Arpan Shah Microsoft Project and SharePoint Blog
I’m a big fan of SharePoint Online along with over one million other users out there. It’s a reliable, convenient service that allows companies to take advantage of SharePoint without having to host it themselves. It’s software-as-a-service at its best.
SharePoint Online today, based on SharePoint 2007, does a good job providing some of the core SharePoint capabilities. In the second half of this calendar year, SharePoint Online will be updated to SharePoint 2010 at which point it will be even more powerful & provide even greater parity with SharePoint 2010 “On-Premises”. This is largely due to all the investments we’ve made in the 2010 wave around multi-tenancy and extensibility.
Timeline SharePoint Online is available today. The current service is based on the SharePoint 2007 platform. A limited beta of SharePoint Online on the 2010 platform is expected to be available at the end of this half (CY10H1); final release is expected in the second half of this year (CY10H2).
Multi-Tenancy The team has done a lot of work focusing on “hosting” as a core scenario in the 2010 wave. With SharePoint 2007 today, a site collection serves as a tenant boundary delivering some of the core WSS 3.0 features along with some of the MOSS 2007 features such as web content management. However, when it comes to MOSS 2007 especially, not all of the features are optimal for multiple tenants. For example, BDC, Excel Services and many of the other Shared Service Providers (SSPs) are not easily manageable by different site collection owners.
In the SharePoint 2010 wave, we have made changes and focused on making sure the features are multi-tenant. This also includes a tenant administration site to allow you to centrally manage the various sites & configuration. From a functionality perspective what this means to customers & partners is that they’ll be able to get all the goodness of SharePoint 2010 such as social computing, web content management & enterprise content management, just to name a few, with SharePoint Online. I expect a very high % of end-user feature parity from an end-user perspective (I talk about extensibility next) between SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-Premises. Of course, this depends on what SKU you are looking at!
Extensibility Multi-tenancy investments in SharePoint 2010 mean more end-user feature parity between SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-Premises; add to this the improved extensibility & developer story for SharePoint Online and you have a really great SaaS offering that customers & partners can bet their business on.
Extensibility is important for any solution. Whether it’s heavy customization or last mile touch-ups, whether you are Microsoft, IBM or Google, customers & partners need to be able to customize their solution. And almost always, cloud solutions provide less flexibility than on-premises solutions; that’s one of the trade-offs organizations must make. With the 2010 wave, the extensibility/developer story for SharePoint Online has significant improvements and enables a wide range of scenarios from small cosmetic changes to custom code solutions:
SKUs The below slide comes from a session on licensing from the SharePoint Conference and does a good job summarizing the various SharePoint Online SKUs in the 2010 wave. It’s worth calling out the new SKUs. The Enterprise USL is self-explanatory as it provides Enterprise CAL functionality; the Internet Sites offer provides a public facing website portal with underlying web content management (WCM); the Partner Access offer enables company employees to collaborate with authenticated external partners within SharePoint Online.
Fore more information, you can also check out a recent podcast I did on SharePoint Online @ http://www.sharepointpodshow.com/archive/2010/01/13/sharepoint-online-and-sharepoint-2010-ecm-episode-41.aspx