The Office Groove 2007 product line includes several different product and service offerings, in addition to Microsoft Office Groove Server 2007, which is covered in the main article. Here are the other Groove products:

Microsoft Office Live Groove. Essentially, this is the Groove client software plus a yearly subscription for the hosted relay infrastructure. This product is best suited to an individual or small group rather than a company that has many Groove users because you don’t need any onsite servers; you can immediately download and install the product and start using it to create workspaces. As part of the Live Groove service, you get upgrades to new releases, but there’s no Groove Manager support for account backup and restore or user and security policies. To check out Live Groove and sign up for a free trial, go to office.microsoft.com/en-us/officelive/FX101945661033.aspx.

Microsoft Office Groove Enterprise Services. This hosted version of the Groove product is oriented toward supporting larger numbers of users than Live Groove supports. You buy the Groove client and a hosted Groove Manager, which enables you to have a “Groove domain” that supports administrator-managed employee identities and policies to give you more control over how employees use Groove. This arrangement offers no onsite infrastructure. You configure the product by using the Web-based Enterprise Services Manager administrative GUI. Through this tool, you can create, configure, and manage user accounts (including setting up backup parameters). The Enterprise Services product provides Enterprise Services Relay, a function that Microsoft handles, which lets users stay in sync even when direct client-to-client connectivity isn’t possible or if one or more team members is behind a corporate firewall. You purchase Enterprise Services through a volume license arrangement with a local Microsoft sales representative. Be aware that Enterprise Services doesn’t support auditing, Groove Data Bridge functionality, or directory integration.

Which offering is best for your organization? Do you need an onsite Groove server, or would purchasing just the services suffice? If you have team members who don’t require an administrator to manage the accounts, have them sign up for Live Groove, for which they’ll pay a yearly fee and have unmanaged Groove workspace abilities. If you require a bit more control but don’t want to support an inhouse infrastructure, move to the next level with Office Groove Enterprise Services, where Microsoft will host your Groove workspaces. If you want the infrastructure inhouse, you’ll need to install your own Groove Server components.

One great feature about the Enterprise Services is that you can try it out within the company and, if you choose later, alter your environment to run Groove Server onsite. It’s fairly easy to switch the servers from Microsoft’s control to yours.