SharePoint Replication

The Lights Are On But Nobody's Home
It's never exciting to be in a position to have to apologize, and unfortunately, that's exactly where we find ourselves this week. Last week, our beloved Office & SharePoint Pro Web site decided to take a long nap, and never woke up. Unfortunately, I'm not privy to the cause of the problem, only to the pain it caused many folks in our community. All I can say is, "I'm very sorry," and I know the team is working hard to make sure we don't suffer such an extended outage--or even any outage--in the future. But the site is up and running and open for business again!

SharePoint Replication (Part 1)
While the site was snoozin', I was not. One of my favorite clients led me down a path I haven't had to spend too much time on, to date: SharePoint replication. The scenario is about as simple as they come. A single document library needs to be replicated from one site to another. One way. Simple. But mission critical.

There are, as far as I can tell, three major players in the replication "space:" Syntergy, Colligo, and Infonic. All three of these vendors have great reputations. Over coming weeks I'll share my experiences with evaluating their products for this requirement. For those of you considering replicating SharePoint between servers, or from servers to mobile, offline clients, each of these companies have a story to tell. And I'm finding, as I would hope to, that they each take a unique perspective on the problem, so they each present a unique solution that makes a "single recommendation" impossible. I like it when it turns out that way.

I'd like to get your experience with these products, or with any I've missed, or with your own solutions. Please post your thoughts in my thread about WAN and replication products.

Last week, I discussed a dirty little secret for upgrading and migrating SharePoint--a method I called the "rip and load." Several readers wrote me to indicate they've used the method with success, as well. Always great to hear I'm not alone! The next test I'm going to run on SharePoint replication might also lead to a dirty little secret that perhaps one of our readers already knows. There are several products out there, such as WebDrive that expose SharePoint document libraries using WebDav. WebDrive, for example, apparently allows you to map a drive to a SharePoint document library, which sounds very cool.

I usually don't mention something before getting personal experience with it, but it will take me a week or two to get around to testing this theory: Can you use Robocopy (or something similar) to synchronize document libraries if you have something like WebDrive creating direct "hooks" into the document libraries? It certainly isn't the right solution for every scenario, but I'm excited to try this out for simple scenarios where you just need to distribute documents to WSS document libraries. I'll let you know what I find out, and will look forward to hearing from any of you who've found "dirty little secrets" to help replicate SharePoint libraries or lists.

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