Steve Smith is the owner of Combined Knowledge in the UK and Mindsharp in the US and has been a SharePoint MVP for the last 9 years, an MCT for 15 years and has recently been made a Microsoft Regional Director. Steve is also the founder of the UK SharePoint User Group now in its 9th year which is the largest active SharePoint User Group in the world with meetings around the UK throughout the year and is free to everyone.
Hi everyone, I have been a Microsoft Infrastructure person since the mid 90’s and in today’s world you hear a lot about ‘moving to the cloud’, Using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and using software as a service (SaaS) such as Microsoft’s Office 365. However for many companies the reality for now is that many of their platforms and infrastructure will need to remain On Premises but they would like to start using some of the available services from Microsoft Azure or 365. This world is known as Hybrid and is all about enabling your various platform locations to work together. So where do you get started I hear you asking.
There are several key factors to consider for IT Pro’s looking at implementing Hybrid.
- Getting up to speed and keeping current with new features and options
- Getting your skills up to date.
The first option sounds obvious and we have always had newer versions of products, However Microsoft is continually updating their Azure and Office 365 service offerings and these updates get released throughout the year sometimes many updates are released in the same week let alone the same month. Following the various product blogs is a good way of keeping up to date with this announcements.
And if like me you are a SharePoint person a great technical resource to follow is the Escalation Services Team Blog.
There is also a good Office 365 IT Pro Yammer Network which you can find here.
A good example of recent announcements that open the door for further improvements in a Hybrid world is the latest article on using Azure to act as DR site for SharePoint On Premises using SQL Log Shipping and Windows Distributed File System Replication. This is a great resource for those looking at using Azure as a disaster recovery location for SharePoint On Premises.
For more information on working with SharePoint and Hybrid this is a great starting point for exploring options and topologies.
At the upcoming SharePoint Evolutions Conference in London on April 20th-23rd many of these hybrid scenario’s including DR with log shipping to Azure will be demoed with many Microsoft field engineers and product team managers on the Azure, Office 365 and On Premises tracks
There will also be further announcements and information on the next Hybrid wave at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago in May including the new SharePoint 2016 roadmap and exciting new developments such as the new Hybrid Search Crawl Appliance.
For Training and getting your skills up to date there are plenty of resources out there based on the skills you need. I will list a few of them here but for me the best Training when learning a new technology is still instructor led training but combining online content to get up to speed and then attending an instructor led is still the best combination for getting the skills you need to do it right. On demand content such as that from Channel 9 and the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) are then create ways to keep your skills topped up with new developments.
For example if you look at the Microsoft Roadmap for the SharePoint MCSE with Office 365 you will notice the classes include SharePoint 2013 On Premises and also learning about identity management and building the hybrid connectivity and management between an On Premises and Office 365 environment. For those of you in the infrastructure space who have been managing Active Directory for many years you will be right at home with a lot of the concepts and configuration in these courses.
In fact I run Training classes throughout the year on all these courses which also includes my own training material that I use on top of the Microsoft material to enable me to deliver the full spectrum of content needed not just to pass the qualification but also gain valuable real world insight and experiences. These are the three classes I run each one being 5 days in length.
Channel 9 for learning more about Azure for IT Pro’s, a great resource in my opinion.
Microsoft Virtual Academy which has some great free training ideal for getting some basic skills before going on to instructor led training.
One thing is for sure there is now a wealth of training resources on Hybrid implementation and any company considering this move should ensure their IT Pro’s are properly brought up to speed in order to deliver a successful hybrid project.