AvePoint, a provider of governance and infrastructure management solutions for Microsoft SharePoint, is making its new DocAve File Share Navigator solution generally available. The application enables access to and retrieval of file share content through SharePoint lists without migration.

Opening File Share Content to SharePoint

DocAve File Share Navigator is essentially designed to directly provide thumbnail views and preview displays of Office, PDF and picture files within SharePoint, eliminating the need for content migration. Specific features include the ability to expose file share content through one or many SharePoint lists, and direct links to file share content, which AvePoint says reduces load on Web front end resources and bandwidth.

AvePoint Has Competition

AvePoint is not the first or only provider of SharePoint management solutions to release an application designed to provide file share content access to SharePoint users without the need for content migration.

In January 2012, Quest introduced Site Administrator, which uses metrics and trends that offer insights into SharePoint and Office 365, including information on usage, data growth, storage of data and distribution. Site Administrator differs from DocAve File Share Navigator in that it is designed more as an analytical solution than as a means to directly view content, but the basic intent to make SharePoint a more open tool that easily integrates with the wider enterprise is the same.

Earlier, MetaVis released its Information Manager for SharePoint 2010 in May of 2011, which allows SharePoint users to copy content between sites, collections or document libraries, bulk import documents from file shares to maintain the metadata on those documents, reclassify content during the migration process and/or remap metadata fields to SharePoint metadata columns, and change content types for multiple documents/items at once.

MetaVis also released a migration tool to support organizations migrating from SharePoint Online/on premises to Office 365 in May 2011. MetaVis believes having the ability to work from within SharePoint and on more than one document/item at a time speeds the migration and classification process. The MetaVis Office 365 Migrator works for all versions of SharePoint and migrates metadata along with the actual content.

The MetaVis releases compete directly with AvePoint by also offering direct access to file share content, although the functionality in both is designed to streamline, rather than eliminate, migration.

Last month, MetaLogix released a solution designed to make it faster and more efficient to manage content in Microsoft SharePoint 2010. The new solution, Content Manager (similar to the MetaVis Information Manager), enhances SharePoint with the ability to make bulk edits to metadata and a ribbon that makes it easier for users to have access to advanced features such as taxonomy. In most cases, the platform restricts users to modifying one piece of content at a time, and finding advanced functions may require drilling through multiple screens.

AvePoint appears to have a unique edge in eliminating, rather than streamlining or simplifying SharePoint file sharing, but obviously there is a strong need among SharePoint users for third party solutions that help make SharePoint a more open and accessible application.