back to article Face up to a double life with hybrid Office 365

“Cloud first” is Microsoft’s new mantra. The vision is of businesses using Office 365, running in Microsoft’s Global data centres, for collaborating, conferencing, messaging and calendaring. The shift towards Office 365 becomes more marked every quarter as more IT departments adopt Microsoft’s cloud offerings. The appeal is …

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  1. Anomalous Cowturd
    Holmes

    Time to call "Time ladies and gentlemen" on the cloud...

    I'm afraid I really have had enough of this "cloud" shite. Unless your company has at least a Gigabit bandwidth to the net, and multiple hundreds of distributed workers or sites, just what is the bloody point of internet hosted data? And what about when your internet is "off"?

    Locally hosted VM snapshots with local NAS and off site backup I can grok.

    VPN (ideally with TPA) in to LAN for off-site workers, all locally hosted.

    Reliance on ANY outside provider is just passing the buck...

    But hey! Just move to a new job. :o(

    1. dan1980

      Re: Time to call "Time ladies and gentlemen" on the cloud...

      Look, for what it's worth, I am also pro-onsite as a general rule. By that I mean that I will suggest/plan/build/deploy on-premises solutions unless there is a compelling reason not to.

      That's a bias that I have based on my experience and, to an extent, age. BUT, and I must stress this, if there is a compelling reason to utilise cloud-based services - either in part or for the entire environment - then that is where the focus will go.

      Neither on-site not cloud are flat better than the other because they both fill different needs. Of course there is a LOT of overlap because they offer the same services but the way these services are provided will suit different use-cases.

      Getting the best solution for a given situation involves understanding all the requirements (not just the purely technical ones) and being open-minded about the methods that might be used to fulfill them.

      If you have a new, 5-person, company renting space in an office, where the owner is interstate every other week, the bean-counter is actually the boss's wife working from home and the marketing guy works at a third-party then Office 365 - or the Google equivalent - may be an excellent choice. Likely alongside Salesforce and, perhaps, Xero for accounting. Insisting on an on-premises solution would be overkill and would involve more upfront and ongoing costs and provide no extra functionality that they actually want or need.

      If you want to call that 'passing the buck' then that's fine. I don't actually disagree - it's just important to note that 'passing the buck' is pretty much exactly what that company wants! They want to simply consume the service and have someone else worry about all the rest.

      I am absolutely not a 'cloud advocate'. What I am is someone who wants the best-fit solution for my clients and, in that, I am an advocate of choosing the 'right tool for the job'.

      Blanket dismissing 'cloud' services is every bit as bad as insisting that everything can - and should - be white and fluffy.

      1. dan1980

        Re: Time to call "Time ladies and gentlemen" on the cloud...

        As a clarification about 'passing the buck', I don't believe that people utilising cloud services can just stop caring about IT.

        My comment was based around your definition of 'passing the buck' which explictly encompassed any and all out-sourcing. As a provider of outsourced IT support and managed services, I am fine with my clients 'passing the buck' to me. I do, insist, however, that they understand their choices and what the implications are. Many of them don't actually want to know* but I make sure that I have done my best to explain it to them.

        Having a third party manage your IT stuff is 'passing the buck' in the same way that having a builder in to do your renovations is. It is not inherently bad, but just as you would make sure you understood what the builder was going to do to your house and what the risks were, so should you understanding what's involved in using a cloud service.

        * - I suspect it's sometimes in part to enable them to blame their suppliers more readily.

        1. hardboiledphil

          Re: Time to call "Time ladies and gentlemen" on the cloud...

          I'd expect a good percentage of decisions for things like this will be done to meet a strategy not because it's necessarily the best thing to go. Like offshoring, once the board has it in their head that it's the thing to do, it will happen whether it makes sense in that case or not.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Time to call "Time ladies and gentlemen" on the cloud...

          Well whatever about the Cloud, its definitely time to call time on the CloudFog. "Microsoft's Online Exchange fixed after going titsup for NINE HOURS"

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/06/25/microsoft_hosted_exchange_outage/

      2. Matto in AUS
        Mushroom

        Re: Time to call "Time ladies and gentlemen" on the cloud...

        +1 to your "passing the buck" comments Dan.

