Office 365 Partner Community: focus on Office 365 hybrid – an introduction


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by Michael Panciroli
US Partner Technology Strategist for Office 365

The Office 365 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.

As we transition our community topic from OneDrive for Business to hybrid for Office 365, I thought it would be fitting to write a hybrid-themed post. It presents an introduction to hybrid for Office 365 and also explains how to add a OneDrive for Business coexistence workload.

What is hybrid?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NSIT) defines hybrid cloud as a composition of two or more clouds (private, community, or public) that remain distinct entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models. Hybrid cloud can also mean the ability to connect co-location, managed, and/or dedicated services with cloud resources.

Many customers require a flexible IT infrastructure that can scale on demand. Chances are their deployments fall into a mixture of deployment infrastructures—traditional non-virtualized, private cloud, and public cloud. With a private cloud in the datacenter, organizations can be more agile and manage resources more effectively. When they extend the datacenter to meet the public cloud, they are working in a hybrid cloud model. Hybrid cloud is characterized by workloads such as Exchange, SharePoint, or Lync that are deployed in the cloud (Office 365) in coexistence with the same or other workloads on-premises.

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There are many reasons your clients might choose or require this kind of hybrid deployment:

  • Regulatory. In a traditional, non-virtualized bare metal environment, they own the infrastructure end to end, and they own compliance. In the public cloud compliance is a variable. Office 365 meets a number of standards. Some customers have additional standards they need to support, or there are data sensitivity concerns. That’s where the benefit of a hybrid deployment comes in. A customer can maintain a subset of the data on-premises and still enable the enhanced collaboration capabilities of Office 365.
  • Flexibility. With Microsoft, the move to the cloud is not all or nothing. Maybe your client wants to enable a social network like Yammer and take advantage of having that capability anywhere across any device, but the file workload needs to remain on premises. The customer can do that using SharePoint 2013 on premises and Yammer on Office 365 with hybrid coexistence. Learn more about integrating Yammer with on-premises SharePoint.
  • On-premises customizations. Your client may have customizations that the SharePoint app model does not support, but still wants to utilize the cloud.
  • Significant footprint in remote locations. Some industries, like oil and gas, have small groups of employees in remote locations that need infrastructure. Hybrid deployment can extend infrastructure to enable collaboration and aggregate content among and between these disparate groups, and support workloads like search.
  • Manageability. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) may stand in the way for some organizations. Their SOPs around patch and deploy or maintenance and manageability may require them to keep a portion of their workloads and content on premises. Hybrid is the answer for bringing them to the cloud.

Benefits and scenarios

The benefits of a hybrid environment include:

  • The ability to maintain consistency across clouds with familiar tools and resources
  • Extending datacenter with a consistent management toolset and familiar development and identity solutions
  • Enterprise-grade performance and security in the datacenter and in the cloud
  • Meeting changing business needs with greater flexibility
  • Delivering capacity on demand

With our hybrid models, the goal is to provide a set of common tools that deliver the benefits of consistency of management tools, resources, development environment, and identity across both on-premises and the cloud. For example:

  • The ubiquity of Azure Active Directory for identity
  • Development tools that include Visual Studio, along with the app model, allowing you to develop on-premises apps and extend those to the cloud when the customer is ready
  • PowerShell allows for consistent management of the hybrid environment

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Migration to the cloud

This hybrid model can maximize the investment on existing infrastructure. It enables a customer to selectively move a given workload and a portion of content incrementally, versus in whole, to the cloud. The cost of the migration is lower and can be spread out over time. This model has other benefits for partners and customers. You may be conducting a cloud assessment and need more time to assess the full migration or rationalize existing applications and customizations. It gives you an opportunity to pilot an online service with a subset of users with little or no disruption to an existing service.

Maintaining a hybrid model

Some organizations will take a longer term view and continue to maintain their hybrid model to provide services online or on-premises based on their needs. An example of this is Business Connectivity Services, where a cloud app exists, but the data source is on-premises. Search and ECM are other examples of official records being maintained on premises, but hybrid search capability is needed to present a unified view of corporate data, wherever it resides. 

The leading example, though, is OneDrive for Business. Users want access to unlimited storage and data mobility and to be able to create, synch, and share across any device or screen. IT can maintain a hybrid model to draw a balance between the control they need or require and still serve user needs.

OneDrive for Business coexistence

OneDrive for business coexistence (more specifically, OneDrive for Business redirection) is not new, but many partners are not aware it’s an option for their clients that own SharePoint Server 2013. When you install Service Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2013, you can redirect users to OneDrive for Business in Office 365 when they click "OneDrive" or "Sites" in the navigation bar. This way, no matter where they are, they can quickly access their documents and any information that they choose to sync from their SharePoint sites.

Utilizing SharePoint's audience capability, you can enable cloud storage for a subset of users based on specific needs or requirements. It's as easy as configuring an audience based on an Active Directory security group or profile property. Users in that audience will be redirected to Office 365, and those that are not will remain on-premises. If you want to give a customer more than file sync and share, you can configure new sites and pages to be created in Office 365 while existing sites stay on-premises. Learn more about redirecting users to Office 365 with OneDrive for Business

hope the suggestions above give you ideas about how you can use OneDrive for Business as a way to create new cloud opportunities for your business. You can watch our February 5 community call about this topic on demand here, and read the blog series here.

Office 365 Community - March 2015 tileRegister for the March 5 Office 365 Partner Community call, about hybrid for SharePoint and Office 365 with Microsoft SharePoint expert and keynote speaker, Bill Baer.

Prior to the call, take a look at these TechNet resources: Explore SharePoint Server 2013 hybrid.

Comments (12)
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  2. Anonymous says:

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  9. Anonymous says:

    by Michael Panciroli US Partner Technology Strategist for Office 365 The Office 365 Partner Community

  10. Anonymous says:

    by Michael Panciroli US Partner Technology Strategist for Office 365 The Office 365 Partner Community

  11. Anonymous says:

    by Michael Panciroli US Partner Technology Strategist for Office 365 The Office 365 Partner Community

  12. Anonymous says:

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