Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Office365 Features

The SharePoint Online version in Office 365 is based on the SharePoint 2010 platform. With the introduction of SharePoint Online 2010 in Office 365 the SharePoint On Premise platform and SharePoint Online platform will basically be on par. However, not all functionality will be supported in Office 365 / SharePoint Online 2010.
An overview:
Sites and Communities:
  • SharePoint for Internet Sites (targeted for release in FY12). Supports customizations, site authoring, and WCM workflow and approval.
Content Management:
  • Access to customer asset management systems. This limitation disables support for end-to-end eDiscovery scenarios. Targeted for W15.
  • 'Unified' Search results combining online and customer site sources. (Targeted for W15)
  • FAST Search which includes features such as thumbnails, previews, contextual search, visual best bets, and deep search refinement. Targeted for W15.
  • Business Connectivity Services (BCS) which eliminates the ability to access external services. Targeted for release in FY12.
  • PerformancePoint Services. Targeted for W15.
  • PowerPivot is unable to connect to external services. Targeted for release in FY12.
  • Sandbox Solutions are targeted at the site collection level.
  • Alternatives to higher-end custom solutions (full-trust code) are targeted for FY12 and W15.
· Below you'll find some site limitations regarding SharePoint Online. These are helpful in designing a new environment.
· Max. Site Collection size: 50GB
· Max. Number of Site Collections: 20
· Max. Document upload size: 250MB
The SharePoint Online service administrator can set the storage limit for site collections and sites. This can be anywhere between the range of 24 MB (minimum) to 100 GB (maximum) for any site collection.
The administrator has the power to set the quota. But it's important to understand how much storage SharePoint Online initially assigns to site collections -- and after that the company will be charged on a monthly basis. Currently, SharePoint online provides 10 GB of storage (for single-company tenancy), along with 500 MB for each registered user (which is mainly for the user's My Site, which is a separate site collection).
This storage is available across all the site collections so the administrator can manage it in the form of a quota and allocate according to need to individual site collections. However, the maximum storage currently made available to a single company tenancy is 5 TB. This means that the company needs to pay for any storage other than their 10GB storage quota, and this needs to be done on monthly basis.
SharePoint Online, as well as SharePoint Server 2010, is highly productive because of its integration with Microsoft Office products. For most companies this is important starting point as they already have full desktop versions of Microsoft Office products installed in their environment, the good news is that SharePoint Online supports almost all of the Microsoft Office products as shown if figure below.

Another important part of the productivity boost is using some of the common SharePoint functionalities like tasks, contacts, calendar and discussions right from Outlook 2010, rather than going through SharePoint site. The integration of Outlook 2010 and SharePoint Online is quite deep, as shown in figure below.

Another important consideration for organizations is cross browser support for any Web-based application. Microsoft SharePoint Online fully supports IE 7 and IE 8. Non-Microsoft browsers Firefox 3 and Safari 3.1.2 (only for Macintosh) are supported, but some of the functionality may be absent. Another difference in user experience while using non Microsoft browsers is that user will get prompted to enter their credentials every time they access the SharePoint Online sites. On the other hand, while using IE 7 and IE 8 user will be required enter credentials only once and on subsequent access of the sites they are not required to enter their credentials again.
It's crucial for organizations to understand the user interface limitations within non Microsoft browsers. This will help avoiding awkward and undesirable situations where users are expecting similar experience for all the browsers which their organization is supporting.
