Scaling
SharePoint

London, UK - Published April 3rd 2021

One question we're frequently asked because Atvero is built on SharePoint is "What about the 5000 item limit?". More generally, the question really is one of if SharePoint and therefore Atvero can scale to support the number and size of projects a business is likely to have.

Let's look at some of the documented limits of SharePoint itself. Atvero creates a SharePoint site for each project. Each organisation can have up to two million sites within a Microsoft 365 tenancy. Our largest customer currently has 6400 projects under Atvero control, so there's quite a lot of headroom until that two million limit is reached.

The limits for storage are similarly large. Each site (and so each Atvero Project) can use up to 25TB of storage. Note that this is the storage limit for a single site, not the amount of storage provided for a site. SharePoint admins can also set lower storage limits at a site level.

A document library can have 30 million files and folders. An individual file can be up to 250GB in size. A site can contain multiple document libraries, and Atvero splits content across several depending on the document type. There's a limit of around 100,000 files in a library before special rules apply for security settings.

Atvero stores information about the project information such as metadata in SharePoint lists. An individual SharePoint list can hold 30 million items.

Given all the limits above, where does the frequent question about the "5000 item limit" come from, especially as we know we can hold 30 million items in a list. The 5000 item limit applies to the user interface presented by SharePoint in its standard views. Once a list has over 5000 items, whilst the list itself can be scrolled through to view all items, the user is limited when presenting information that's filtered or sorted.

Atvero is not limited by this because of the way it's built. Rather than a customization of a standard SharePoint view, Atvero is delivered using the SharePoint Framework (SPFX) as a standalone application that can be embedded into standard SharePoint pages. This lets us call the SharePoint APIs (through SharePoint and MS Graph) to access the items in the list directly, and display them to the user. The APIs we use don't have the same 5000 item limit, and so we can present the complete list however we want. Some of the bigger projects under Atvero control have over 13,000 records corresponding to similarly large SharePoint lists, and whilst the standard SharePoint UI is limited, Atvero has no problems at all.

There is another 5000 item limit under the hood to look at for completeness. You can't search or filter on a SharePoint list column once the number of items exceeds 5000, unless you apply an index to the column. Atvero does this automatically for all columns that will be used for search and filtering and so again we see great performance and no limits on the largest projects we control.

In summary, whilst the standard SharePoint views do have some limitations applied by Microsoft to limit the resource utilization that occurs through naiive use of the standard list browsers, the database technology backing SharePoint doesn't have these limits, and through careful use of the APIs and indexing, we're confident Atvero can handle any size of project you want to throw at it. We've found a site with 13,000 records containing 26,000 revisions, 30,000 files and 135,000 files and folders in a document library performs as well as a small project with 100 records and 200 files.

Atvero is a Cloud-based Project Information Management solution for design and construction companies who have, or who are looking to have Microsoft 365 technology at the core of their business and IT investment. With Atvero and SharePoint online, email, documents and drawings are managed through project workflows, quality checks to project delivery; providing compliance to industry (ISO 19650-2) or company/project standards. With Atvero’s ease of use and rapid deployment online, Atvero adds immediate value by increasing productivity, improving quality and reducing risk on project delivery.

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