Windows 8 leads the pack, with impressive sales figures being racked up across the board. Office 2013 is following close behind, as is SharePoint 2013. Many of our clients are already talking excitedly to us about plans to upgrade their SharePoint installations, and the various benefits of doing so. Many more are looking at the new 2013 version of Office 365, and some have been running the beta 2013 release for a while. The ease with which it is possible to set up an Office 365 system has led many to ask the question - “Can I run SharePoint 'On Premise' and 'Online' together? Can they be aware of each other?”
Whilst this is a niche area, it is one Microsoft has thought of, and it is called a 'Hybrid' environment by Microsoft (The technet article is here). Such a setup offers several levels of integration:
- Federated search: Users can search from each system, and results include content from either.
- Single sign on: Users need only login to one system, to login to both.
- Active Directory sync: User accounts from the ‘on premise’ system sync to SharePoint Online.
It will be fascinating to see how popular the Hybrid setup becomes in the future. Many clients are nervous about putting some data in the cloud, but these fears are being put at ease - and are generally based on a natural 'fear of the unknown' rather than any actual security or technical hurdles. Maybe a hybrid solution, with sensitive data 'on premise' and other data hosted in the cloud, will find a market in the short to medium term. At least, it is comforting to see Microsoft has the technical implementation covered in SharePoint 2013.