What would you need to do to replace my File Server?

There has been some interesting debate which was focused by this SharePoint Team blog post back in January (yeah I’m slow off the mark pulling my thoughts together here).

This post is a collection of my thoughts to date on this subject.  A lot of people have been talking about this both in their blog posts and at a customer engagement level.  I have some views on the subject and I’ll share some of them here.  So what do I need?

So for me I still actually want a file share, I still need a file share.  Not all my applications will allow me to publish directly into a personal collaboration space (but my file server allocation can be much smaller than it is today).  I also want a collaborative workspace, just for me!  Here I can show my work in progress and hide some other things I don’t want you to see.  I then accept that I’ll have some work published into team workspaces and perhaps more formally released and hence stored in document libraries.  Well I’d still like to keep track of my work and have it simply to hand so I’d like my collaborative workspace to include links to all my published work.

Then as teams and projects we’ll need similar workspaces with work in progress, published work, document libraries and more project focused elements (task tracking etc).

Now the great news is that the major vendors IBM and Microsoft already offer this, ok maybe not out of the box and with a bit of tweaking but you can do this now.  I don’t feel at present we can remove the file server element completely, but I do feel we can move to a point where we are less dominated by a file server and more dominated by a rich collaborative workspace.



  1. agree Stu, I think its a real shame though that these tier 1 suppliers don’t put enough effort into helping us come up with end to end working practices. Everyone tries to sell their solution as if its the total solution to our needs and it never is. In the end we still end up depending on file systems.


  2. I agree. I think it is important for all the vendors who are shipping capabilities to upload files from office applications, or to map document libraries to network places in Windows to also help people work through this major change in working. From the early 90’s people have got used to storing files in folders on a disk. This is a whole new place for people to move to. Its also going to require more work on business processes in order to gain more control over content in order that these collaborative workspaces don’t become the file server capacity issue of tomorrow.


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