SharePoint Hybrid Announcements and Roadmap: The Big Vision of the Hybrid Future

Dan Holme

by Dan Holme on 5/3/2015

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SharePoint Hybrid Announcements and Roadmap: The Big Vision of the Hybrid Future

This is a live blog, posted rapidly to IT Unity's Ignite Live Blog. Details will be added to this post as they become available.

Sesha Mani's presentation included this very important slide summarizing Microsoft's journey to better and more seamless hybrid support. While the title of the slide says “Hybrid OneDrive” I believe this is really “Hybrid SharePoint” (just a slide error).

Announced today

As you'll see, there are a lot of announcements today about hybrid SharePoint—supported in the very near future for SharePoint 2013. I'm waiting to get specifics about exactly when these “announcements” will translate into “releases” but they are big announcements, for sure.

  • Improved hybrid OneDrive. While SP1 of SharePoint 2013 introduced hybrid OneDrive, the configuration and experience will now be faster and better. I'm waiting to get more details on exactly how.
  • Hybrid OneDrive for SharePoint 2010. Not only “better” but actually new. This is a very welcome announcement for customers who are “stuck” in SharePoint 2010 for whatever reason. It also allows them to start migrating to a hybrid environment—with OneDrive—while (I hope) planning their migration to SharePoint Server 2016, skipping 2013 altogether. I'm thrilled to see Microsoft treating “N-2” (i.e., customers running version-2, in this case 2010, versions of a product) as a first-class citizen. Reading the tea leaves and many signals, I'd expect to see more goodness coming for 2010 customers, where Microsoft will deliver to them where it can reasonably do so.
  • Cloud-Driven Hybrid Picker. Other live blog posts address this feature. It's clearly nowhere near release-ready from a UI standpoint, but it looks like a lot of the underlying functionality is pretty solid. Certainly a few months away, in any event.
  • Hybrid Extranet. Discussed in other blog posts. One of the big “adds” to this scenario is the way that sharing interfaces and people pickers will “filter” users to only show users that are part of the partnership supported by a specific site collection. This prevents external users from poking around to discover internal users or users in other partnerships.
  • Profile and custom attributes. Announced today (implementation TBD), user profiles in Office 365 will support custom attributes, removing one of the “rough edges” between on-prem and Office 365-based environments.
  • Search connector. A fundamental component of the new vision of unified search and discovery for hybrid environments, the search connector will allow the on-prem index to live in the cloud, from which unified search experiences can be powered.
  • Hybrid Delve v1. Delve will be available on-prem (details not yet announced), powered by the Office Graph and search index in Office 365.

Coming in 2016

The long-term roadmap had a few surprises. Honestly, I believe Microsoft may be erring to the over-transparent here. I applaud the fact that they're sharing their priorities with us. It demonstrates they hear our requests for that transparency and roadmap, and also shows that they're hearing our screams of pain about these issues, in particular. But the community should give Microsoft room to adjust their priorities. 2016 is a long way away. Things will change, if history is any guide.

  • Hybrid team sites. The story here is that organizations can choose to keep some team sites on-prem while enabling others to live in Office 365, where features are richer and storage is elastic. There is a configuration element that will allow specification of where a new team site should be created. And there is a user-facing (navigation) element, whereby users follow sites (on-prem or in the cloud) and their “follows” power navigation in both environments, so that navigation is consistent. “Follows” will be stored in the user's OneDrive in Office 365—presumably in a hidden folder, much like user's Windows 8/10 “app data.”
  • Hybrid taxonomy. This is on the slide, but I'm not clear on what the story really is. I'll get clarification from the team on what disclosures they are ready to make.
  • Hybrid DLP. Data loss prevention makes its way on-prem. Already a capability in Office 365, this innovation will get to on-prem farms.
  • Hybrid eDiscovery. Ditto. I'll be curious to see just how “universal” this eDiscovery is—i.e., whether it includes on-prem Lync and Exchange, or just on-prem SharePoint.
  • Hybrid Apps Improvements. There have been no details yet.
  • (Not on the slide) Improvements to the UI are being considered to unify across on-prem and Office 365 sites and experiences. Sesha demonstrated a very early build of SharePoint Server 2016 featuring an app launcher.


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