This week has been a busy one for Microsoft. Outlook.com went down because of overheating in data centers while there have been a couple of releases for SharePoint including Metalogix for big files and ShareVault’s document transfer for SharePoint. Kofax has also upgraded is capture capabilities.

Outlook.com Problems

Yesterday we chronicled the Outlook.com outage and Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to sort it out. As of the close of business last night there were still no indications as to what happened -- just Microsoft offering profuse apologies, but little in the way of explanation.

This morning on the Office blog, however, it said that the outage had been caused by overheated data centers. The post goes:

…On the afternoon of the 12th, in one physical region of one of our datacenters, we performed our regular process of updating the firmware on a core part of our physical plant. This is an update that had been done successfully previously, but failed in this specific instance in an unexpected way. This failure resulted in a rapid and substantial temperature spike in the datacenter. This spike was significant enough before it was mitigated that it caused our safeguards to come in to place for a large number of servers in this part of the datacenter.

These safeguards prevented access to mailboxes housed on these servers and also prevented any other pieces of our infrastructure to automatically failover and allow continued access…

While it’s good to know that there are “safeguards in place” to protect servers, it is not very reassuring for users who have no idea if or when this will happen again.

The is particularly problematic as Microsoft is pushing Outlook.com as the answer to the Hotmail problems with all Hotmail users finally being pushed across to Outlook this month.

Microsoft says it is working on solutions to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. That’s good. But it will have to say what those solutions are if users are to have any kind of confidence.

Metalogix Upgrades SharePoint File Storage

For SharePoint this week, Metalogix, which develops performance enhancing software for SharePoint has again pushed the file size limits that can be stored and accessed in SharePoint, while working with the existing metadata management and workflows using StoragePoint.

According to Metalogix, users will now be able to backup files over 2GB in size across SharePoint with the new StoragePoint that can be integrated with both SharePoint 2010 and with the upcoming 2013 version.

For organizations that work with large files associated with media or engineering, for example, it has not been possible to store this files in SharePoint because of file size limitations.

This was a real draw back for the many companies that use, or want to use SharePoint, who are currently being forced to store these files outside of SharePoint creating massive governance headaches.

StoragePoint also manages BLOBs by continuously backing them up, or externalizing content when it is appropriate. More on this at the Metalogix website

ShareVault for SharePoint

This week, ShareVault has also been busy with SharePoint this week with the launch of a secure document sharing app called ShareVault for SharePoint.

It seems that ShareVault doesn’t believe that there is enough collaborative functionality for documents in SharePoint and has decided to provide an application that enables users to share confidential documents outside the firewall.

ShareVault allows SharePoint content to be shared with external parties while keeping the information secure and requires no software download to the SharePoint environment.

With it users upload file structures and documents directly from SharePoint to ShareVault and then invite outside parties to view the documents within ShareVault. It uses automatic sync to keep all files up to date. 

Kofax TM v6.0

Moving away from SharePoint to document and content capture from Kofax. Over the course of Transform this week Kofax made made a couple of announcements, not least of which is the release of Transformation Modules 6.0.

With v6.0, Kofax offers users Touchless Processing that can classify, separate and extract content from any document type, including unstructured documents, and of course, structured documents.

The new features facilitates the rubber-banding of the content in documents that needs to be extracted in a limited set of sample documents and then uses ‘smart’ learning techniques to take the desired information for other documents and improves its abilities to do so over time.

The bottom line here is that it can drastically reduce the amount of information that needs to be captured manually or the laborious process of document review and data entry giving organizations cheaper and more extensive views of information contained in documents. If you’re interested in more on this check out the Kofax site.