Three Simple Approaches to Hybrid SharePoint

three approachesWhen we talk about Hybrid SharePoint we think about it like it’s a single hook, but really there are really a number of choices one could make in configuring Hybrid SharePoint.

We talk about Hybrid like we know one way to configure it, or as if it’s one thing. As you walk through these configurations you’ll see just how flexible hybrid can be and how simple it would be to change your approach from one to the next.

The more we start sharing these types of examples with Microsoft, the more they also may better understand there are three or more common approaches people are taking, which would give us enhancements based on the way we choose to embrace the cloud, or mixing or not mixing of data and services. 

  1. Simple or Temporary Hybrid – Using it just to move, no investment in additional hardware of extra security configuration of mixing of the workloads.

Maybe you are looking to actually move your content to the cloud and co-existence is important for a short period of time. As such, you want to not encourage your cloud folks to come back to on prem. You simply want your on-prem data to exist until it can be migrated.

Search – While you configure the hybrid search. In this example let’s say it’s temporary and not worth the effort to configure, so really you decide to not configure any hybrid search. No need to teach people to search in one location or another, they simply do it where their data is. Some may say it’s not hybrid, but yes, it could still be hybrid.

Delve – No on-prem integration with Delve.

SharePoint Sites & Home – New Site creation in both on prem and cloud creates new sites as online only. The idea is to migrate, so all new sites are in cloud, and until data is fully migrated you’ll only see sites online in SharePoint home. Remember it’s temporary. No need to invest in longer-term approaches to mixing the results.

Navigation – You want to encourage people to use the cloud since you’re only held back until you can finish your config. So you configure Global App launcher in SharePoint 2016. No major config or investment for 2013.

OneDrive – Use it in the cloud. Migrate the mysites. Minimize co-existence.

Identity – Temporary New Login, but will eventually move to single sign-on-type experience when fully configured properly.

eDisovery & Compliance center – Only shows online data. Eventually this will be all data as data is migrated. If you want eDiscovery of on-prem data you’ll have to search in the on-prem environment.

Mobile is only available in the cloud. This encourages users to use the cloud for the mobile apps and eventually move off of on prem.  If already supported… no change.

Gateway for PowerApps and Flow is considered, but not deployed. The idea here is to use Flow and PowerApps in the cloud.

Term Store – Managed metadata is separate. All investments are made in the cloud.

  1. One Way Hybrid (Two separate worlds. Don’t want to mix the data, but want to take advantage of the cloud as a tool for collab and cheap storage.) – Longer term use of Hybrid with portals, intranet, and certain class of data on prem, but OneDrive, email, and collaboration sites including things like Teams in the cloud.

Search – Search configuration setup that cloud search provides data that’s in the cloud, and on-prem search provides results for both cloud and on-prem data. You invest in search results that display when a result is coming from the cloud with a different icon.

You’ve invested in figuring out search or hired consultants to the hybrid cloud crawler.  Search config is possible, but different in SharePoint 2013 and 2016. Search investment is made from a hardware and software perspective to get the cloud search working the way we want it to.

Delve –Delve results in cloud only show cloud results. Some may decide to use the delve profiles to do more, especially in on-prem people search. See hybrid search config as options within search to provide a richer people result.

Navigation – Two options…  Make cloud be cloud only with on prem providing both worlds. So you can get out there, but not back. Or, my recommendation is true hybrid navigation desired in both online and on premises. The desire here is to help the user understand what services are where and why. Navigation on prem should show the services in the cloud and vice versa.

Getting your services that are on prem added as icons in the Office 365 experience is the approach. That is also fairly simple to setup. Out of the box SharePoint 2016 has some simple ways of building this type of global nav. For on-prem SharePoint 2013, you’re going to need a consultant to build you something that looks a lot like the global app launcher in SharePoint 2013, if you plan to stay there for an extended period of time.

SharePoint Home – Results provide online only. An on-premises version of SharePoint Home may be desired with specialized experience that shows either just on-premises sites, or both. Graph could be used to enhance this experience to show the sites you use online and the favorites you have on prem in a single page that’s only on prem.

