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  • Office 365: Hybrid Environment Deployment Considerations www.credera.com - 1

    Office 365: Hybrid Environment Deployment Considerations

    Authored by Joshua Grear, Ben Mead, and Adrian Romo March 2012

    In this white paper, we will explore common challenges, technical limitations, and user awareness needs when considering the use of Office 365 in a hybrid model. As part of the Cloud solution offerings, we will review the most common pitfalls that should be avoided when implementing services in the Cloud and On-Premise.

    Abstract .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 2 The Intent of this White Paper ................................................................................................................................................ 3 SharePoint Online ......................................................................................................................................................................... 3 Exchange Online ............................................................................................................................................................................. 9 Lync Online ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 12 Microsoft Office ............................................................................................................................................................................ 14 5 Common Transition Challenges ........................................................................................................................................ 16 I need more information. Where Do I Go from Here? ................................................................................................. 17 Conclusion ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 18 References ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 18

  • Office 365: Hybrid Environment Deployment Considerations www.credera.com - 2

    Abstract Nearly every CIO or CTO has been faced with this question at some point in the past 5 years, or will be challenged soon: “When are we going to move to the Cloud?” For those that remember, the late nineties and early millennium years were faced with the proliferation of the use of a single lowercase letter, “e”. We witnessed the rise of new products and marketing campaigns from every type of organization each wanting to catch the Internet wave with the announcement of products like eBilling, eShopping, eGovernment, eDocuments, eToys, eCars, and eGroceries. What many consumers remember from this timeframe was that while there was a lot of marketing of a single lowercase letter, there was a distinct lack of business value from many of these cutting-edge solutions. Fast forward to the year 2010, and a similar phenomenon began forming around the use of the word “Cloud” – Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, Government Cloud, Community Cloud, etc. The list of options continues to grow every time a new marketing major graduates from the latest eUniversity. Every technology provider in the known universe is pitching a Cloud solution that can catapult the business to a competitive advantage by moving IT systems to the Cloud! For some organizations that is a true statement, but for many others, the reality of moving every core system to the Cloud is simultaneously terrifying and distracting to the entire Operations team. With the hype and marketing spin currently inflight, most CIOs and CTOs are only willing to place a limited selection of services in a Cloud provider model in order to gain some economy of scale without putting the overall business operations at risk. For many organizations, the first set of systems they consider will be electronic mail (Exchange), Instant Messaging and Collaboration (Lync), and Information Management workloads (SharePoint).

  • Office 365: Hybrid Environment Deployment Considerations www.credera.com - 3

    The Intent of this White Paper In this white paper, we will explore the common challenges that organizations face when considering the use of a Hybrid Cloud Delivery Model. Many times, the implementation timeline allows the team to overlook or be discouraged from investigating several key considerations that should impact the decision of whether an Office 365 Hybrid configuration is a good fit for your business objectives.

    General Deployment Considerations The most common reasons for considering a Hybrid Cloud Delivery Model:

     Upcoming infrastructure investment demands only impact a portion of the enterprise

     A diverse workforce provides the opportunity for segmentation of less IT-centric positions

     Current platform support is expiring (e.g., Exchange 2003, SharePoint 2003)

     A new acquisition requires quick integration, or

     A company divestiture requires a speedy separation of common services

    The Microsoft Cloud offering for these services available today is Office 365. It is a Cloud service platform that allows companies of all sizes to take advantage of the engineering and support capabilities of the Microsoft brand backed by a 99.9% service availability guarantee. For most businesses, these technical solutions are core to supporting the smooth running of operations, but the level of sophistication and knowledge of these systems is not a market differentiator that provides a competitive advantage. They are in most cases the systems and services that fit most easily into a Cloud Delivery Model. Now, unless you are a new business or an upcoming divestiture, most enterprises have an existing set of systems and services in place that need to be integrated to support a hybrid environment. This is where a portion of services and users are housed in the Cloud while a portion of services and users will continue to leverage On-Premise investments, perhaps indefinitely.

    The following sections outline the most prevalent considerations and challenges for each of the technology services provided in the suite of solutions available via Office 365 today.

    SharePoint Online SharePoint Online within the Office 365 environment is based upon the use of SharePoint 2010 and is delivered as part of a multi-tenant Cloud delivery platform. The strength of the product is the ability to exploit the latest and greatest technology services from a highly customizable information management platform. The challenge for many organizations relates to the key technical limitations inherent in a multi-tenant environment.

  • Office 365: Hybrid Environment Deployment Considerations www.credera.com - 4

    Search Integration On-Premise SharePoint 2010 and Office 365 offer a variety of options for implementing search capabilities. As the platform has evolved, the capabilities have continued to improve, often in leaps and bounds. Standard and Enterprise Search capabilities are available to both SharePoint On-Premise and Office 365. Standard Search contains the most basic and common search functionality. Enterprise Search expands upon the Standard Search functionality to allow for more advanced queries, as well as, people searches. The most advanced option for search functionality is FAST Search Server for SharePoint. This is a separately licensed product that significantly enhances the ability to perform faceted search and refinement and integration of an amazingly diverse array of external information sources. While this product is currently only available for On-Premise SharePoint implementations, it provides the best performance and most functionality. For some enterprises, it is critical in meeting the functional search requirements of their business consumers.

    Due to current limitations with Office 365, creating a unified hybrid search experience is complicated, but achievable with the appropriate level of planning. It is not currently possible to share search indexes between Office 365 and SharePoint On-Premise. Likewise, there are no supported methods for Office 365 to crawl On-Premise SharePoint or vice-versa. However, there are options to choose from:

     Independent Search Centers

    o Office 365 and SharePoint On-Premise environments have their own Search Centers

    o Only results from the environment where the search is performed will be returned

     Side-by-Side Search Results

    o Office 365 and SharePoint On-Premise environments have their own Search Centers

    o The SharePoint On-Premise Search Center is customized to display search results from both On-Premise and Office 365 side-by-side

    o Users will only search from the On-Premise Search Center

     Custom Search Connector

    o A single Search Center is created in the On-Premise SharePoint environment to display aggregated results from both environments

    Independent Search Centers

    While this approach is by far the simplest to implement, it is not universally suitable to all enterprises. In this model, users either need to know the location of the content (which environment the content is housed in) prior

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