Office 365 for SharePoint hosting

I decided to take a look at Office 365 to let Microsoft host SharePoint for us, but it turns that Office 365 wants to do a lot more thanjust SharePoint hosting for you.

Here is our current collaboration/document management setup

  • We host our own SharePoint server on a dedicated server which is probably an overkill as far as the hardware goes, but it nice to have.
  • We let Google apps handle our email. Google docs are ok, but I prefer SharePoint for document and list management.
  • Our main public website uses a simple solution of DreamWeaver + SVN

The initial setup process for Office 365 is very simple. My initial impression of the admin page was really good.

Office365 main admin

I did not move email hosting to Office 365 as it was not my intention and Google seems to be working just fine, plus Android in it integration is great.

I was a bit disappointed with the way SharePoint was set up. It seem like you get one site collection and you are forced to have a top level site with a custom publishing master page. Collaboration and document management are supposed to take place at the sub sites.

  • – main site collection setup with a custom publishing master page. The intention here is that you would move your public website here. <a href=""><img src="" alt="offic365 Site Collection Tree View" title="offic365 Site Collection Tree View" width="1024" height="510" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-180" /></a>
  • – sub site with a team site template
    offic365 Site Collection Tree View

I believe that Office 365 would be better off just focusing on internal collaboration and document management instead of trying to build a so so external site on SharePoint. After looking around this setup I decided that I like the flexibility that we currently have with our SharePoint setup and will not be moving anything to Office 365 just yet. Also, I don’t have a Windows 7 phone to see how well the integration works; I assume for some organizations it will be important.

Overall, I never felt that the publishing feature was how you start selling SharePoint ot a business that has not used SharePoint before, but ti certainly seems a strategy for Office 365. We’ll see if they change it soon.

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SharePoint 2010: Service Packs and Site Collection Backups

This only applies to Site Collection backups, and not farm backups. Farm backups are apparently just fine as long as you run the psconfig update command afterward. I haven’t had to deal with these specifically yet, and if those have the same issue then I’ll post at a later date (when I come across those issues).

If you have a site collection backup from before a service pack was applied, you can not restore from that backup after the service pack. What you’ll want to do is to set aside another environment (even if it’s a virtual image) from before the update in case you need to restore one of these old backups in the future. After you have the content database restored with the site collection in it, you can attach to the new environment and run psconfig’s update to get it up to speed.

The pre-SP1 environment I stood up for this purpose was a Windows 7 developer install of just Foundation on no domain at all. The final destination was in a domain running server.

Yes, I just had to do this. Yes, it was a huge hassle. Yes, it worked.

Here’s a link to the relevant page on technet.

Happy restoring!