OneDrive – Use OneDrive online. Move all the mysites to OneDrive and use the Delve profiles. For the most part, the data that should be discoverable is the data that’s collaborative and published copy in nature, so it works.

Teams – Use it. It’s awesome. Little to no config is needed. It will light up. You should have an icon in your on-prem environment to encourage proper use of Teams. If you’re asking about groups, yes, you should consider them in tandem with Teams.

Yammer – If you decide to use it for your enterprise feed, you could easily add the yammer integration with on prem. There are legacy webparts for SharePoint 2013, and some newer ones for SharePoint 2016. Depending on your identity configuration, the single sign-on experience may be good enough, or awful. Test it first. People hate logging in twice.

Branding – The on-prem environment is branded with consistent company branding on intranets and portals. The Office 365 environment is mostly out of the box, with a branded logo bar on the top. The Global App launcher may get some special CSS to help define which services are in which environment to make it even more clear what is online and what is in the cloud. This may be part of the consulting engagement.

Identity –  New login, but it will eventually move to a single sign-on-type experience when fully configured properly

Mobile – Only available in cloud.

Sharing – Only available in the cloud.

eDiscovery/Compliance & Protection Center – With SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 you’re getting the full ediscovery experience in the on-prem ediscovery center. Any use of the online ediscovery center is displaying cloud-only results. SharePoint 2016 DLP can be configured to get a rich experience here, but the idea is that the cloud only knows what the cloud has, with the exception of a few links in the global app launcher.

Term Store – Managed metadata is separate, but fairly consistent. The biggest investments are on prem, but simple MMS is setup for the cloud, which is an expert of what we have on prem, minus some data we don’t want in the cloud.

Gateway for PowerApps and Flow – none. Only used in the cloud.

  1. Richest Hybrid (Microsoft’s dream of Hybrid) – (One simple environment that spans both worlds) When I say hybrid I think most jump to this configuration, but there are so many permutations, as you can see in this little write up.

Search – Search configuration setup both on-premises search to provide cloud results and cloud search provides on-prem results. People search provides Delve profiles. Search architecture has our cloud config options in it and vice versa for cloud results. I’m oversimplifying this area, but this is where more is written about cloud than anything else.

Delve – Delve experience shows on-prem results and on-prem search experience profiles delve profiles.

Navigation – SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 global app launcher provides true mirrored hybrid experience.

SharePoint Home – both on-prem and cloud results are displayed. You can favorite both and you can see both results side by side.

Site Creation – Hybrid site creation experience…  both on-prem and online sites can be created. After investing in governance and a file plan, you’ve decided to setup a compliance option with HBI, MBI, LBI approach similar to Microsoft and when someone creates a site, they can decide where the site is located and classify the data and follow strict ownership and site lifecycle cleanup.

OneDrive – everyone gets a OneDrive in the cloud and it’s easy to navigate to. No on-prem mysite or onedrive. There may be an exception to this, but for the most part… you’ve got 1TB of storage. Why not just use that?

Teams/Groups – Of course we are using Teams and Groups. In fact, we’re setting up richer AD sync options to get 2-way sync of groups to leverage them in on-premises systems.

Identity – Seamless single sign-on experience and all profile data is being synced back to on-prem identity stores. Using third party tools like Hyperfish, we enhance our data, sanitize it, and then update all the profile stores.

Mobile – Investing in Microsoft’s approach you’ve configured Office 365 with InTune to get a more integrated experience and hence providing mobile experience for both on prem and cloud with all the bells and whistles of Mobility Management Suite.  Of course we are using all the E5 has to offer so we can get a rich mobile experience, as well as a more secure experience.

Flow and PowerApps Gateway – Of course. Using the power of Flow and PowerApps with our on-prem data.

Term Store – Managed Metadata is Hybrid.

I know this isn’t all of the options in Hybrid configuration and Microsoft is delivering more of these experiences, but the idea is to get these options out there so people better understand that hybrid is not some big switch that is pulled. There are really a lot of decisions to be made and reasons why you’d go one way or another.

If you like what I did here, let me know in the comments. I’m thinking this deserves a white paper and step-by-step instructions that we could offer in our services configuration options. Let us know!

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