Wednesday, March 13, 2013

SharePoint Online Hybrid BCS and Search

With the new release of SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2013 we have some new SharePoint scenarios that can be supported. I have always told customer the definition of hybrid sometimes murky. Why because SharePoint can be implemented in so many ways. In many cases ADFS provides a unified user experience providing the user experience they need. Doing application integration using APIs, remote libraries, etc. provides all that is needed. The new SharePoint Apps model is going to really introduce a lot of new ways to create customer hybrid solutions.
Some other new hybrid scenarios that are going to be supported with the new SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2013. Specifically there is the ability to configure BCS and Search to support some real hybrid solutions. This is really exciting.
Please review the following whitepapers that are located here:
Hybrid BCS
With the Hybrid BCS, organizations are going to have some real flexibility in you can expose data from the enterprise to SharePoint Online. In the prior version of SharePoint Online based on 2010 technologies, we were limited to working with web services. There is nothing wrong with that, but we would have to create some web services, make it available to SharePoint Online, and then use it. Here are some facts:
  • This supports the ability to view, edit and delete data.
  • All data sources must be published using OData.
  • Using this solution, no data needs to be published out in an unsecure way, require any new ports to be opened, etc. The on-premise SharePoint 2013 server will basically connect, using a reverse proxy, and will publish out an end point which SharePoint Online can connect to.
  • ADFS with Federated identities is required.
  • There are a few configuration steps that you will need to go through outlined in the document. Additionally there is some configurations that you will need to make on the SharePoint Online administration screens.
Doing this will allow you to bring your line of business data into SharePoint Online. Users can access that data through External lists, External columns, developers can use it through code, workflow can use it to help make decisions through using the external lists, Visio Services has a new feature that allows it to user external lists, etc. I am frankly just happy to see this level of integration and facilitation versus what we had to do in the past to expose data to SharePoint Online.

For more details read here -

Hybrid Search
Even more exciting is our new support for setting up Hybrid Search for SharePoint Online. SharePoint 2013 must be installed on-premise and you must again be using federated IDs with the SharePoint Online. I would say this is one of the primary use cases for facilitating a hybrid deployment. Why because we want to allow users to be able to initiate and search for data regardless of where it resides.

Remember that the new SharePoint Online in the cloud does utilize the FAST search technology. However just because that capability is delivered in the cloud, it does not provide the ability to index on-premise locations. We rely on SharePoint 2013 on-premise to basically do a federated search. This means that SharePoint Online Search does not directly index on-premise content; it relies on those on-premise servers.

There are two approaches for configuring Hybrid Search:
  • One-way Hybrid – In this scenario you have the ability to perform a search from your on-premise SharePoint 2013 environment to SharePoint Online. This way users will have the ability retrieve content from the SharePoint Online anytime they do a search from on-premise. This is nice if you have a search portal set up on-premise that is indexing your entire enterprise and SharePoint Online is just another content source to index. All those intranets, team sites, My Sites, etc. in SharePoint Online are accessible.
  • Two-way Hybrid – In this scenario you will be configuring both your SharePoint 2013 on-premise environment and your SharePoint Online environment to perform search of each other. This is really powerful to allow the end user to find content across the enterprise regardless of where the user is.
For more information read here -

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