This is an interesting article that featured on SharePoint Pro.
Do you know the top 10 things to consider before moving SharePoint
to the cloud? Read on to see do you agree aggree with the
Questions about SharePoint and the cloud tend to run along these
lines: Will moving to the cloud truly save me money? Will I be able
to have a highly customized SharePoint implementation? Will farm
administration go away?
Good questions, for starters, but you probably have more. Check
your list against these 10 questions about SharePoint and the
cloud, courtesy of Shawn Beeson, principal consultant in the
Portals and Collaboration practice with RBA Consulting in
Beeson, a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer in ASP.NET
and SharePoint 2010 Development and a Certified Technical
Specialist in SharePoint 2010, MOSS, and WSS configuration, says
you need to consider not just cost and compliance but also the
skills of your technical staff, and more.
Here are his top 10 things to consider before moving SharePoint
to the cloud:
Question 10: What is your time
Define your target time frame--is it flexible? is it fixed? If
you're implementing SharePoint for the first time--a greenfield
deployment--then you might not have as long an estimated time frame
as someone doing a brownfield deployment, that is, moving from
SharePoint on premises to a cloud implementation.
Question 9: What is your enterprise app topology
What do you have that needs to integrate with SharePoint? SAP?
custom apps? Project Server?
How do they work together from a code perspective? is this
feasible? Will you be able to have single sign-on?
Question 8: If you already have SharePoint, how
customized is it?
Some third-party SharePoint applications used on-premises might
be difficult to implement in a cloud deployment, or you might lose
some functionality. Are your existing customizations packaged and
deployed as a feature? Do you postpone current development work in
progress or do you correct the course and plow onward? How do you
introduce application lifecycle management into a cloud based
"In the future, everything has to be in the sandbox," Beeson
says. "It's a more restrictive process with a restrictive code
access policy, and it only has limited access to SharePoint
Here's what's supported in sandbox solutions: Web Parts, lists,
list templates, custom actions, workflows. Here's what's not
supported: access to the file system, off-box connections, ADO.NET;
enterprise features; threading; third-party .NET controls.
Question 7: Do you have a strategy for managing
Managing identity is so important, Beeson says a possible job
function you might end up with on your team could be that of
identity manager, someone who understands the boundaries of
identity between all applications. For example, an identity manager
might architect a cloud federation service that lies between the
apps and the authentication sources.
Question 6: Will you be affected by legal
considerations about moving to the cloud?
Some countries have issues with storing data in US-based data
centers, thanks to the Patriot Act. (Note that some other countries
also have similar laws.) What happens if your cloud provider is
seized or searched by a local authority hosting your data? what
rights do you have? Some industries have issues with storing data,
which you already know about if you have to comply with any of the
alphabet-soup regulations (SOX, HIPPA, etc.).
Question 5: Do you know what SharePoint features are
must-haves for your organization--and are you willing to give some
up to be in the cloud?
Right now, with Office 365's SharePoint Online, you're limited
with what you can do, Beeson says, and he also advises questioning
any cloud provider you might be considering. For example, he lists
some restrictions in SharePoint Online:
MySites is limited
SQL Server Reporting Services isn't available
Excel Services and PowerPivot aren't available
FAST Search isn't available
No support for customer use of Windows PowerShell for service
No support for BCS direct connection to SQL Azure--a Windows
Communication Foundation (WCF) endpoint is required
Timer jobs aren't available, nor are BCS profile pages
Records Center isn't available
Word Automation services isn't available
Question 4: Do you understand your target cloud
You need to know what features and customizations you'll have
and whether you might need a hybrid environment, which adds
complexity, or whether you might need private (dedicated) hosting,
which adds cost.
Question 3: Are you able and willing to change your
support, site ownership, admin, dev, and governance
Will farm administariton, maintenance, and tuning go away? Who
will own the governance of your cloud environment--will your admins
take over governance responsibilities or will others? will they be
in house or outside? How will the required technical skills in your
Question 2: Have you defined a plan for moving what
What will site hierarchy and navigation be like? Who will handle
content review? Will you use a third-party tool to move SharePoint
from on premises to the cloud? What will be involved with that?
Question 1: What's the ROI? How long will it take
you to make your money back?
Beeson notes these cost considerations for starters: Cost of
cloud preparedness; client licensing;
migration costs; infrastructure costs with Active Directory
Federated Services (ADFS); cost of filling in the gaps in
limitations (e.g., SharePoint Online's gaps). You might well see
savings in server licensing, client licensing, and infrastructure
costs, but you might see unforeseen costs too: "Understand where
you're going to break even and where you're going to save," Beeson
And finally, The Bonus Question: What about
your people? Don't forget about them, Beeson says. "Developers,
site owners, administrators--you're taking this away from them. Lay
out a plan for them and make sure they're part of the process. You
can't do this in a silo. There are going to be shifts in
responsibility and job titles and descriptions."
If you do decide to move ahead to the cloud, you'll need to
question your provider about the following, for starters:
Data security: Hosting data in a remote data
center exposes you to risk since data center staff have access to
your data. What measures are in place to secure your data from IT
Physical security: Data may be stored in many
data centers. How can you ensure that the data centers hosting your
data have adequate physical security?
Data ownership and control: How can you be sure
you aren't held hostage now that your data is no longer under your
control? How do you get it back if you decide to leave
(offboarding?) Read the fine print and make sure you know who owns
Service level agreements (SLAs): Are SLAs
clearly defined? For example, what is the cost and remediation of
down time? Is your provider going to make up the cost?
Stay tuned for more content by joining our community or by
following us on twitter or facebook