        You could pretty much argue that hosting your servers in a rack in a DC is also "passing the buck", because what happens when the DC provider (or your link to them) goes down? So now you're building your own DC-grade facility at your site? How's that working out for you? Nice and cheap to do properly?

        The further you move up the sophistication chain, you're trading off nuts-and-bolts access to the server for something even better - SLAs. Make sure your SLAs with your providers are solid and business-appropriate. That way, when things DO hit the fan someone else has to fix the problem for you. When faced with the choice between staying up all night sorting a borked Exchange IS or making a phone call and having my provider do it for me, I'm going to choose the latter.

        (Valid point to be made here about how sophisticated you need to be. If you consult to small businesses, they may be happy to use a less reliable system based on consumer gear if it keeps the cost down. I'd still argue however that there's benefits to be had by cloud-ifying some of their stuff, even if you start with something like Dropbox for Business that's less integrated but more affordable than an enterprise solution. Horses for courses.)

        And I can't comment for other countries, but I've got to admit - our data links (be they private IP VPN links or basic internet carriage) are stupid-reliable these days. I honestly couldn't tell you the last time we had a link outage. And that's going right back to frame-relay days. Even the one 3G link that we're using is reliable (albeit as slow as a wet week, but it's better than a $2m fibre build out "investment").

        Look - Office365 still has some hairs on it. We've been working on hybrid Exchange Online for the past year, and have just decided to pull back from it because there's one specific piece of functionality that we need (business-wise, not tech-wise) that we simply cannot do. So for now, we need the extra power and flexibility that you get on-prem. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the moment MSFT announce a solution for us, I'll start migrating mailboxes.

        OneDrive FB is a dogs breakfast (all they had to do was copy DropBox, and they buggered it up...), and I'll agree with the article on Sharepoint Hybrid - you can do it, but man, you've GOT to be committed (or you will be, after you spend a bit of time with it). That said, we're utilising SPO for a variety of sites that integrate seamlessly with our on-prem SP without having a proper hybrid setup. The biggest UX hurdle is seamless authentication, and you can solve that pretty easily via IDp-initiated-signon and smartlinks. The rest is just look-and-feel.

        Lync Online has been a real success story for us - click button, get enterprise UC/IM/video system. We'll be moving it back on-prem soon, but not because of any problems with it. We want to do Enterprise Voice, and there's been only the vaguest murmurs from MSFT about when that might be available. Moving on-prem, we can do it ourselves in 6 months. As above though, you better believe that as soon as Lync Online has robust EV capability I'll be migrating back and divesting myself of having to run what is a delicate and expensive backend.

        The article has the right of it, and I'll also back up the other commentards here. There are some things that the cloud is excellent for (reference the comment made about hosting your website internally - that's gold), and some things that you need on-prem systems for.

        The masterstroke of the MSFT approach is when you pull Azure into the picture - then you get the ability to run on-prem installs of systems inside a cloud DC that's an extension of your internal network. You get all the beauty of cloud management (easy resource assignment, scale up/down, op-ex payment structure, etc) with all the customisation potential of an on-prem deployment. And as someone who has spent the last 6 months facing extremely constrained datacentre resource capacity with no easy solution other than large cap-ex, that's a very attractive option.

        My $0.02 - I'll caution you that it's probably worth markedly less than what you paid for it.

        Cheers,

        Matto :)

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: you're trading off nuts-and-bolts access to the server for something even better - SLAs

          I'm sure the customers of Code Spaces will be happy to remember that.

    2. Philscompany

      Re: Time to call "Time ladies and gentlemen" on the cloud...

      When you have a large number of staff working remotely, having emails, Sharepoint etc. hosted internally makes no more sense than hosting your website internally - and who does that any more? The services become heavily dependent on your local internet connectivity which can often be an issue. Hosting them with a dedicated provider who has the ability to run these services on a 99.9% uptime basis makes a lot of sense as it ceases to be location-specific. Plus, when your internet connection goes down, no, you can't access your cloud services - but you couldn't access anything else internet-based anyway and you wouldn't get emails delivered.

      There's definitely good cases for both on-premise and hosted options, I'm currently looking at the options myself, but I would not consider placing services on to a hosted platform as 'passing the buck' any more than hosting your website with someone like Rackspace would be. When it's justified, it's just good practice.

  2. dan1980

    Excellent points, all, and a +1 back at you for your "SLA" comments.

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