Univé Regio+ Optimizes Microsoft SharePoint Storage and Improves Performance with Xblox B.V./Docubird Solutions and DocAve

Success Highlights

Automatically externalized SharePoint content to external storage by creating retention rules for specific document types – saving time and money spent on manually processing workflows
Externalized millions of documents amounting to 10 terabytes (TB) of binary large object (BLOB) data, reducing content database size by 99.5 percent
Improved search performance for end users, delivering results up to 20 percent faster than before
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Customer Location The Netherlands

Industry Insurance

Platform SharePoint 2010

Critical Needs

  • Reduce size of content database to improve performance
  • Automate storage management process to align with organizational retention rules

The Challenge

With more than 1,200 end users accessing millions of documents – including client files, policies, identity forms, and claims – the SharePoint environments of five Univé companies quickly grew larger than 10 TB. This was well-above Microsoft-recommended limits for content database storage and resulted in poor performance for users. “We had many users complaining that they could not find documents fast enough,” said Anton Huisman, ICT at Univé Regio+. “Because of the millions of documents we had on one content database, our search results came in very slowly.”

To help create a cost-effective, enterprise-level solution, Univé Regio+ consulted Xblox B.V./Docubird, a SharePoint document management expert. “Univé Regio+’s content databases became too large to back up every day, and queries were taking too long,” said Christiaan Ferreira, Managing Partner at Xblox. “We needed to implement a solution to offload BLOB files.”

Univé Regio+ also saw challenges in its SharePoint management processes, which were time consuming and manual. Because of restrictions within the financial industry, the organisation’s storage management process involved manual review of certain content types to be offloaded. “Working in financial markets where there are rules about how you treat peoples’ data, you need to back it up a certain way,” Ferreira said. “For example, the government has restrictions on certain document types, such as copies of identification, that are only allowed to be stored on file for a set period of time.”

Univé Regio+ needed to find a solution to automate storage management so it could save time and money spent on manual content review and offloading. In order to do this, Huisman enlisted Xblox’s expertise in SharePoint management.

Because we were able to automate SharePoint storage management with DocAve, we had an increase in trust from our users and spent much less time and money on manual processes.
Anton Huisman
ICT, Univé Regio+

The AvePoint Solution

To address the customer’s immediate storage needs, Xblox decided to implement DocAve Software, AvePoint’s enterprise-class management platform for SharePoint. Specifically, Xblox utilizes DocAve Storage Manager to segment content types, manage retention lists, and offload BLOBs to external storage.

In order to externalize only certain kinds of content, Xblox uses DocAve to run rule-based jobs. With DocAve Storage Manager, Xblox has the ability to segment data easily. “With DocAve Storage Manager, I am able to set up retention rules for different content types,” Ferreira said. “As an example, I can create retention rules that determine how long a certain content type is allowed to live in a certain location. Then, I can run tasks continuously to externalize items if they exceed the allowed retention time.”

Using rules like this allowed Xblox to offload 10 TB of data for Univé Regio+, resulting in substantial benefits for the organisation. Whereas previously personnel would manually review content to go into storage (a time-consuming process subject to human error), DocAve now allows IT to create its own rule-based jobs that run automatically. “DocAve’s biggest impact on our business was the automation of our SharePoint storage management workflow,” Huisman said. “By automating this process, we saw fewer mistakes and were able to find files more easily. Because we saved time, we also saved money.”

With BLOB data externalized through DocAve and SharePoint content databases optimized, Univé Regio+ and Xblox saw an enormous boost in performance. “SharePoint performance improved drastically, with some content databases shrinking from 400 gigabytes (GB) to just 40 GB,” Ferreira said. “SQL Server now only holds 50 GB of data, and the environment is much more lightweight. With BLOB data externalized, SharePoint returns search results much faster than before.”

“Now that we’ve offloaded so many documents, our search results come up about 20 percent faster, which means our end users are happier,” Huisman said.

The Road Ahead

With DocAve, Xblox was able to help five of Univé’s companies meet Microsoft-recommended limits for content database storage, boosting platform performance and improving user experience significantly. Additionally, DocAve allows Xblox to implement retention rules and automatically offload specific content types – a major time-saver for the customer. “Because we were able to automate SharePoint storage management with DocAve, we had an increase in trust from our users and spent much less time and money on manual processes,” Huisman said. “We’re very happy with this solution.”

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