We’ve heard plenty of news lately coming from our fellow SharePoint ISVs about ensuring that there is an integrated solution for not only managing the vast amount of information that is currently residing in SharePoint environments, but also ensuring that the information is protected and recoverable even if it is offloaded onto other hierarchal storage investments. Here at AvePoint, we’re happy to see others finally recognizing this need, as it is one that we have provided to our customers since 2010.
Through AvePoint’s own SharePoint environment, I can reminisce about product ideas submitted years ago, look at how the market has matured in research articles, study our certifications over the course of 10 years, and look through my own personal notes from SharePoint shows to see how I have changed. You can see much of this history as well on our website.
Just like the family scrapbooks I have at home, maintaining history carries a cost: Eventually we run out of room! I’m thankful to be one of the few New Yorkers with an attic, but the square footage of my house implies a limit is going to be reached sooner or later. Many of our customers came to that realization years ago when we launched our Storage Optimization products in 2006, showing the first signs of moving content “outside” of SharePoint. Predictably, in recent years we’ve seen a slew of vendors follow suit to say “use our archive!” or “sure, we can help move your stuff out!”
Whether we really need all this “stuff” in SharePoint is up for debate. I personally have refused to remove old project files because it feels nice to have history, and I imagine many users feel similar. But even though we let our infrastructure teams move this content to lower tiers of storage, that doesn’t mean it’s less valuable to me, or less important. I want to maintain my history as long as possible!
We understand these pains, and protecting your history is part of what we do. So rather than trust this data and important history to any storage company, what should you look for?
How do I protect my history from administrators, end-users, and myself?
We’ve all experienced the problem of losing work because of an overzealous site administrator (taxonomy first!), due to a migration that left behind content that was deemed unnecessary, or simply from accidental deletions by end-users. My personal favorite (that I am guilty of): “What do you mean versioning isn’t on?”
One of the most difficult things about working with such a user-centric platform as SharePoint is that we’re constantly combating mistakes. It can be as simple as deleting a site or a record (a relatively common permission granted to end-users), or even overwriting a document without versioning. Since 2010, we made it possible to not just back up your production content, but also content on lower tiers of storage as well so that you can recover any item – at any time. We’ve made this process even easier in recent service pack updates, now supporting the snapshot of additional storage locations at the same time as your farm or database level backups, giving you total-farm protection any way that you want it.
How do I protect my history from disaster?
When we talk about moving our content to longer term (lower tiers) of storage and out of Microsoft SQL Server content databases to optimize storage and improve platform performance, we also need to protect that content from disaster. Since DocAve Storage Manager was released in 2012, we have supported the copying of data on write from SharePoint to your backup locations in real time. It’s like making a photocopy of your data to keep offsite as soon as you store it. This is highly valuable in Disaster Recovery (DR) scenarios where we need a mirror image of the data in the destination environment. This process can be enhanced by storage-based redundancy such as Distributed File System (DFS), clustered storage nodes, and volume replication.
Can I maintain my history as I move to the cloud?
I liken the move to the cloud similar to going from a spacious house to a fancy apartment on the Upper East Side. Sure, everything might feel newer, but I’m going to have considerably less room! We can do assessment services to help determine what you should take with you, but even if you’ve determined that there is content that will be staying on premises, we can hold this content in a long-term archive without the SharePoint dependency. This lets you upgrade online to your heart’s content while we maintain an archive compatible with most eDiscovery systems.
Maintaining your history is like maintaining who you are. I love looking back at AvePoint and what we’ve built with our customers over these last 12 years. I’m eager to see what new history we can make together as we continue to help more than 10,000 customers worldwide collaborate with confidence!