Configuring RBS for SP2010

Following on from my previous post about list scaling and performance.  The following posts details configuration of Remote Blob Storage for SharePoint 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2.

First download the RBS provider for SQL Server 2008 (don’t install it yet):

Configure file stream for the SQL Server Service using the Configuration Manager:


Execute the following SQL queries:

EXEC sp_configure filestream_access_level, 2


Execute the following SQL to set up a master encryption key and blob store file group:

use WSS_Content

if not exists (select * from sys.symmetric_keys where name = N'##MS_DatabaseMasterKey##')
create master key encryption by password = N'Admin Key Password !2#4'

if not exists (select groupname from sysfilegroups where 
groupname=N'RBSFilestreamProvider')alter database WSS_Content
 add filegroup RBSFilestreamProvider contains filestream
alter database [WSS_Content] add file (name = RBSFilestreamFile, filename = 'c:Blobstore') 
to filegroup RBSFilestreamProvider

Install the RBS provider with the following command (change DBINSTANCE to your SQL server instance):

msiexec /qn /lvx* rbs_install_log.txt /i RBS_X64.msi TRUSTSERVERCERTIFICATE=true FILEGROUP=PRIMARY DBNAME="WSS_Content" DBINSTANCE="SP2010" FILESTREAMFILEGROUP=RBSFilestreamProvider FILESTREAMSTORENAME=FilestreamProvider_1

If installing RBD on production servers, be sure to run on all WFE’s with the following command (again, change the DBINSTANCE):

msiexec /qn /lvx* rbs_install_log.txt /i RBS_X64.msi DBNAME="WSS_Content" DBINSTANCE="SP2010" ADDLOCAL=”Client,Docs,Maintainer,ServerScript,FilestreamClient,FilestreamServer”

Run the following Power Shell script from the SP2010 Management Console:

$cdb = Get-SPContentDatabase –WebApplication http://sp2010

$rbss = $cdb.RemoteBlobStorageSettings





Now create a document library in SharePoint and upload an image to it.  Next visit the c:blobstore directory and look for the GUID sub folder with recent date.  Keep drilling down until you find a file.  You should see a file with GUID name.  Drop this into IE and you should see that it is the same file you uploaded to your document library.


From the SharePoint 2010 book I’m reviewing

List Scaling and Performance in SP2010

It it a well known fact that MOSS 2007 caused some rising opinions on the subject of list scalability and performance.  Many developers operated under the misconception that SharePoint lists only allowed 2000 list items before croaking out with bad performance.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The following article talks about this issue of large lists in great depth and highlights the point that SharePoint can actually handle many more than 2000 list items in any one list.  However, “query” this data is affected by the item count and SharePoint architects should design their data access and presentation of data accordingly.

Microsoft has added a number of new enhancements to lists in SharePoint 2010 to handle larger capacity and the query of this data, and the following is a short summary of the enhancements:

List Column Indexing

SP2010 now allows list designers to create up to 20 indices (some of multiple columns) on any one list.  These indices allow for faster query of data when the list size exceeds that of typical.


Under list settings and in the columns section; users now see a link to Indexed Columns.

The following is a list of column types usable as indexed columns:

· Single line of text

· Choice field, but not multi choice

· Number

· Currency

· Date/Time

· Look up, but not a multi value look up

· Person or group, but not multi value

· Title, except in a document library


List Throttling

SharePoint administrators now have the capability to better control list queries so that developers (or general users) may issue list queries on large lists that may potentially bring down the server.  Specifically:

Administrators may define some limits at the web application level:

– Configure the number of items fetched for queries

– Administrators may receive warnings when thresholds exceeded

– Ability to configure time periods for expensive queries to operate

– Limit the size of list items (default to 8k)

– Limit the number of columns in a join (default to 6)

The following code will display the list throttling limits for the site collection:

using (SPSite site = new SPSite(siteUrl))

To enable list throttling on any list be sure to toggle the setting with the following:

SPList.EnableThrottling = true

MaxItemsPerThrottledOperationWarningLevel – If a list exceeds the number of items specified in this threshold then a warning is displayed on the list settings page.

What MaxItemsPerThrottledOperation – This indicates the number of list items returned to non-administrators.  Administrators can query up to the threshold in What MaxItemsPerThrottledOperationOverride but will receive a warning on the list settings page.

If administrators wish for users to execute expensive operations in specific window of time they can do so by using the following method on the WebApplication object: SetDailyUnthrottledPrivilegedOperationWindow


RBS Storage (Remote Blob Storage)

In some cases the use of document libraries to store large files is no longer scalable and causes content databases to become unmanageable.  An example situations where a public web site, hosted in SharePoint, provides users with rich media content – web files and large images – is once such example of the large blob storage issue. 

