Cloud Q&A: AvePoint Takes The Cloud Leap

AvePoint had a unique challenge: Redesigning DocAve to work with the cloud-based version of Microsoft Office. Another in an ongoing series of interview from Doug Barney.

Doug Barney talks with AvePoint about its unique cloud-based challenges in making DocAve work natively with Office 365. Another in a continuing series of conversations with companies making the cloud transition.

What did it take to move DocAve to the cloud?
DocAve is based heavily on a manager-agent relationship for enterprise scaling and performance. We were able to easily make the move to Windows Azure Virtual Machines. In redesigning the solution for supporting Office 365, AvePoint engineers re-architected a solution to utilize CSOM/Web Services along with a "remote-agent" model, as there was no place to install our agents directly on Office 365's hardware. Windows Azure provided the perfect platform for this development.

How does a customer make the transition?
AvePoint provides migration services for the entire on-premises SharePoint farm to Office 365, or the ability to granularly move content onto the cloud using DocAve Content manager. Users simply map their source and destination, pick from a few optimizations and filters based on their preferences, and can then launch the move or schedule it to run at a convenient time.

Is there interoperability?
Many organizations are looking at a "hybrid" approach -- utilizing both on-premises and cloud environments -- for a number of reasons, ranging from data sovereignty to utilizing the cloud as an intranet/extranet solution. DocAve products are designed to provide seamless management across mixed workloads. So, no matter if you're on-premise, hosted in Windows Azure Virtual Machines, running on Office 365, or some combination of these, AvePoint has have a toolset for your specific need.

What has been the customer reaction?
Customers have been anxious to move to the cloud due to uncertainty. The DocAve suite of products provides them with confidence that the same robust tool sets they enjoy on-premise will be available no matter where they go. We've had a lot of people get excited and start envisioning deployment scenarios they thought were never possible until we introduced our tools. This immediately makes the prospect of Azure or Office 365 more attractive to the customer.

What are the economic advantages?
The customer experiences the typical benefits of moving to the cloud, such as reduced hardware and maintenance costs. The ability to spin up environments on different platforms as the business grows is also a great advantage. Instead of having to spin up a farm to mirror their large central data center back home, a company can quickly deploy SharePoint Online on Office 365 or clone and migrate their Virtual Hard Disks to Azure.

Based on this experience, are you doing more cloud work?
Without a doubt. We are currently working on Windows Azure hosted applications for the SharePoint 2013 Marketplace and have plans for further enhancing our current platform with a suite of reporting and compliance solutions for Office 365.

What is the best compliment you've heard from customers?
No matter what platform we're on or what solution a customer is using, we always receive rave reviews for our 24/7 global, live customer support team. Particularly when it comes to cloud solutions, it is vital that customers are confident they can receive the help they need to keep their mission-critical software up and running.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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