SharePoint Online delivers SharePoint as a cloud service. It helps businesses create sites to share documents and insights and enable collaboration between colleagues, partners, and customers. People can also customize these capabilities to address specific business needs. This means that people can share ideas and expertise and find the information they want—all without the need to set up SharePoint in their organization’s data center. Plus, SharePoint Online provides high availability, comprehensive security, and simplified management. SharePoint Online provides sites to:
  1. Manage and share important documents. (My Sites)
  2. Keep teams in sync and manage important projects. (Team Sites)
  3. Stay up-to-date with company information and news. (Intranet Sites)
  4. Share documents securely with partners and customers. (Extranet Sites)
  5. Market your business using a simple public-facing website. (Internet Sites)
Given below are some of the key features of SharePoint Online in Office 365:
500 megabytes (MB) per user account
Site storage quotas
Up to 50 gigabytes (GB) per site collection
Site collections
Total storage per tenant
Up to 1 terabyte per tenant
File upload limit
250 MB
Works with Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft Access 2010, Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft InfoPath 2010, Microsoft OneNote 2010, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010, Microsoft Word 2010
Browser support
  • Internet Explorer 7
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Firefox 3
  • Safari 3.1.2 on Macintosh OS X 10.5
Mobile device support
  • Windows Mobile 6.5.x
  • Nokia E series and N series devices
  • Apple iPhone 2.0
Points to note on storage are:
  • The storage is aggregated/pooled among the users. For example, an organization of 1,000 users has 500,000 MB (~500 GB) of storage.
  • Users can purchase more SharePoint Online storage in GB increments charged monthly
  • The SharePoint Online service administrator can set the storage limits for site collections and sites created by users. The maximum storage available for any site collection is 50 GB
  • The maximum SharePoint Online storage available to a single company is 1 terabyte
SharePoint Online Capabilities
As in on-premise SharePoint 2010, all the 6 primary capabilities are available in SharePoint Online: Sites, Communities, Content, Search, Insights and, Composites. note: Not all the features in SharePoint 2010 are available during the Office 365 Beta and also may not be available at General Availability of SharePoint Online. Some features will be made available to SharePoint Online users in subsequent updates released quarterly. These are highlighted clearly in the service description document.
Office integration
SharePoint Online works with familiar Office applications. You can easily create Office documents and save directly to SharePoint Online, or you can coauthor documents with Microsoft Office Web Apps. Access important documents offline or from mobile devices and set document-level permissions to help protect sensitive content. With one click you can communicate in real-time with colleagues, customers, and partners from within SharePoint sites.
Some highlights of the new functionality in Microsoft Office 2010 that interoperate with SharePoint Online include:
  • Backstage View: The Microsoft Office Backstage™ view allows users to manage their documents and related data—they can create, save, and send documents; inspect documents for hidden metadata or personal information; set options such as turning on or off AutoComplete suggestions; and more.
  • PowerPoint Broadcasting: Presenters can broadcast their slide shows to people in other locations, whether or not they have PowerPoint installed.
  • Document Co-Authoring: With new co-authoring capabilities, multiple users can edit the same document, at the same time, even if they are in different locations. Users can even communicate as they work, directly from within the desktop application.
  • Outlook Alerts: Users can stay updated on changes to documents and list items on their SharePoint site by receiving notifications of changes as alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS).
  • Using SharePoint Workspace to Manage Documents Offline: Users can synchronize SharePoint 2010 libraries and lists to their computers with just a few clicks. They can easily update documents and lists offline, and be confident that everything will automatically synchronize to the server when they are back online.
Together, Outlook 2010 and SharePoint Online support:
  • Read/write access to SharePoint Online items such as calendars, tasks, contacts, discussions, and documents.
  • Synchronization for offline support of document libraries and lists.
  • Ability to check out and edit SharePoint site documents when offline.
  • Roll-up views of calendars and tasks across multiple lists and sites.
  • Unified view of personal and SharePoint tasks in Outlook 2010.
SharePoint Designer 2010 Support
Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 is a Web and application design program you can use to design, build, and customize your Web sites on SharePoint Online. With SharePoint Designer 2010, you can create data-rich Web pages, build powerful workflow-enabled solutions, and design the look and feel of your site. The Workflow Designer in SharePoint Designer 2010 can be used to create rules that associate conditions and actions with items in SharePoint Online lists and libraries. Changes to items in lists or libraries then trigger actions in the workflow.
note: Backup and restore from SharePoint Designer is not supported in SharePoint Online
Data Backup
Data protection services are provided to prevent the loss of SharePoint Online data. Backups are performed every 12 hours and retained for 14 days. This is not available during Beta.
