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01/05/2008

Get into the Groove

Grooveicon Microsoft Office Groove is a peer-to-peer application targeted at teams with members who are usually off-line or who do not share the same network security clearance.

Groove is desktop software designed for the collaboration and communication of the members of small groups, developed by Ray Ozzie for the Windows platform. Note that this is not a "cloud service". So "Live Mesh" (see previous blog item) is a cloud service, while Groove is desktop software.

GrooveThe basic idea for Groove is a set of files to be shared plus some aids for group collaboration which is a shared workspace. A Groove user invites other Groove members after creating a workspace.

By responding to an invitation the person becomes an active member of that workspace and is sent a copy of the workspace that is installed on their hard disk drive. All data is encrypted both on disk as well as over the network, with each workspace having a unique set of cryptographic keys.

Members interact and collaborate in the workspace which is a private virtual location. All changes being made are tracked by Groove and all the copies are synchronized via the network in a peer-to-peer manner, almost instantaneously.

All the members are sent the changes made to the workspace by any of the users and the documents are updated automatically. The change is queued and synchronized to other workspace members, if that member is offline at the time the change is made, but the user's copy is updated when the member comes back online. The change is temporarily stored at the server, if Groove Server is used, which is relayed when the user is back online. Multiple copies are kept for the editors, when more than one person edits a document at the same time, who must agree which changes to save.

Microsoft office Groove operates by means of a client and two servers: Groove Server Manager and Groove Relay server.

Groove2007_architecture

















You can use and deploy Groove in three ways:

  • as an unmanaged account (free version)
  • as a hosted account (hosted by Microsoft)
  • as an onsite account (setup and managed in your own infrastructure)

(Note: Microsoft Gold Certified partners are entitled to a hosted account for free )

A workspace exists out of tools. For each workspace you can decide which tools to use. For each tool you can assign rights. Some examples of tools are:

  • agenda
  • file sharing
  • discussions
  • forms (own Groove forms)
  • infopath forms
  • notes
  • Issue tracking
  • ... many more

You can also integrate Groove with Sharepoint (file repository). This brings us to an interesting subject. Why would you use and Sharepoint and Groove?

In a way, you could see Groove as an offline client for Sharepoint (certainly the upcoming version). Sharepoint users need an URL and security settings. For Groove this is not necessary. Groove can be setup much faster and easier when you work with external people. Groove is really interesting for field workers.

Can you store project emails in Groove and  sync a calendar?
At first the answer was no but with GrooveIT! you can. GrooveIT! is the way to take full advantage of Groove workspaces by linking them with your daily work tools.

GrooveIT! is a great tool for your Groove 2007 and Outlook environment. It will sync tour email from Outlook to Groove 2007. New for the 2.0 version is:

  • Share your RSS feeds
  • Transfer your Outlook tasks
  • Create GrooveIT! rules on calendars, tasks list, contacts list, RSS feeds
  • Discover improved Groove tools including support for Groove links, attachments management, filtering
  • Build discussion threads of your emails, avoid duplicates
  • Update calendar events, contacts and tasks already published in Groove

Comments

Hi and thanks for your post ;-)
Groove is a great collaborative suite!

The comments to this entry are closed.

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