SharePoint Online – Cloudy with a chance of rainbows

October 19th, 2011

The big buzz, or should I say marketing push, this year is surrounding SharePoint Online – Microsoft’s SharePoint in the cloud offering.  We are just beginning to explore the potential pros and cons of moving our infrastructure to this environment.  In this case we are considering the SharePoint Online – Standard offering, which offers a trade-off.  In exchange for managing the farm, scaling resources and storage capacity to need and handling disaster recovery we must relinquish Central Admin control of our environment, and PowerShell as an administration tool.  When using SharePoint Online – Standard you are restricted to Site Administrator control of your site collections and SharePoint Web Services for automation of administration.  There are also significant restrictions with development and business intelligence features.

Is the convenience and cost savings of a hosted SharePoint environment offset the loss of flexibility and features?  “It depends.”  Come on!  This is SharePoint!  You didn’t think there would be a straight answer did you?  In fact, the question itself isn’t even cut and dry.  It is possible to run hybrid environments, in the cloud and on premises, where the different environments work together but handle different core workloads.  You could run a dedicated environment, giving you more features and administrative control.  You can even run your own private cloud!  In my scenario, where we need the flexibility of custom development as well as scaling and capacity management, we are looking to the hybrid environment for the best of both worlds.  As with anything it has pitfalls of its own.  Authentication, navigation, information architecture, service applications (they can’t be federated in standard), etc…

As I explore this new world of silver linings, unicorn rainbows, and externally managed collaboration environments I will post my findings.  In the meanwhile, please enjoy these documents with actual information.


Office 365 Service Descriptions – specifically this document: Microsoft SharePoint Online for Enterprises Service Description.docx


SharePoint Online Developer guide


SharePoint Online Developer Resource center


SharePoint Online Administration Guide


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