My company has a requirement for field personnel to complete a variety of paper forms in the the field, in areas of little or no connectivity.

We have identified a mobile data collection application that allows employees to complete forms offline and sync data back when connections permit. This application then posts data to our SharePoint Online 2013 environment, each unique form posting to a corresponding unique SPO list. From there it can be accessed by employees and reported against using PowerBI.

Using SPO as the storage for this form data is not intended to be a permanent solution - we anticipate it being only an 18-24 month solution as we intend to rebuild it on another platform.

Our infrastructure group is concerned about storing this data in SPO citing the following concerns:

  1. Total number of list items
  2. Overal data size in SPO
  3. The affect of numbers 1 and 2 on other SPO applications and the general performance of our tenant.

Here's some information on anticipated items and size based on a 3 month trial we completed. The data below was extrapolated from that and pushed out to 36 months of use - more than we would anticipate.

Total number of forms (list items) submitted - 2,850,000 These would be distributed across 39 individual SPO lists, not evenly though. 2 lists may approach 1,000,000 items each

Total size occupied in SPO - 165Gb - Of this, 159GB are signature images from the forms (small PNGs) stored in the Pictures folder.
- Actual form data in the 39 lists would be approximately 4.8Gb. - We may modify the forms to require an employee number be entered instead of the signature eliminating 159Gb

I'd like some of your high-level opinions of suitability of SPO 2013 to handle the above data requirements.

Thank you very much in advance.

  1. Total number of list items: As per SharePoint 2013 guideline it support 30,000,000 items in a list.
  2. Overall data size in SPO: its depend upon your Plan but you can also buy extra storage as well. But i think initially you get 1 TB.
  3. The affect of numbers 1 and 2 on other SPO applications and the general performance of our tenant.: Now most import part is how you retrieve the information from list, Their is limitation in view. You can not view more than 5000 Items in a view, also called List view threshold. You have to plan it what will be your strategy to deal with a list with more than 5K items. Keep in mind Microsoft almost releasing the new version of SharePoint in which they are going to increase that limit what numbers don't yet but sure more than 5k.

I don't see any performance impact. Only way, if you increase the LVTH( only available at on prem), which is not possible at SPO.


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  • To add to Waqas, you can use indexing in SPO so that you can still query against your data. Crossing the 5k limit will break all sorting/filtering, etc. So long as you don't have more than 5k indexes and no more than 5k records in each index. I've built REST API applications in SPO with great success against lists with over 100k lines of data. The queries run really quick as well with the indexing set up. Important to keep in mind with this approach, that recycle bin data, both first and second stage counts towards your record count on your indexes. – Nate Apr 5 '16 at 19:09

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