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Consider a scenario that I have a document of 100 kB, stored in a document library where versioning is turned on.

Now I add a few lines to it and remove a few lines. The new size is 105 kB.

Would the overall space required by this file be 205kB or somewhere closer to 105 kB = 100 + 5 (difference between two files) ?

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Found the answer here: https://community.office365.com/en-us/f/154/t/353983

Actually, a new minor version is just the incremental change from the previous version. When you create a new minor version of a document, the incremental changes are stored in SQL Server, rather than a complete new copy of the document. This provides the most efficient storage and helps reduce overall storage requirements.

In addition, when creating major versions, it will take up the storage. To control the effect on storage space, you can specify how many previous major versions to keep, counting back from the current version. You can also specify how many major versions being kept should include their respective minor versions.

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From Plan document versioning:

When you create a new version of a document, the incremental changes are stored in SQL Server, rather than a complete new copy of the document.

In depth, it's handled by Shredded Storage that covers not only versions, but all BLOBs in general.

You might want to take a look at SQL queries in that article and maybe give them a try in your test environment while performing the sample scenario you described.


Practically file versions are stored in increments, however I'd rely on documentation when planning overall farm capacity:

Formula to estimate content database storage

Database size = ((D × V) × S) + (10 KB × (L + (V × D)))

  • Calculate the expected number of documents. This value is known as D in the formula.
  • Estimate the average size of the documents that you'll be storing. This value is known as S in the formula.
  • Estimate the number of list items in the environment. This value is known as L in the formula.
  • Determine the approximate number of versions. [...] This value is known as V in the formula.

This estimation formula could be expressed like: Database size = DV × (S + 10 KB) + 10 KB × L (each document version takes full size).

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