“DocAve Backup and Restore really filled a huge void for us in terms of SharePoint data protection.”
-Don Wilson – Senior Consultant, AgResearch
AgResearch is one of New Zealand’s leading research organisations focused on helping the country lead the world in creating sustainable wealth in the pastoral farming sector through application of leading-edge knowledge and technologies. AgResearch employs approximately 900 individuals throughout the country. The organisation has four research centres, including two in the North Island and two in the South Island. Its corporate office is on the Ruakura campus, on the outskirts of Hamilton city.
AgResearch uses SharePoint extensively for document and records management as well as its intranet, public-facing website, and team collaboration sites. It is also working toward utilizing SharePoint’s wiki functions. Because of the company’s distributed environment, it is important AgResearch’s staff in all locations have the ability to access, share, and collaborate on content from a central repository.
Over the years, AgResearch has built up extensive collections of sites, libraries, lists, and documents. Because of the organisation’s heavy reliance on the platform, the large amount of important legacy data in the system, and new content being created every day, it is vital AgResearch has comprehensive protection over its entire SharePoint farm and the ability to quickly restore any content erroneously deleted by end-users.
AgResearch initially used SharePoint 2003 native backup and restore capabilities to fill these needs, but quickly found these tools lacked core functionality. The Central Administration Backup tool offered at the time natively only backs up farms to the content database level, offers no granular customisations, and is especially difficult to schedule.
Since SharePoint’s native tools at that time could only back up the farm down to the content database level, it was extremely difficult to restore single items and documents when necessary. To partially mitigate this issue, AgResearch implemented a script to export sites using the STSADM utility. This allowed an individual site to be restored, but still did not provide item level restores. If an important item needed to be restored, the process involved restoring an entire site to a temporary location and then recovering the individual document. This process – which took at least one hour for each restore – was far too resource intensive for AgResearch’s needs. Once retrieved, the item would also be void of its metadata and version history.
Additionally, backups were not easily schedulable, so they often ran into standard operating hours. This caused SharePoint to slow down significantly, which was problematic as it made working conditions difficult for end-users and subsequently discouraged use of the platform.
In order to schedule backups that would not disrupt business and restore items on a granular level, AgResearch began its search for a third-party backup and recovery solution.
After investigating several third-party solutions, AgResearch ultimately selected AvePoint’s DocAve Backup and Restore for SharePoint tool after testing a trial version of the solution. AgResearch quickly realised DocAve Backup and Restore fulfilled the company’s need for a fast, flexible, and intelligent backup solution.
Offering true enterprise-level backup, DocAve Backup and Restore protects the SharePoint environment in its entirety with full fidelity, including all metadata, securities, and version histories. DocAve’s convenient scheduler allowed AgResearch to run the backup process during off-hours according to their organisational needs, so business was no longer disrupted.
“Because DocAve’s backup of our SharePoint environment can automatically run off-hours, our system isn’t slowed down during business hours,” said Dave Franklin, AgResearch’s desktop support engineer. “When I arrive to work in the morning, there is always an email waiting for me to inform me of the backup’s success.”
AgResearch’s need to quickly and easily recover all SharePoint components was also fulfilled by DocAve. The platform’s ability to granularly restore via an intuitive timeline-based Restore Controller enables deft recovery of critical documents, sites, or subsites directly to the original media. All restores of missing or corrupted content could be processed in a live SharePoint environment during standard hours of operation.
“Before DocAve, restoring a single lost document would take at least an hour or more to accomplish,” said Mr. Franklin. “ With DocAve Backup and Restore it only takes approximately five minutes.”
With DocAve running customised backups across the organisation’s SharePoint farm on a regularly scheduled basis and content recovery happening more swiftly than ever before, AgResearch’s IT administrators were able to meet service level agreements and save valuable time that could be spent on other projects. “DocAve Backup & Restore really filled a huge void for us in terms of SharePoint data protection,” said Don Wilson, AgResearch’s senior consultant.
With DocAve Backup and Restore in place from 2004 onward, AgResearch was able to fully customise their backups and schedule them to run during optimal hours when business would be affected the least. Additionally, they were able to complete granular restores down to the item level, locating and retrieving documents through a process significantly simpler and faster than SharePoint’s native tools allowed. End-users could also rest assured their lost documents would be returned in the exact state in which they existed before deletion or corruption, as DocAve backs up and restores with full fidelity – including all metadata, securities, and version histories.
Throughout its use of DocAve, AgResearch found AvePoint’s live global technical support to be extremely helpful and responsive. “Whenever we’ve encountered any challenges, support has always responded with a solution that took care of the problem within the day,” said Mr. Franklin.
In the near future, AgResearch plans to upgrade their SharePoint environment from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010. For this process, they will rely on DocAve Migrator, just as they did when they successfully upgraded from SharePoint 2003 to MOSS 2007. With the help of AvePoint’s technical support team, AgResearch has been developing a migration plan that works best for their specific requirements.
Similar to their experience with Backup and Restore, AgResearch’s administrators are confident DocAve will greatly simplify the process with its scheduling ability and transfer documents with full fidelity.
AvePoint is a global technology company and proven software leader. Since its founding in 2001, AvePoint has become the world’s largest provider of enterpriseclass governance and infrastructure management solutions for Microsoft SharePoint. Propelled by the world’s largest SharePoint-exclusive research & development team, AvePoint helps more than 10,000 customers – including many Fortune 500 companies and government agencies – meet their specific business objectives utilising the SharePoint platform. AvePoint, Inc. is headquartered and maintains its principal operational centre in Jersey City, NJ, with wholly owned operational centres in the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, and China. AvePoint is a Depth Managed Microsoft Gold Certified Portals and Collaboration Partner and Gold Certified ISV Partner as well as a US Government GSA provider via strategic partnerships.
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