Where Microsoft Office 365 Stops and Fpweb.net Starts

Microsoft’s next version of SharePoint Online – BPOS 2010 is now in beta and will launch in early 2011.

We are often asked how Fpweb.net “fits in” with BPOS, especially the upcoming version which has now officially been dubbed “Microsoft Office 365”.

Here’s the skinny:  Fpweb.net extends the functionality of Office 365.  Office 365 will meet the needs of millions of users worldwide, but it’s important to realize that the limitations of BPOS – especially in the realm of SharePoint – create a place where Office 365 stops and Fpweb.net FLEXible SharePoint hosting begins. Fpweb.net is the place for those who outgrow Microsoft Office 365 – or folks who need full server control with unrestricted abilities to customize their dedicated SharePoint 2010 hosting environment.


What is Microsoft Office 365?

Office 365 is Microsoft’s latest online services and hosted software in the cloud – delivering services to fit your organization’s unique needs. As a customer within the Microsoft Online Services environment, your software will always be the most current updates to MS Office Professional Plus, Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and Lync Online (OCS 2010). These commodity-based services enable small businesses to deliver the latest productivity solutions to end-users for a SaaS “per-user” pricing model.

Compare Fpweb.net FLEXible SharePoint to Office 365 Features

SharePoint Features MS Office 365 Fpweb.net FLEXible SharePoint
Online SharePoint Access yes yes
SharePoint for 1-50 Users yes yes
SharePoint for 50+ Users no yes
Phone Support no yes
Active Directory Sync no yes
Advanced IT Management no yes
Web Content Management no yes
Custom Workflows no yes
Business Intelligence no yes
Server Access & Control no yes
Deploy Custom Code no yes
Install 3rd Party Web Parts no yes
FLEXible Storage no yes
FLEXible Licensing no yes
Email/Presence Features MS Office 365 Fpweb.net FLEXible SharePoint
Microsoft Office Web Apps included license required
Web Conferencing yes no
Integrated multi-party IM yes no
ActiveSync yes yes
25GB Mailbox yes yes
Online Calendars yes yes
Email for 1-50 Users yes yes
Email for 50+ Users no yes
Email Archiving & Retention no yes
Phone Support no yes
Active Directory Sync no yes
Advanced IT Management no yes
Server Access & Control no yes
FLEXible Storage no yes
FLEXible Licensing no yes

As you can see, Microsoft Office 365 has its advantages – and overall, the Microsoft Online Services product team has done a tremendous job bringing the viability of the hosted services option into the public conscious.

So no matter if you’re a small shop who has outgrown the capacity & capabilities of Office 365 – or simply need to extend the functionality of SharePoint 2010 hosting with custom code & web parts – one thing is for sure: where Fpweb.net fits into this hosted services ecosystem is quite simple in our minds – wherever you need us. We’re flexible.

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About Rob LaMear IV

Rob, Fpweb.net’s founder and biggest evangelist, believes the best thing about Fpweb.net is its people and energy, hands down. As a graduate from Notre Dame, Rob has led lots of past business lives as a window washer, golf artwork sales, accountant and D1 soccer coach. Passionate about doing things right and homemade apple pie, Rob is a firm believer in the American Dream and knows if you can dream it, you can do it. As much as he likes work and technology, Rob loves spending time with his family completely unplugged, fly fishing or joining a pickup game of soccer in the park. Follow Rob on Google+
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11 Responses to Where Microsoft Office 365 Stops and Fpweb.net Starts

  1. Jason says:

    This blog post is from Nov 2010. Now in 2012 it seems like MS Office 365 supports the following:
    * SharePoint for 50+ Users
    * Phone Support
    * Active Directory Sync
    * Web Content Management
    * Custom Workflows
    * Business Intelligence
    * Deploy Custom Code
    * Install 3rd Party Web Parts

    Things that MS Office 365 doesn’t provide:
    * Advanced IT Management
    * Server Access & Control

  2. Andy Milsark says:

    @Jason

    I’m going to put my comments next to your points.

