Knowsley Council Restores Microsoft SharePoint Data 98% Faster and Prepares for Seamless 1.5 TB SharePoint 2013 Migration with DocAve

Critical Needs

  • Granular SharePoint data recovery
  • Automated backups of critical SharePoint content
  • Flexible migration capabilities

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Success Highlights

  • Granularly restored SharePoint content within five minutes, 98 percent faster than a previous third-party solution
  • Scheduled automatic full and incremental backups to ensure high availability of critical organisational data
  • Prepared to complete a direct migration of 1.5 terabytes (TB) of data from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2013 through a staged approach, enabling flexibility and maintaining all metadata throughout the process
quote As a system administrator, it’s great to have one console to manage all aspects of a major application like SharePoint with DocAve. quote
John Mullen Technical Analyst, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

The Challenge

Knowsley Council has been using SharePoint extensively since 2006, with the majority of its 2,500 users accessing the platform on a daily basis. For the organisation’s workers, the aim was to improve collaboration. The starting point was to establish SharePoint as a document repository, which enabled collaboration, centralising resources and project management to follow. SharePoint rapidly became vital to the operation of the organisation. To ensure continuous availability of data, IT administrators used a third-party solution to restore SharePoint data. However, it only allowed them to restore at a database level and was not a viable long-term solution. “We quickly realized that we had a problem restoring documents at a granular level,” said Sam Maiden, Technical Solutions Manager at Knowsley Council. “If someone logs a call about a lost report, we don’t want to have to restore a 300 megabyte (MB) database just to restore a 10 MB item.”

In addition to data recovery, IT also experienced issues with SharePoint backups. While looking for a solution to optimize backups and storage, administrators relied on complicated, time-consuming fixes. “Whenever we received a call to restore an item, we had to run a third-party application to interrogate where the deleted files were in the SQL database,” Maiden said. “It would take half a day to restore the content for the user, which was not ideal.”

With data recovery making up 90 percent of support calls, IT administrators needed an efficient, time-saving solution for item-level SharePoint data restoration.

The AvePoint Solution

After researching several solutions in the marketplace, Knowsley Council decided to implement DocAve Software, AvePoint’s enterprise-class infrastructure management platform for SharePoint. “We were highly impressed by what we saw,” said John Mullen, Technical Analyst at Knowsley Council. “We had a look at the rest of the marketplace, and we felt DocAve was the best offering available.”

To address data protection requirements and ensure fast recovery of data for its users, Knowsley Council uses DocAve Backup and Restore. “When we looked at other vendors, we saw that other solutions couldn’t do what DocAve could do,” Maiden said. “Granular recovery wasn’t as quick with other solutions. When we implemented DocAve, it really sped up the item recovery process. Now it only takes five minutes at most.”

Aside from improved data recovery, Knowsley Council also benefits from DocAve’s backup capabilities. With DocAve, IT can schedule both incremental and platform-level backups. “Our old backup solutions took up more disk space because they involved taking large snapshots,” Maiden said. “It couldn’t do the incremental backups that DocAve can do. Now, all of our data is protected on the platform as well as through our platform backups. Any information that’s critical to the business can be recovered quickly.”

As a centralised platform, DocAve enables administrators to easily manage multiple SharePoint management solutions from one interface. “As a system administrator, it’s great to have one console to manage all aspects of a major application like SharePoint with DocAve,” Mullen said. “It’s one less console for me to log into and look after. Plus, it’s very easy to use.”

Beyond its need for enhanced SharePoint data protection, Knowsley Council also faced a diminishing window of SharePoint 2007 support from Microsoft and needed to migrate 1.5 TB of its data to SharePoint 2013. Having conducted a migration from SharePoint 2003 to SharePoint Server 2007 in the past, the council’s IT administrators knew how challenging migrations could be.

With this in mind, Knowsley Council’s IT administrators are preparing to migrate from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2013 using DocAve Migrator – also part of the DocAve Software Platform. DocAve Migrator provides an efficient, cost-effective solution for migrating business-critical content from previous versions of SharePoint directly into the latest, feature-rich releases of the platform. “We’re looking forward to the flexibility that the tool is going to give us,” Maiden said. “We want to get to the new platform quickly and efficiently, and DocAve’s ability to test as well as perform staged migrations gives us the flexibility we need. That was something that stood out for me from a project point of view.”

DocAve also enables Knowsley Council to carry out a full-fidelity migration, which will help maintain important information around the organisation’s SharePoint content. “We can take documents and sites across platforms with all metadata,” Maiden said. “We can also do some housekeeping during the migration process, allowing us to clean up any unwanted content instead of migrating everything.”

The Bottom Line

With a solid data protection solution in place that allows the council’s administrators to restore data granularly in minutes and perform scheduled, automatic backups, the organisation is looking forward to its migration to SharePoint 2013. ”It certainly gives me a degree of comfort to know that, with DocAve, we’re not going to have the problems we had when we migrated from SharePoint 2003 to SharePoint 2007,” Maiden said. “It’s something you definitely want to have going into a migration project like this. It’s going to shorten the project timeframe, and I feel confident that we’re going to hit our deadlines. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

About Knowsley Council

The Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council serves the residents, businesses, visitors, and families in and around the borough of Knowsley.

Knowsley Council