Among the features that set M-Files apart from other document management systems is the way it keeps track of documents. All metadata is contained in Firebird, a separate open-source database that's installed along with the M-Files software for Windows Server. This identifies files based on "what they are, not where they are," according to the company. Systems such as Microsoft SharePoint inject metadata into existing files when they're scanned by the system for management. This places a tagging burden up front, but offers a more flexible system in the end. For organizations with a preference, M-Files offers the option of replacing Firebird with Microsoft SQL Server.