    This blog post is from Nov 2010. Now in 2012 it seems like MS Office 365 supports the following:
    * SharePoint for 50+ Users – agree
    * Phone Support – O365 doesn’t have phone suppport for all levels of plans.
    * Active Directory Sync – ADFS only..
    * Web Content Management – Not for high traffic sites
    * Custom Workflows – cannot deploy code based workflow actions
    * Business Intelligence – not all BI serivce applications
    * Deploy Custom Code – Not server side code (full trust)
    * Install 3rd Party Web Parts – None that require server side code + databases
    Things that MS Office 365 doesn’t provide:
    * Advanced IT Management – Fpweb.net’s specialty
    * Server Access & Control – Full parity SharePoint Server

  3. Usher says:

    It should probably be worthwhile noting that I think the above comparison may just be for Office 365 Small Business edition which equates to what was BPOS-Standard.

    My gut feeling is that for Office 365 Enterprise will offer a lot more in terms of customization and flexibility, similar to BPOS-Dedicated.

    Thoughts?

  4. Yes, Office 365 Ent / BPOS-D should offer more, but not much more. Microsoft still has to host it and support it, which means customizations and flexibility will be limited. Talking with some of the BPOS-D team a couple months back, they were still unsure which new features they would allow. Sandbox solutions is not a cure-all. Outside hosters will always take more risks and extend beyond Microsoft on customizations.

    BPOS-D can also be difficult to get into. Outside hosters are much more willing to listen to your unique needs and make it work.

  5. Usher says:

    Based on the Microsoft Online Dedicated Custom Solutions Guide which is for BPOS-D, it seems like the sky is the limit on solutions development to a point…

    For BPOS-D…

    The Custom Solutions Developer guide is available here – http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/4/0/04054360-DC5E-4AB8-B3AB-6BF01BB3946C/SharePoint%20Online%20Dedicated%20Custom%20Solution%20Developers%20Guide_October%202010.docx

    The Custom Solutions Processes guide is available here – http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/4/0/04054360-DC5E-4AB8-B3AB-6BF01BB3946C/SharePoint%20Online%20Dedicated%20Custom%20Solution%20Policies%20and%20Process_October%202010.docx

    • Usher,

      Thanks for reading.

      As far as customizations go on BPOS-D, they are “possible” – but a customer of ours who came to us after becoming discouraged/frustrated with BPOS-D likened it to developing an iPhone app. Just because you wrote great code – and your boss needs the system implemented in 6 weeks – doesn’t mean that the BPOS-D approval process will accommodate that. No custom code can be deployed on BPOS-D without having it reviewed by Microsoft. That process can take months. Needless to say, for a developer – this is an eternity.

      Also, with BPOS-D – there is an entry point of 5,000 users. Unless you have forked over the cash for 5,000 SharePoint Enterprise Licenses – Microsoft won’t even put you in their sales queue for BPOS-D.

      As the dedicated offering for BPOS 2010 (“Office 365”) becomes more clear, everything I’ve stated above could very-well change. However, from everything we’ve heard from our contacts at Microsoft (and frankly, that is a very high number), it’s going to be very very similar to the existing BPOS offering’s limitations.

  6. That’s exactly my point: just because you CAN build it does not mean Microsoft wants to support it. BPOS-S is very much a vanilla offering. That’s fine for a lot of smaller (SMB) companies. BPOS-D has an expanded offering, but its still Microsoft: they cannot afford to take on the costs/risks associated with unfettered customizations. If you’re considering BPOS, don’t accept the standard answers — be specific about what you want/need built. They’ll likely push back.

    By default, other hosters have more flexibility, more expertise in hosted solutions, in general, and more experience in building customizations (MS is not IBM — they don’t “do” services).

  7. It should probably be worthwhile noting that I think the above comparison may just be for Office 365 Small Business edition which equates to what was BPOS-Standard. My gut feeling is that for Office 365 Enterprise will offer a lot more in terms of customization and flexibility, similar to BPOS-Dedicated. Thoughts?

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