Category: SharePoint 2013

“The specified file is not a valid spreadsheet or contains no data to import” Import Spreadsheet Error

I have come across this issue on several occasions and each time I find myself searching for the solution.  I thought to myself, “self, maybe you should blog about this issue so you remember how to solve it the next time you come across it.”

If you are attempting to use the “Import Spreadsheet” app in SharePoint 2013 and you receive the error “The specified file is not a valid spreadsheet or contains no data to import” do not panic.  Your spreadsheet is most likely just fine.  The issue is with Internet Explorer blocking the functionality.  In order to fix the issue you simply need to add your SharePoint site to your list of trusted sites.  Go to Internet Options > Security > Trusted Sites and add the URL of your SharePoint site.  Don’t forget to remove the check for “Require Server Verification” if your site does not use HTTPS.

The First SharePoint Backup, Recovery and BLOB Storage Solution

We like to make history at Metalogix. With the release of StoragePoint 4.2, we’ve done it again.

For the first time in the history of SharePoint, there’s now a fully integrated BLOB storage, SharePoint backup and granular restore solution for any version of SharePoint.  With access available directly through SharePoint central administration, SharePoint administrators can now add the benefits of automated backups and granular recovery to their Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) solution.

With Metalogix StoragePoint 4.2, we have developed the first RBS solution that integrates backup and recovery capabilities into a single user interface in the central administration. The release continues StoragePoint’s long history as the most intuitive RBS solution through its native integration with SharePoint. If you’re familiar with SharePoint, regardless of the version, you’ll be comfortable with StoragePoint 4.2.

To ensure your familiarity with the new release, here are some of the key capabilities we added to the product:

  • Automates the Out-of-Box (OOB) backup process and integrates StoragePoint’s existing continuous BLOB backup capability.
  • Includes granular recovery – all the way down to the document level – for all versions including SharePoint 2013.
  • Introduces support for backup to the cloud, which will reduce disk space for backups and your storage costs.
  • Provides the ability to restore an endpoint from backup.

A key concern I’ve regularly heard from customers is how they can quickly respond when someone in their organization has lost a document or folder. We addressed this for SharePoint admins and IT professionals by including new granular recovery capabilities in StoragePoint. Rather than rely on lengthy, time-consuming SharePoint backup processes with SQL Backup, cumbersome scripting to manage your backups, or a central backup/recovery team to respond to your requests, you’ll now be mere clicks away from recovering your data with StoragePoint 4.2.

Do you have compliance, retention and archiving policies for SharePoint content that are causing you concern? In StoragePoint 4.2, we added crucial capabilities for event-based retention support for EMC Centera. Additionally, there are new capabilities for synchronization between SharePoint Information Management Policies and external storage retention policies.

We’re excited to share with you the exciting features in StoragePoint 4.2 and invite you to schedule a demo today to see the product in action. See for yourself how the market’s only fully integrated SharePoint storage, backup and granular recovery solutions works seamlessly within Central Administration.

You can also download StoragePoint Express for free with a 200GB license by clicking here.

Dispelling the Myths of Shredded Storage in SharePoint 2013: Part 2

Read Part 1: The Impact of Shredded Storage on SharePoint 2013

It is important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to shredded storage in SharePoint 2013, a topic that created a tremendous amount of buzz in the SharePoint community.

It is true that shredded storage, for collaboration scenarios, will reduce network and storage I/O associated with saving edits to an existing document. However, it completely misses the mark when it comes to performance related to file upload and download.

Thus, it is now time to dispel the myth that shredded storage serves as a replacement for Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) and show how you can optimize Metalogix StoragePoint to make the most of shredded storage in SharePoint 2013.

Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) provides plumbing to allow third-party providers to offload binary large objects (BLOBs) from SharePoint Content Databases to external storage locations. The primary benefit of RBS is to reduce the size of unstructured data (BLOBs) stored in SQL Server databases while providing support for commodity storage.  Third party providers like Metalogix StoragePoint have extended this basic BLOB offloading capability to provide a long list of enterprise capabilities including support for a wide variety of storage devices, compliant storage, archiving, and enhanced backup/restore capabilities.

Recently I have heard statements from within the SharePoint community and from other companies that RBS is no longer needed due to the introduction of shredded storage.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In part 1 of this series we discussed the primary benefits of shredded storage.  Microsoft’s goal in implementing shredded storage was to reduce the I/O associated with saving document changes.  Rather than store entire copies of files SharePoint 2013 shreds files into smaller chunks allowing for incremental changes to documents to be saved to the SharePoint Content Database.  As a result network and storage I/O is greatly reduced making the process of saving edits to a document very efficient.  Additionally SQL transaction logs associated with document edits are smaller making log shipping more efficient (in fact addressing log shipping challenges for Office 365 was one of the drivers for introducing Shredded Storage).  But what about the impact to uploading (new) and downloading existing documents for SharePoint?

In my experience, most SharePoint farms have a much higher ratio of downloads and uploads versus edits to existing documents.  The fact remains that while shredded storage greatly improves the I/O characteristics when saving incremental changes to SharePoint it has a net negative impact on uploads and downloads speeds.

With Shredded Storage in place, the core value of that RBS provides still exists.  Does Shredded Storage reduce the size of SharePoint Content Databases (SQL Server) by removing BLOBs from SQL Server databases?  Does shredded storage allow you to leverage commodity or complaint storage devices?  Does shredded storage address backup challenges with growing SharePoint environments?  The answer to all of these questions is a resounding “NO!”

Optimizing RBS with Shredded Storage

In SharePoint Server 2013, Shredded Storage and RBS coexist without issue.  As previously discussed, the result of Shredded Storage is a single file broken down into smaller “chunks” and stored within the SharePoint Content Database.  With RBS in place the smaller “chunks” will be externalized rather than a single file.  Regardless of shredding the end result is the same: BLOBs are stored outside of SharePoint Content Databases.

There are, however, considerations when optimizing the performance of RBS with Shredded Storage.  While Shredded Storage cannot be “turned off” in SharePoint Server 2013, it can be optimized or disabled altogether by changing the chunk size of the file shreds.  The default chunk size is set to 64KB however you could set the chunk size to 2GB (the maximum allowable file size in SharePoint) effectively disabling Shredded Storage.  When performance testing Metalogix StoragePoint with Shredded Storage, we found that setting the chunk size to 20MB will yield the best upload and download performance.  Changing the chunk size is quite simple and requires a bit of PowerShell script.

[void][System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName(“Microsoft.SharePoint”)
$service = [Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPWebService]::ContentService
$service.FileWriteChunkSize = chunk size in bytes
$service.Update()

You will need perform an IISRESET and restart the SP Timer Service on all machines in the farm.

As you have seen over this two-part series, there is a lot of misinformation currently floating around about Shredded Storage and RBS in SharePoint 2013. The reality is that neither replaces the other. In fact, Shredded Storage and RBS complement each other. Shredded Storage reduces network and storage I/O when saving document edits. And RBS reduces Content Database size, improves upload and download speed, and accelerates backup/restore operations. Following the guidelines above will help you get the most out of RBS and Shredded Storage.