Product Review: DocAve by AvePoint
I wrote the blog The Challenging Task of Managing SharePoint Permissions about one of the weaknesses in SharePoint that has to do with managing secure access and permissions. I decided to look for some third-party answers and found several products that offer the type of solutions that enterprises running SharePoint really need. Although there are several vendors that offer SharePoint administration and security tools, there are some that seem to be more prominent, such as Quest, AvePoint, and Barracuda. I decided to review these products to find out how they’ve addressed the gap created by the lack of better management of permissions in MOSS 2007.
Last time I reviewed Barracuda’s DeliverPoint. In this article, I was hoping to review a product from AvePoint called DocAve because I was under the impression that DocAve provides the ability to manage granular permissions but accordingly to their Tech Support it does not, at least not in the current DocAve 5 version. So my review is not going to be as comprehensive as I had originally planned. Consider this a partial review.
AvePoint’s DocAve is a very comprehensive solution for better SharePoint management and protection. Unlike Barracuda’s product DeliverPoint, which is geared towards solving the permission management challenges in SharePoint, DocAve integrates AvePoint’s backup, administration, replication, and data management technologies into an enterprise-level solution for all Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies. AvePoint offers two versions of this product, one for SharePoint 2003 and the other for SharePoint 2007.
DocAve consists of 4 major modules.
1. SharePoint Backup & Recovery
2. Administration & Replication
3. SharePoint Compliance
4. Migration to SharePoint
I found the product very easy to install but overall I was not impressed by the product at all. I only focused on their Administration and Backup/Recovery modules. I could never get the product to properly communicate with my Active Directory (AD) server. Although portions of the product were communicating with AD just fine and I was able to add AD accounts in some places (like Central Administration within DocAve) but some areas would not allow me to enable AD-integration. I spoke to at least 3 different people on their Tech Support staff, including one of their most senior engineers, but after spending hours we still couldn’t make the AD-integration to work properly.
I was able to get the Backup/Recovery module to work but the terminology that DocAve uses can be rather confusing. For example, for restoration you have the following 4 options: Not Overwrite, Overwrite, Append, and Replace. Unless you thoroughly understand each one of these you can get yourself into some serious trouble. DocAve supports item-level permissions and it works just as advertised.
Everyone that I spoke to at AvePoint was very courteous and helpful. Unfortunately, I was not impressed by their DocAve product. May be because my expectations were too high. Also, keep in mind that I only evaluated two modules, not the entire product. I am sure AvePoint will clean things up and the next version of DocAve will address some of its shortcomings.
You can download a 30-day evaluation version of DocAve v5 here.
Copyright ©2009 Zubair Alexander. All rights reserved.