The question about using SharePoint as a file server takes on new meaning when considering issues like file security, not to mention the per file costs, according to an article in Redmond Magazine.
For one thing, to think of it as an ‘either or’ decision is faulty, even though SharePoint’s Document Library makes it easy to collaborate and share; store and offer version changes, as well as design and publish.
Obviously, collecting data through SharePoint, and it’s ability to integrate seamlessly with other applications offering data sources, makes the software extremely versatile.
Aside from the file security issues, the costs to move data over to a SQL Server is always a consideration: costs per file are huge. Furthermore, since the SQL Server is not a file server, storage should never be a option. In such instances, IT will go to other technology choices, like Remote BLOB Storage or even RBS.
With SharePoint it’s no secret that the suite is storing file metadata in its database; this, while leaving the specific file to reside on a file server.
At issue, are stakeholder decisions about prioritizing critical files, documents and folders. Moreover, organization must identify which files on SharePoint are more easily accessed through the suite...or, to leave them on the file server to share.
"You need to decide if the files on those servers can really benefit from being accessed via a SharePoint document library, rather than being accessed through a file share."
For smaller businesses, the jump to SharePoint should be in steps, even opting to use an outsourced hosting service: Licensing is frankly expensive, particularly when considering the costs of SQL Server licenses.
As a practical matter, site sponsor CipherPoint Software provides transparent encryption and access control products that address security issues for both file servers, and for on-premises SharePoint.