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As Microsoft's collaboration app gains popularity, it will hold more and more corporate data; however, protecting that data isn't so easy.
In my last column (see "Are backups a waste of time?," Storage
, March 2007), I suggested that, given the range of data protection options available today, it's necessary to develop a more unified view of how various data protection components are deployed in an environment. To accomplish that, one must adopt a view of data protection from the application perspective. This generally involves sitting down with a team, including members from applications, database, storage and backup, to piece together the various data protection activities each group performs. From there, one might hope to identify duplicate or overlapping activities to improve efficiency or identify/fix holes in the data protection plan. Less common is the opportunity to design a comprehensive data protection strategy from scratch for a new app. Rarer still is the opportunity to do that for a new class of application.
With the release of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, organizations find themselves in the last situation. The latest version of SharePoint features new functionality and a degree of integration with other Office products that will likely cause it to become a de facto standard for collaboration in many environments--but don't construe that as a recommendation or endorsement. The wisdom of relocating documents from a file system to a database is debatable, but I suspect it will become a fact of life that many storage and data protection professionals will need to address.
SharePoint presents a number of data protection challenges that, in a large enterprise, can result in significant levels of complexity rather quickly. Furthermore, by its very nature, SharePoint can mushroom throughout an organization, leading to high storage consumption levels. It's therefore critical that storage and data protection groups work with application teams to plan an effective data protection strategy. Let's look at the structure of SharePoint and its built-in data protection capabilities, and then discuss some approaches to ensure efficient recoverability.
This was first published in May 2007