It’s amazing to see how quickly the SharePoint community can step up to fill a need. With Microsoft’s acknowledgement that hybrid environments will play a much larger role in the inevitable transition toward the cloud, that shift in messaging has inspired many within the community to develop solutions and create content around the hybrid strategy. Of course, it’s not just Microsoft messaging that has inspired – the reality is that as consultants and customers alike have begun to dip their toes into the hybrid cloud, leveraging existing infrastructure and SharePoint solutions while embracing cloud assets, and chief among them, Office 365. And with that toe-dipping comes new content, and a running community dialog about what works, and what does not work in a hybrid strategy.
If you have not been following this article series, the content comes from a #CollabTalk tweetjam, which took place May 29th, 2014, with a focus on “What it takes to get hybrid SharePoint right.” This monthly event included a huge panel of experts from the community, sharing their real-world experience, as well as both their frustrations and their optimism for what is coming next. Usually entertaining, but always fast-paced, the tweetjam has provided a cornucopia of advice and expertise on various aspects of SharePoint’s transition toward the cloud.
For the 7th and final question to our panel, I asked “What advice would you give to an admin considering a hybrid SharePoint environment?”
From our deep bench of experts, almost everyone agreed that planning is the key. SharePoint MVP and author Robert Bogue (@RobBogue) and Microsoft IT Service Engineer and IT Pro, Jared Shockley (@jshoq) summarized the comments made by many of the panelists and participants.
Thomas Carpe (@thomascarpe), founder and principal SharePoint architect at Liquid Mercury Solutions, brought up a great point that many organizations tend to overlook – that there is a “happy in-between” of managing the infrastructure yourself and moving everything to the cloud: dedicated hosting. This option helps those organization who have a mandate or strategy to move toward the cloud, with workload complexity that requires dedicated resources. You may not have the people resources in house (or want to have them in house), and so dedicated hosting provides options.
Developer and SharePoint MVP Fabian Williams (@fabianwilliams) from Planet Technologies, points to another important part of your hybrid planning: identity management. Thankfully, as the hybrid space has matured, Microsoft has been produced valuable content to walk organizations through their identity planning and configuration, delivered through TechNet.
Of course, what SharePoint MVP Asif Rehmani (@asifrehmani) refers to broadly and what Jake Rosenbalm (@sharepointjake), System Architect at Oregon Health Authority calls out specifically is more introspection on your requirements before you proceed, which includes having a firm understanding of the limitations of your destination platform.
A point that I am continually bringing up to customers and within the community is that the tools and solutions we have become accustomed to in managing SharePoint on premises may not work in a cloud environment. And even if there is a cloud version of your favorite third-party management solution, it most likely won’t have the same features, or even work in the same way, as it does on prem – much less work across both environments.