Microsoft Azure Partner Community: focus on Office 365 – SharePoint on Azure


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by Jonathan Gardner
US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure

The Microsoft Azure Partner Community is led by National Partner Technology Strategists from the Microsoft US Partner Team. Partner Community activities include blog posts, discussions on Yammer, newsletters, and community calls.

This is part 3 of our series about adding Microsoft Office 365 to your Microsoft Azure practice. Read part 1 here, and read part 2 here.

Focus on Office 365 – SharePoint on Azure

While the Microsoft SharePoint implementation on Office 365 is a fantastic platform that we highly recommend to customers, there are some situations where it is necessary to run SharePoint on Azure.  Those reasons include solutions that need full trust, third-party solutions, and data size. In this post I will cover these scenarios, explain why it is important to you as a Microsoft partner, and provide resources so you can go deeper on this topic.

Solutions with full trust needs

SharePoint’s Full Trust Execution model relies on deployment of assemblies into the global assembly cache on each front end and application tier in the SharePoint server farm. This model allows for the application to be deployed on any server in the farm and run without any code access security restrictions. Because Office 365 is a multi-tenant environment, this is not a supported possibility. If an organization has an application that must deployed in this way, deploying a SharePoint farm on Azure IaaS is a solution.  

Learn more about execution models in SharePoint

Third-party solutions Much like solutions that require access to the Full Trust Execution model, some third-party applications require that they be installed at the farm level. Since there is no access to this level in SharePoint on Office 365, Azure provides a platform that allows SharePoint to be deployed to the cloud.
Data size

As with many of our services, Microsoft has been working to increase the available storage space for customers using SharePoint on Office 365. The current storage limit per SharePoint site collection is 1TB. However, many organizations have site collections that are much larger than this. For those organizations, SharePoint deployed on Azure IaaS allows them to scale to larger capacities. 

Learn more about SharePoint Online limits.

How to deploy SharePoint on Azure

There are a few options for deploying a SharePoint server farm on Azure IaaS, and there is now an option right in the Azure Marketplace. To deploy a SharePoint Server Farm, select the “+ New” button in the Azure Portal and then select SharePoint Server Farm from the list.

Another option, discussed in a previous post about Migrating VMs to Azure, SharePoint Farm images can be deployed by migrating custom images from an existing environment. You can also use Desired State Configuration and Azure Automation. With the release of our large VM sizes there is a broad spectrum of VM options to tailor a SharePoint deployment that can handle any workload.

Each of these deployment and VM size options has its own pros and cons, but they all give you an opportunity to customize the process that works best for your customers.

The partner opportunity

If you are working with customers to deploy SharePoint Online on Office 365, you will need to understand the scenarios where it will not meet a customer’s needs. By deploying SharePoint on Azure, you have the opportunity to use or develop IP for the deployment. SharePoint on Azure IaaS has great capabilities, but is only as good as the care and feeding of its environment. Your incremental opportunity may include providing customers with managed services for monitoring and managing the SharePoint environment in Azure.

Architecting SharePoint for the Cloud video

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Register for the February 19 community call for our discussion about the topic of adding Office 365 to your Azure Practice, and take advantage of our other community resources.

Comments (23)
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