Thursday, May 29, 2014

Should I Prepare for a Hybrid SharePoint Platform?


In previous posts, EPC Group has discussed the differences around SharePoint 2013 on-premises (private cloud) vs. the hosted (public cloud) as well as a hybrid SharePoint 2013 deployment which allows for a middle ground for you to tailor based on specific requirements, concerns, security requirements, as well as custom development strategies. There is an inherent tradeoff between complete control of your SharePoint environment and customization strategy vs. a managed service or “service level agreement” (SLA) that you will adhere to for your environment.
There are major considerations that must be vetted by both the business and technology sides of the company and the review of content or intellectual properly and even governing laws at a state, province, or even country level. There are also considerations around business intelligence and the organization’s requirements to connect to other line of business (LOB) systems and how the cloud or hybrid may affect or work with this “other” data and related permission strategies.
EPC Group Hybrid Cloud Advisory SharePoint Practice Office 365
There are eight key architectural areas to consider within a SharePoint 2013 deployment which are as follows:
  1.    Deployment Architecture
  2.    Network Architecture
  3.    Enterprise | Infrastructure architecture
  4.    Permission architecture
  5.    Cloud architecture
  6.    Software Architecture
  7.    Business architecture
  8.    Data | Information architecture
A hybrid SharePoint 2013 environment, as described by EPC Group’s Hybrid Cloud Advisory Practice, allows your organization to be much more flexible and provides for the ability to store sensitive and highly confidential content, as described in some of the initial, within your own data center while also providing an “external” cloud around areas such as Office 365, Microsoft Azure or AWS (Amazon Web Services).
A SharePoint 2013 \ Office 365 hybrid deployment provides an organization to implement robust business intelligence (BI) initiatives as the “private’ side of the hybrid cloud will more than likely already exist on the company’s network in their Active Directory forest which will allow BI initiatives to securely access other line-of-business systems within the organization.
Some of these capabilities also exist in some very recent releases of Office 365 Enterprise but the time you will spend on the configuration and setup to accomplish the same results will be immensely lower in the ‘private cloud” side of the hybrid SharePoint development.
One major concern of organization’s in past releases of SharePoint were how some “Test” or “Development” environments that were not properly implemented, not backed-up or under the organization’s disaster recovery (DR) strategy, or those that duplicated the effort of the organization’s central “SharePoint” deployment quickly became a “Production” like environment.
In SharePoint 2010, 2007, or 2003 implementations there is a concern around the risk that these types of environments (i.e. Development environments that quickly became a SharePoint Production environment with a great deal of content) can bring when they are not following the company’s overall IT strategy, SharePoint roadmap and governance policies and causing additional effort, risk, and concern around document security.
At the very beginning of your organization’s SharePoint 2013 initiative, a company-wide SharePoint Governance and Communication strategy message must be established and communicated to all team members, both non-IT as well as IT, as an employee or team member who would like a place to store and access content without going through the proper channels can establish an unapproved SharePoint site by sending an email or placing a phone call to very long list of hosting providers.
This user who may not know or understand the organization’s SharePoint roadmap and/or governance strategy, could unknowingly be putting the organization at great risk in a number of areas. This team member may not understand the implications of storing data in an environment for which they know little or nothing about.
This is a key reason that preparing this strategy and a SharePoint “hybrid capable” type corporate communication message can be extremely valuable without ruling out possible “hybrid” needs of future projects, vendors, etc.
This is the second in a series of blog posts by EPC Group on SharePoint 2013, Office 365 and considerations regarding a SharePoint “Hybrid Cloud” architecture.