databases larger than 4GB (again, within reasonable limits) will be migrated to SQL Server Express with Remote Blob Storage during the upgrade process. BLOBs stored on the file system don’t count against the 4GB limit of SQL Express. Mike’s comment: Setting up Remote Blog Storage is probably beyond the possibilities of many people who today install the Basic Installation version of WSS 3.0. (Anyway Search databases still have a 4GB limit as they can’t use RBS). But my main objection is that having moved to an unlimited database size in one version, MS take it away in the next. Providing a workaround for some cases mitigates that very poor and unfair decision but doesn’t imo justify it.

We downloaded the Microsoft documents. Lots to think about when upgrading SharePoint. Great for billing clients too. Simplicity not. Hard database limits are very 1980 in my opinion.

Stephen Arnold, November 9, 2009

No compensation, not even a wink from a Certified Partner. Too busy billing I assume.


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