These days, a company's data is often its most important asset, and safeguarding and managing that data has become an essential business function for those companies. A good Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution can assist in this task. SharePoint is the fastest-growing ECM solution in the world and in fact is Microsoft's fastest-growing product ever. Such rapid growth is not without problems, both for the company and the SharePoint industry as a whole. I recently spoke with representatives from  Idera  to learn more about these problems and possible solutions for dealing with these growing pains.

"It's very difficult to manage something the scale of SharePoint manually," said Idera President and CEO Rick Pleczko. "SharePoint is inherently incredibly complex, with a lot of moving parts--the Windows OS, IIS, Indexing Server, SQL Server, Search Server, and InfoPath Server." Getting all these components working together efficiently and securely can be a huge problem, especially in environments with rapid, unmanaged SharePoint growth and a proliferation of departmental applications. "You can't just throw a large number of humans at the problem," he said. "There aren't that many humans that are knowledgeable about the administration of SharePoint. Because it's growing so quickly, there's a significant scarcity of SharePoint resources."

Julia Hall, Director of SharePoint Products at Idera, agreed. "The SharePoint market grew so quickly that the technology absorption and understanding of SharePoint professionals was falling behind," she said. "We started asking how we could best provide a solution for the management problem and lack of available expertise."

Idera, best known for its SQL Server management tools, decided to leverage that technology and expertise to create an integrated set of tools for SharePoint administration. The product, Point admin toolset, is a suite of 10 tools that bring together SharePoint site monitoring, server monitoring, security monitoring, and backup into a single product. "It's kind of like the toolbelt that a plumber wears," says Pleczko. "Whatever he needs, it's always right there."

The product went through a six- week public beta program with the SharePoint community, and according to Pleczko, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. "Testers found the Point admin toolset to be ‘extremely useful’ and many have already put it to work managing their SharePoint environments.” The Point admin toolset is now out of beta and publicly available.

And by the way, Windows IT Pro is offering many learning opportunities this Fall that will help you increase your SharePoint expertise. Check them out here.