Metalogix Updates SharePoint Strategy, UI for Axceler Tools
Metalogix, a provider of content infrastructure software, updated the interface for its ControlPoint SharePoint administration tool from its Axcelor acquisition. It's also giving us a clearer view of its overall strategy on the shifting SharePoint landscape.

Murky SharePoint Strategy

Customers use Metalogix products to upgrade, migrate, organize, store, archive and replicate content on Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange and Cloud platforms. And any company operating in the vast ecosystem of SharePoint tools has to contend with one messy reality.

Microsoft simply isn't saying as much as it could about its plans for maintaining what are virtually two different products: SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online.

Microsoft is investing heavily in SharePoint Online. While SharePoint Server will continue to get regular upgrades, it seems likely the focus on the cloud will affect on premises products, said Jeffrey Mann, Gartner's research vice president, said during a recent Gartner Symposium.

"We wish there was more detail with the SharePoint road map," Jignesh Shah, chief strategy and marketing officer at Metalogix, said in an interview. "You could argue SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server are not the same product today. But Microsoft is committed to on premises customers. It's just that some areas of the cloud will be updated faster and will integrate more with other Microsoft products."

The Metalogix team recently met with Microsoft. Shah said his company tries to align with Microsoft's vision. He also clued us into what customers are working on with their SharePoint Online migrations. Moving email to the cloud is one of the most popular. Social sync and share are other popular cloud migrations, he added, and customers are increasingly looking to host their SharePoint deployments on AWS, Azure or Rackspace.

This allows them to do more customization, Jignesh said, noting that Office 365 simply isn't enough for those customers. Hosting and managing SharePoint servers in those environments allows companies to have more control and be more elastic like when they need to scale workloads up or down.

The app model is a move in the right direction as well, Shah added, and Microsoft clearly sees companies want to extend SharePoint.  "The app model also helps with discoverability and it seems Microsoft got it right."

ControlPoint 5.2 Rolls Out

Metalogix has rolled out ControlPoint 5.2. Besides adding its own logo to the product, user controls are meant to be more accessible to business users, Gail Shlansky, an Axceler senior director of product management (now with Metalogix, of course) said in an interview.

"In a SharePoint deployment, IT wants control, but they like to give responsibility to others for day to day managing," she said. "With this update, IT can be comfortable knowing nobody has access to things they aren't allowed to." 

Business users and non technical staff can be inside SharePoint working on their projects, while IT maintains a high level of control over who does what. Shah and Shlansky said Metalogix customers should feel like they have access to the best of breed in SharePoint tools, and future updates like mobile friendly tools that are now in the works.

The mobile update will arrive in 2014, but Shah could not be more specific about a release date than that, he said. Metalogix competes most often with companies like AvePoint. Shah claims his company's focus on a best of breed approach is what differentiates it.