Monday, September 7, 2015

New SharePoint and Office 365 Hybrid Search

I am super excited to see the new Hybrid Cloud Search coming. Why? A ton of reasons. The biggest for me are:

  • Simplified On-Premises Deployment – If you have ever had to manage SharePoint on-premises before, the search servers require the most care and management. No more search crashing on you because you did not put enough resources to manage it. No more having to worry about timer jobs and full index crawls.
  • No More Having to Run Search Servers On-Premises - Moving this entire search workload to the cloud will significantly make your on-premises deployments smaller and easier to manage.

Up to this point, the only way to achieve a hybrid search experience by setting up query federation with SharePoint 2013 on-premises with SharePoint Online. This really did not make your SharePoint on-premises deployments any easier. Now we can do away with that configuration.

Here are some specific technical considerations.

  • You now have the ability with your SharePoint 2013 and 2016 on-premises farms to get the entire SharePoint search experience from the cloud. This is being termed as SharePoint Server with Cloud Search service application.
  • Scenario: If you have not leveraged SharePoint Online yet, you can use this as an opportunity to remove all your SharePoint on-premises search servers and use the cloud.
  • Scenario: If you have move some or a large portion of your SharePoint on-premises to the cloud, you now have the ability to get a unified hybrid search and that entire search experience is delivered by the cloud.
  • Scenario: If you have specific reason (i.e. legal, compliance) that you have to keep some search servers on-premises, you can still do that have query federation (picture below) between your on-premises SharePoint and SharePoint Online.
  • Hybrid search can go across the following content sources: SharePoint Server 2007, 2010 or 2013, File shares, BCS connectors*. This basically means that user in SharePoint Online can retrieve search results from all these locations.
  • Recommend that you get your SharePoint on-premises to SharePoint 2013 or higher to get the most advantage of these features.
  • Recommend you seriously considered using search from the cloud. Why? With the amount of data organizations is acquiring and maintaining, using an elastic cloud to deliver those search results will only make your life easier J
  • Delve Search experience will also be supported as part of this new search experience. So Delve can find files not just in SharePoint Online, but also in SharePoint on-premises.
  • eDiscovery and new SharePoint DLP capabilities will be able to go across SharePoint Online, SharePoint on-premises and OneDrive for Business. This is a big deal.
  • Configuration with Azure AD is required. You will do this anyways as an Enterprise Office 365 customer.
  • If you need to do customer IFilters, BCS connectors or Partner connectors, those will remain on-premises.
  • Cloud will not support: Site collection level schema mapping, Custom security trimming, Custom entity extraction and Content enrichment web service.

Here is a high level logical architecture diagram




Getting the point across that this makes your on-premises deployment so much simpler. It is hard to argue that you SharePoint on-premises life will be made better.





Outlook on the web

There was a major announcement for Office 365 Exchange Online customers this past week. Microsoft is changing Outlook Web App (OWA) to “Outlook on the web”. I have a couple ideas of why this was done from a marketing perspective. With this change to Outlook on the web, there was a release of whole bunch of new features and capabilities to come with it. Most notable:

  • A new Action Bar to allow you to perform actions across mail, calendar, contacts and tasks much easier.
  • The ability to Pin an email to the top of your mailbox. Man I love the idea of this feature and will use it a lot. See picture below…
  • Sweep which is a new capability to allow you to manage emails from specific senders.
  • New features to email to your archive folders easier.
  • Several new features around views and reading panes to give you more flexibility like in Outlook rich client.
  • New capabilities to for working with embedded images.
  • Plus the mobile experience web has been enhanced. I have actually had to use this every once and a while. If you are on a mobile device and you do not have a mobile app installed, this is the next best thing. Several new capabilities have been introduced.

Public Announcement -