In MOSS, hosting content in the database provided certain benefits, such as single storage location, versioning, and access of files via the object model.  Whereas file based storage provided better scalability at the cost of orphaned content from the object model.  SP2010 solves this issue with RBS.  Site Architects can now store large files (blobs) in alternate locations to that of the SharePoint content database without relinquishing access via the OM.  From an and developer standpoint, the data is accessed as if it were in the content database, but the content is actually in a remote location.

To enable RBS you’re farm will need to use at least SQL Server 2008 R2.

Marking blobs as external at the content database level enables SharePoint to store the meta-data associated with blobs in the database while storing the actual blob content outside the content database.  Because RBS is handled at the database level, SharePoint is unaware that data is not stored in the content database but in another location.

in a future time, vendors will bring RBS providers for SP2010 to the table, but in the meantime Microsoft has provided RBS for SQL server as an extra download:

See my next blog post on configuring RBS.


From the SharePoint 2010 book I’m reviewing

SP2010 Sandbox Development Tip

If you want to make sure that you aren’t using any of the restricted APIs before you deploy your solution to a sandbox environment, manually reference your project against:

[SharePoint Root]UserCodeassembliesMicrosoft.SharePoint.dll  

If your code compiles, then you’re pretty safe!

NEVER DEPLOY code with this Microsoft.SharePoint.dll reference, instead reference the Microsoft.SharePoint.dll in

[SharePoint Root]ISAPI folder.

From the SharePoint 2010 book I’m reviewing

Debugging SP2010 Sandbox Code – Short and Sweet

If you find yourself in a situation when you need to attach to a process from VS 2010, to debug,  and you’re code is running in a “sandbox”.  You need to attach to the process SPUserCodeService.exe, not w3wp.exe.

SharePoint 2010 hosts sandbox code in a secure service – the user code service – so it can monitor resources and make sure the user’s code isn’t performing any action that could compromise the platform.

From the SharePoint 2010 book I’m reviewing

SP2010 Developer Dashboard

The SP2010 Developer Dashboard allows developers to review object model calls, database queries, web part events – and the timings for these various happenings.

The following code enables the dashboard:

SPPerformanceMonitor SPPerfMon;
SPPerfMon = SPFarm.Local.PerformanceMonitor;
SPPerfMon.DeveloperDashboardLevel = SPPerformanceMonitoringLevel.On;

The following code turns it off again:

SPPerformanceMonitor SPPerfMon;
SPPerfMon = SPFarm.Local.PerformanceMonitor;
SPPerfMon.DeveloperDashboardLevel = SPPerformanceMonitoringLevel.Off;

Development Setup for SP2010

Some important points to remember when developing against SP2010:

  • Make sure your Visual Studio project is set up for .NET 3.5, not .NET 4.0
  • Run Visual Studio as an Administrator to load debugging symbols
  • Make sure your project is set to compile for Any CPU or x64 (not x86 by default), otherwise your code will throw a FileNotFoundException

From the SharePoint 2010 book I’m reviewing

Provision 2010 Farm without the Mess

Anyone who has created a new SP2010 Farm using the SharePoint Technologies Configuration Wizard will know that it makes a huge mess of SQL server, littering new databases with GUID extensions.

Those of you who have anal tendencies, like me, can sleep at night with nice clean database names with a script as follows:

Note: I am working on a script that will create Service Applications, which also like to create many GUID database instances.

@echo off

if "%1" == "" goto usage
if "%2" == "" goto usage

pushd C:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedWeb Server Extensions14BIN
echo Creating New Farm Instance
psconfig.exe -cmd configdb -create -server %1 -database %2_SharePoint_Config -user DEVMOSS_Farm -password Sharepoint3 -passphrase Sharepoint3 -admincontentdatabase %2_SharePoint_Admin_Content

echo Creating Central Admin Site
psconfig.exe -cmd adminvs -provision -port 8000 -windowsauthprovider onlyusentlm

echo Installing Services
psconfig.exe -cmd services install

echo Securing Resources
psconfig.exe -cmd secureresources

echo Starting Search Service
stsadm.exe -o osearch -action start -role Index -farmcontactemail -farmperformancelevel maximum -farmserviceaccount "DEVMOSS_Farm" -farmservicepassword Sharepoint3

echo Starting WSS Search Service
stsadm.exe -o spsearch -action start -farmserviceaccount DEVMOSS_Farm -farmservicepassword Sharepoint3 -farmcontentaccessaccount DEVMOSS_Search -farmcontentaccesspassword Sharepoint3 -databaseserver %1 -databasename %2_WSS_App_Search

echo Installing Feature
psconfig.exe -cmd installfeatures

echo Installing Health Rules
psconfig.exe -cmd InstallHealthRules

goto end

echo "SP2010-Provision.bat <SQLServer> <Project Acronym>"