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Sharepoint limitations/issues when storing CRM file attachments

Posted on by 5

We're running CRM 2016 v8.2 on-premise and planning to upgrade to v9.1 shortly. Our email and notes attachments are taking up a LOT of space in our database (hundreds of GB).  We have already removed old attachments, but we still have many remaining that we must keep. 

As a solution that is frequently proposed, we want to move these attachments to an external repository like Sharepoint.  This will have the direct effect of reducing the database size, making it more manageable.  Additionally, a smaller database will make it more cost effective to move from on-prem to CRM online (cloud) if we decide to do that in the future since Microsoft charges a premium for database storage.

My question is, for sites that are currently using Sharepoint in conjunction with CRM, have you encountered any limitations or issues in storing many large attachments in Sharepoint?  Is the integration between CRM and Sharepoint smooth and trouble-free?  We don't want to trade one set of problems for new ones.

Thanks in advance for any feedback!

  • IT-BlueSky Profile Picture
    IT-BlueSky 5 on at
    RE: Sharepoint limitations/issues when storing CRM file attachments

    Hi Ana, thanks for adding more info!

  • Suggested answer
    ananeto Profile Picture
    ananeto 140 on at
    RE: Sharepoint limitations/issues when storing CRM file attachments


    Are you considering just moving attachments or documents in general?

    If it's documents in general, like Matt said, most of the Dynamics/SharePoint integration is seamless, and you can get it off the ground by following a simple tutorial. In this tutorial, you'll also find the main problem you would run into: the set of security privileges you might have set up on the Dynamics side does not replicate to the SharePoint side. This is a problem in all integrations unless your setup in Dynamics is to have everything open to everyone in the organization, but it can be fixed with the 3rd party tool mentioned in the tutorial. The second set of problems is maybe more what you had in mind and is described in this article in the CRM Software Blog (SharePoint List limit, SharePoint Document Library limit, Unique permissions limit). These limits may or may not affect you, IT will be more about the number of attachments than about having large attachments as you mention.

    If your focus is on attachments only, then I would say your best option is to do it with a 3rd party tool that handles all the attachments you already have and then keeps moving them automatically as new ones are created by users.Have a look at CB Dynamics 365 Seamless Attachment Extractor.

    Good luck!


  • Suggested answer
    IT-BlueSky Profile Picture
    IT-BlueSky 5 on at
    RE: Sharepoint limitations/issues when storing CRM file attachments

    Thanks Matt!  You are very knowledgeable on this topic and I appreciate your input.

  • Verified answer
    - Matt Bayes - Profile Picture
    - Matt Bayes - 890 on at
    RE: Sharepoint limitations/issues when storing CRM file attachments

    We have not encountered any limitations with the number of files within a folder or the size of the files.

    Generally, any of the issues you will run into are driven from what Sharepoint can do (or not do), not necessarily D365.

    The only things to note are that there may be throttling based on the number of records, because D365 likes to only present 5000 records at a time. If you have more than 5000, the sorting, filtering, etc. becomes a tad slow, but in your scenario, I don't see you storing more than 5000 documents in a single D365 record.

    Based on the Sharepoint documentation, I believe it can store 30 million documents in total, but the recommended amount is no more than 300,000, especially if you need to sync those to workstations or utilize them elsewhere. There is also a system-wide setting that allows you to adjust the maximum file size allowed for upload, which I think is 250GB but can be reduced to discourage that sort of storage size.

    Sharepoint being a true document storage library should provide minimal limitations and allow you to store large amounts of data without worrying about insane costs if you were to keep that within Dynamics.

    If you have any more questions let me know!


    Matt Bayes

  • IT-BlueSky Profile Picture
    IT-BlueSky 5 on at
    RE: Sharepoint limitations/issues when storing CRM file attachments

    Thanks, Matt.  Have you encountered any limitations on the number of files within a folder?  Or the size of files?

  • Suggested answer
    - Matt Bayes - Profile Picture
    - Matt Bayes - 890 on at
    RE: Sharepoint limitations/issues when storing CRM file attachments

    Hey Blue Sky,

    Generally, the integration between SP and CRM is pretty seamless as long as you are using it as it's meant to be used. A lot of times, we have clients that want to customize the format of the SP locations with specific names, or have requirements where they want to view additional metadata on the documents so they can search/filter/etc.

    The troubles we have run into while doing migrations or conversions to SP storage is that we need to have a process to run through each of the records, create a SP document location with the same format as CRM would generate automatically, and then drop the documents into their respective folders.

    There are 2 ways to setup the SP document storage in CRM, one is table-based and the other is just a general repository.

    1. Table-Based - this option will either have the Contact or Account at the top-level (your choice) and for each table that's associated that has documents, it will create a separate folder for each table and record, then the documents will be stored in there. An example of the structure might be:

    2. Record-Based - this will create a document location for the specific record and not have sub-folders for each record type, thus every document will be housed in the main record, for example:

    Personally, I believe #2 is the easiest to handle because then you can just create a folder for each contact and dump each document in there to have it accessible, rather than worrying about sub-folders and creating document locations off of that.

    It might benefit you to spin up a development organization, even just a new org not based on your existing, configure SP integration, and start playing around with your options so you can see the format in which the document locations need to be. From there you can replicate into whatever migration process you build to ensure that things will work seamlessly going forward.


    Matt Bayes

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