Hybrid scenarios with SharePoint 2016 – Sensibly combined at last
Although hybrid scenarios with SharePoint are not new, SharePoint 2016 turns them into a real treat as well. While the data remains resting on the in-house server, users can switch seamlessly between SharePoint On-Premises and Online. This means they can also benefit from the advantages of using the cloud. Andreas Krüger takes a look at the hybrid scenarios with SharePoint 2016 and explains what’s new and above all what’s better.
An article by Andreas Krüger, Managing Consultant at COMPAREX
What happens when everything to do with Office 365 – especially SharePoint Online – and the current infrastructure available On-Premise , are blended together? That’s right, you get a hybrid SharePoint scenario. Now all we need to know is what benefits does this union bring?
Hybrid SharePoint scenarios - The best of two worlds?
SharePoint Online confines all the worries about the global availability of applications to the history books. What’s more, users remain completely up to date at all times, as Microsoft deals with the patching in SharePoint Online. They also benefit from the latest features such as Delve, OneDrive for Business , Yammer , a new Office 365 Video portal and the brilliantly sophisticated hybrid search . Also available are Microsoft Flow and PowerApps, each of them offering stacks of new opportunities to automate simple applications and use them on smartphones, tablets & co.
The standard function that permits sharing of content with other users is particularly handy, especially when collaborating with an external partner. The function is available in the cloud. Users are saved the bother of managing their own infrastructure and are left with a small configuration screen that controls everything that happens online. This reduces administrative workload dramatically.
Users continue to benefit from full control over their data thanks to SharePoint On-Premises. After all, the data will remain on the in-house servers and will not be relocated abroad or elsewhere.
Another advantage is that data migration when versioning up to SharePoint 2016 is practically no hassle at all. In a nutshell: if you have already used a customized version of SharePoint 2007, 2010 or 2013, you can perform migration to SharePoint 2016 and don’t have to modify each solution for the cloud. Instead, it only takes a minor version update.
SharePoint On-Premises enables the creation of Site Collections, for example as a Team Site. Users will find functions like OneDrive, MySites, the Newsfeed, Search and several other business applications such as Microsoft Project , User Profile Service, Managed Metadata and more.
SharePoint Online delivers a pretty much identical portfolio. Site Collections can also be provided. And there’s the new Video Portal feature as well.
If we speak of ‘hybrid’, we mean everything shown inside the red frame in the diagram above, including OneDrive, MySite and Search. These are the most important elements that you encounter first when investigating a hybrid deployment of SharePoint. In just a few weeks even Managed Metadata will be available in a hybrid scenario.
It’s up to you to decide whether to host OneDrive On-Premises, or if you’d prefer it provided in SharePoint Online. The same applies to MySite, where SharePoint Online flows into Delve. You’re spoilt for choice with Search as well, regardless of whether you search the cloud for data On-Premises, or you search On-Premises for data in the cloud. Search features can even be used entirely in the cloud, ensuring a uniform presentation of results.
A hybrid scenario provides the significant advantage that all other features of Office 365 (new ones as well) are available and that they are gradually coming together to offer the user just one uniform screen. The diagram above took Outlook, Skype for Business and the PowerApps as examples. But there are plenty of other applications, and new ones are arriving all the time, most recently Microsoft Teams.
Using hybrid SharePoint scenarios: What’s new? And what’s better?
Simplified file handling
SharePoint 2016 especially has integrated many improvements that until now have only been available in the cloud. A modern user interface for collaboration and many simplifications for SharePoint file handling are also new.
New User Interface and Suite Bar
SharePoint 2016 has radically revamped its UI (user interface) compared to SharePoint 2013. Anyone reasonably familiar with Office 365 will recognize this UI, because SharePoint 2016 borrowed it from the cloud. It also includes the new Suite Bar with matching tiles for direct access to the various areas within SharePoint.
Uniform user interface
If you bring all of this together in a hybrid scenario, you can even create a practically uniform look and feel for On-Premises SharePoint and your Cloud SharePoint, as details provided On-Premises can then be controlled from the cloud as well.
Improved Sync Client
Another advantage is the significantly improved Sync Client, because everything that was established with OneDrive has been enhanced with the Client. Up to 20,000 documents can now be included in the synchronization. The various keyboard shortcuts added to the document libraries ease the burden of document management that little bit more. Altogether it makes work a whole lot easier.
The infrastructural changes have brought significantly improved server performance and availability. Here, Microsoft has done sterling work on the concept it introduced with Office 365. Each server is assigned a very specific role in the On-Premises farm, making them perfectly equipped to handle the workload they need to process.
Support by an assistant
There is also a client to help you set up your SharePoint On-Premises with Office 365. It is no longer necessary to perform all your clicks yourself, as the little helper available for download from Office 365 handles much of the work on your behalf. Your SharePoint 2016 will therefore be integrated within a hybrid scenario.
Another improvement refers to support. In terms of the cloud, Microsoft faced the challenge of how to update the SharePoint Online services ideally and without interrupting operation. This issue has now been resolved. The update technology allows users to continue working On-Premises from the cloud, therefore updating SharePoint in the background practically without downtime.
SharePoint is now far easier to monitor thanks to the introduction of various infrastructural improvements. In consequence, it is immediately apparent whether a server is still operating in its selected role or whether its configuration has changed in a manner that no longer reflects its actual purpose.
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