High-End Collaboration Server
June 5, 2002
Keeping a team of lone-minded developers together on a large project is often quite difficult for the person responsible for coordinating everyone. Collaboration is key when it comes to succeeding in today's fast-paced business world, and eRoom is one product positioned to make that person's job a whole lot easier.
The true mark of a great product is support from other enterprises. Various large companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, 3Com, Cisco, EDS, and The Ford Motor Company, use eRoom for their collaboration needs, and eRoom has partnered with Microsoft, EDS, and others. With these big-name companies in its contacts, eRoom is an obvious competitor in the large-scale collaboration market.
The software can be deployed in two basic ways. An ASP version (which will not be covered here) is hosted on servers set aside by eRoom, and a regular software package can be installed on any machine running Windows NT or 2000.
There are two ways to install eRoom on a Windows machine. Enterprises can go the "standard" way and use eRoom's own way of storing data, or they can use SQL7 Server from Microsoft. Enterprises with a licensed version of SQL7 running can use an SQL database to store all of their eRoom data.
Server management for eRoom is fairly easy. Administrators can remotely manage the server from anywhere on their intranet (or Internet if the server has a domain name and public IP address) by typing the server's name in the browser's address bar, followed by "/eRoomServerSettings." Remote management is a must in most enterprises because the server administrator is normally not in the same room, or even building, as the server itself. eRoom Administration can also run through the Microsoft Management Console if the "eRoom Server Administration" option in the Start menu is selected after eRoom is installed.
eRoom supports multiple facilities per eRoom server. A facility is simply a group of "eRooms" that have their own Administrator, licenses, and list of members.
On the client side, eRoom is run though any handy HTML browser. A plug-in for Microsoft Windows users adds some functionality to the vanilla HTML eRoom user interface. The plug-in provides very useful functionality, including the capability to drag and drop between the Windows Explorer and eRoom, Outlook Synchronization, and spell checker.
Although eRoom boasts about its cross-platform capabilities, those using anything but Microsoft Windows will be left in the cold when it comes to most of the product's functionality. While the eRoom works with other operating systems, it is not nearly as efficient with them as with Windows.
eRoom also offers integration into Office 2000. Office files can be accessed and saved directly to an eRoom server, enabling users to continue to use the Office 2000 product line with which they are likely familiar.
With the server's option to use Microsoft SQL Server 7.0, as well as its integration features with the Office 2000 and the Microsoft Windows Operating System line that it offers, eRoom's cross-platform capabilities are drowned out. This may or may not be an advantage, depending on the diversity of the user base. If an enterprise is using Windows 2000 Professional with Internet Explorer 5.5 and the Office 2000 Suite across the board, eRoom will integrate smoothly right into its system.Pros: Easily Integrated and Administered; Quick and Easy Setup
Version Reviewed: 5.0