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Why Hybrid SharePoint Deployments are Valuable

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An increasing number of organizations are taking advantage of Microsoft’s cloud-based offerings and realizing the benefits. Is your company doing the same?

Microsoft SharePoint is a leading web application platform. Due to its complexity, there are multiple deployment scenarios. With the Application Service Provider (ASP) model gaining widespread popularity, Microsoft responded by releasing Office 365.

Office 365, initially released in June 2011, allows organizations to use Microsoft’s products in the cloud. There are many different products within Office 365, with the most well known being Exchange and SharePoint, which is commonly referred to as SharePoint Online.

How SharePoint was deployed in the past?
When SharePoint was first released, organizations installed it for production use on their own servers running a Microsoft server operating system. In production it would be installed on multiple servers, often using a SQL cluster in farm configuration. This was done to ensure system uptime in the event of a hardware failure such as a hard disk malfunction.

A typical SharePoint deployment had two web servers, one or two mid-tier application servers that would then connect to a SQL cluster, which itself could be running on multiple SQL servers, or for larger organizations, a SAN (Storage Area Network.) This model is often referred to as N-tier.

N-tier architectures can be defined as a client–server architecture in which presentation, application processing, and data management functions are separated. This deployment model is often referred to as on-premise.

What is a hybrid deployment?
This is when an organization deploys SharePoint using a combination of on-premise (servers run from an organization’s own data center) and SharePoint Online (servers run by Microsoft from their data centers, often referred to as cloud servers.)

Why a hybrid deployment?
All IT departments are trying to balance delivering optimal services with the costs to provide those services. The good news? Using SharePoint Online can provide cost savings,

Very often though, and especially for larger organizations, the Microsoft SharePoint online deployment mode prevents organizations from being fully compliant with all the laws and regulations in the country within which it is operating.

For example, UK law specifies that certain legal documents must be kept in house. It is not acceptable for such an organization to have all their documents running on SharePoint Online.   In Europe, SharePoint Online would be running from Microsoft’s main data center located in Ireland.

Final thoughts
For organizations that wish to reduce operating costs by taking advantage of Microsoft’s cloud-based software while simultaneously delivering all the data requirements your organization via on-premise SharePoint, a hybrid SharePoint model may well be worth considering.

It also may be that a hybrid SharePoint deployment, using Microsoft’s expertise for infrastructure via SharePoint online (as part of Office 365), as well as an on-premise deployment for data that has stringent requirements, is just what your organization needs.

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