Virus Filtering
Forefront Security for SharePoint is included with SharePoint Online to help protect the SharePoint Online environment from viruses while maintaining uptime and optimizing performance.
Developer Help
You can find articles, videos, and training for the developer features available in SharePoint Online at theSharePoint Online Developer Resource Center. Start by viewing Video: Developing for SharePoint 2010 Online: Understanding the boundaries - In this video from Tech Ed North America 2010, developer evangelist Chris Mayo helps define what the developer can and cannot do with SharePoint Online to help you understand where the boundaries lie.
Sandboxed Solutions
SharePoint Online allows tenant administrators to upload custom solutions without Microsoft review with a new feature called sandboxed solutions, which run at the site collection level and use a subset of the Microsoft.SharePoint namespace.
Client Object Model
The unified client object model in SharePoint Online provides a streamlined development experience and easy access to SharePoint functionality from remote clients. SharePoint Online supports Web 2.0 types of applications that are hosted in the browser and written in ECMAScript (JavaScript, JScript) or Microsoft Silverlight 2.0, and classical .NE
Besides these options, you can enrich solutions be leveraging Excel, InfoPath Forms, Visio, and Access Services and also use the Web services available in SharePoint Online to interact with your SharePoint data remotely.
Administrator Help
The SharePoint Online Administrator manages site collections, sets up site collection administrators, ensures that storage quotas are maintained, and enables features on site collections. The SharePoint Online Administration Guide contains procedures for the SharePoint Online Administrator.
SharePoint Online Planning and Administration contains planning guides to help guide site collection administrators and site owners through the steps involved in setting up and using SharePoint Online for Microsoft Office 365 Beta.
Some of the most important risks to consider with adopting SharePoint in the cloud include:
· Data security: Hosting data in a remote data center exposes you to risk since data center staff or others outside of your organization might have access to your data.
· Dedicated or multi-tenant: A dedicated environment will provide the same capabilities as a server hosted in your environment, but it will cost significantly more than a shared environment that is used by many tenants. A multi-tenant environment like Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) will be significantly less expensive than a dedicated environment, but there will be some restrictions on what you can deploy. Which environment is right for you? Why?
· 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 to ensure integrity and confidentiality of your data?
· Data ownership and control: Read the fine print and make sure you know who owns the data. How can you be sure you are not held hostage now that your data is no longer under your control?
· Service level agreements: Do the service level agreements (SLAs) available in the cloud solutions you’re considering meet the needs of the business? Consider speed, uptime, and disaster recovery.
· System downtime compensation: What leverage do you have to ensure that you will be fairly compensated if the service is unavailable for any length of time?
· Data transmission across national borders: Data could be hosted anywhere in the world. What assurance do you have that you aren’t violating local laws and regulations where your data is stored or transmitted?
· Data discovery: What happens if the cloud provider is seized or searched by a local authority hosting your data? What rights do you have to protect and preserve your data?
· Identity management: How is the identity of users managed? Can you manage user identity and limit your exposure to outside system users through federation of identity stores?
· Third-party applications: Are third party add-ons needed to work within your solution? If so, do they run in the cloud, and what are the licensing implications?
· Your existing staff: How are they involved in the migration to the cloud, and what is their long-term role in a cloud-based solution?
· Data storage limitations: How much data can you store in the cloud, and what are the costs to increase the storage quota?
· Retrieval limits: What are the limits imposed on data retrieval? For example, can you retrieve 25,000 items from a list at one time? What does the business need? What limits are in place and what is required?
· Development considerations: What limitations have been introduced by the cloud-based offering? For example, all custom code should be put in a Sandbox with SharePoint 2010. What other limitations must be designed within the solution?
· Testing: How can you test prior to a full-scale deployment to the cloud?
· Data migration: How can you migrate data to the cloud environment?
· Data retention policies: How long is data maintained for disaster recovery purposes?

No comments: