If you have ever enabled version history on a document library, you will be quite aware of just how many versions can build up.
In SharePoint 2010, when you enable version history, not only will a new version of the original document be saved when you make any changes to the document but new versions will also be saved each time even when you simply change a field/setting such as modifying a metadata field.
With a new version being saved each time, the amount of BLOBs (binary large object) start to build up very quickly and every save means the whole document plus the change is saved.
Thus, valuable space is quickly consumed, as a 1 MB file can soon start consuming 10MB of storage with its numerous versions.
Figure 1: SharePoint 2010 BLOB Storage
This also means your library becomes an area full of multiple documents with very minor changes between each, making it potentially confusing for users working on them as well as wasting space unnecessarily.
In SharePoint 2013, improvements have been made with what is called ‘Shredding Storage.’ This basically means instead of having a document with minor changes being saved at each step, shredding storage organizes the BLOB into smaller shreds.
Figure 2: SharePoint 2013 BLOB Storage
A BLOB is then a single file where only the differences are saved not an entirely new copy of the document.
For example when a user makes a change to a document, SharePoint 2013 will only save the changes as smaller shreds where they are associated with that document.
This helps your storage space but also reduces the amount of file information that the web server has to work to retrieve from the content database.
This new storage model in SharePoint 2013 provides smooth I/O patterns, reducing the File I/O updates to Office Documents while saving on storage space.