There are 3 ways to run SharePoint
- On premises, you buy the servers, and you run the servers.
- Hosted servers, where you don’t run the servers, but you let a hosting company run dedicated servers.
- Multi-tenant, like SharePoint online – this is what I am talking about in this blog post. Also known as SaaS (Software as a Service).
The advantages of a cloud solution are undeniable.
- Availability, (SharePoint line offers a 99.9% uptime SLA)
- Cost. Due to economies of scale, and no need to hire specialized dedicated staff.
- Flexibility – grow or shrink as you need to.
If you are seriously considering SharePoint 2010 in the cloud, there are some things you need to know about SharePoint online.
What will work -
- OOTB Customization, collaboration features etc. will work
- SharePoint Designer 2010 is supported, so no code workflows will work
- Visual Studio sandbox solutions, client object model will work.
What won’t work -
- SharePoint 2010 online cloud environment supports only sandbox solutions.
- BCS, business connectivity services is not supported in SharePoint online. What you can do however is to host your services in Azure, and call them using Silverlight.
- Custom timer jobs will not work.
Long story short, get used to Sandbox solutions – and the new way of programming. Sandbox solutions are pretty damn good.
Most of the complaints I have heard around sandbox solutions being too restrictive, are uninformed mechanisms of doing things mired in the ways of 2002.
.. or you could just live in 2002 too.