One of the most common discussions that I’ve heard recently is around SharePoint in the cloud – specifically what it is, what it does and how it can be used. This is a great topic, but there seems to still be a lot of confusion and misconceptions about what it means for SharePoint to be in the cloud. In this blog post, I’ll clarify some of the more common issues.
First, let’s take a step back; a number of very large companies (including Microsoft) have frequently used the term “cloud” and “cloud computing” these days. But what does it mean?
The basic definition for cloud computing is: the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet).
To simplify that even more, cloud computing includes anything where your hardware and software is not hosted in your own data center and instead made available by a service provider. This definition is a bit more broad than most of the ones that I’ve heard from organizations considering moving SharePoint to the cloud.
As companies look to move SharePoint to the cloud, it is important to be aware of the various options to make sure that they are choosing what’s right for them:
Which option is the right fit for your organization? The answer is the dreaded “it depends.”
There’s significant value in leveraging the cloud, but it’s important to remember that cloud comes in a number of different flavors and in some cases combinations of cloud options make the most sense. These are referred to as hybrid cloud. In a recent GigaOm article called “Forecast for the cloud: it will come in a million varieties,” Rackspace President Lew Moorman explained that there isn’t going to be “one cloud to rule them all” and that most companies will rely on hybrid clouds to meet their unique requirements.
“Users will turn to hybrid-cloud architectures – using the right cloud for the right job – and as a result lower costs while improving reliability and performance,” Moorman wrote.
If someone were to ask me “Hey John, should we be looking to move our SharePoint to the cloud?” my answer would be a very enthusiastic “Yes!”
That being said, while I think all organizations should explore moving their SharePoint to the cloud, I also recognize that the cloud isn’t going to be a great fit for everyone. Certain organizations have security or regulatory constraints that make going to the cloud impossible. They know who they are.
The Bottom Line:
All organizations should evaluate the cloud as a way to get more value from SharePoint. But SharePoint in the cloud comes in several different flavors, each with its own pros and cons as well as costs. It is important to weigh all of the various cloud options and consider the security, flexibility, total cost and functionality you get from each option. My advice is to take your time and do your homework.
If you need help with that homework, feel free to contact us – we’re glad to assist with navigating the wild and wonderful world of SharePoint in the cloud!