SharePoint Online, Microsoft Online Services or BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) are terms which you hear flying around when you look for information about Microsoft’s endeavors in the cloud. Here’s some more background information:
- SharePoint Online : is a collection of web-based collaboration tools built on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and provided by Microsoft as a hosted service. For some more information check out Service Description for Microsoft Office SharePoint Online
- Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) : goes broader then SharePoint – it is a set of messaging and collaboration solutions hosted by Microsoft, and consists of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, and Office Communications Online.
- Microsoft Online Services: is the overall name of all services Microsoft will offer in a hosted environment – current focus for Belgium is BPOS but the offering will probably extend to also include Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in the coming months.
Before you rush in it is probably best to first take a look at what the trade offs are when you choose the SharePoint Online option instead of an on-premise deployment. A good start is the SharePoint Online Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) guide. Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) guides help you in making design decisions by looking at available options, taking into account cost, complexity and technical contstraints. They help you to align your business and IT more efficiently. There are already a number of IPD’s available (released versions) - Infrastructure Planning and Design Guides
It is also important to note that the use of SharePoint Online is not mutually exclusive with a SharePoint installation on premise. These two forms can quite easily co-exist, it is however important that you define policies and rules for users when to use what. This is typically an important aspect of a SharePoint governance plan.
If you want to try it out – there is a 30-day free trial which you can use at the Microsoft Online Services – Customer Portal
More background info:
- Microsoft Online Services – Team Blog
- SharePoint Online (SAAS) review – what it is and what it isn’t
- Trial Guide for Microsoft Online Services
- Microsoft SharePoint Online Standard Developer Guide (133 pages) – the different sections already provide some guidance about what is possible and what is not - Getting Started , Creating SharePoint Online Sites ,Customizing SharePoint Online Applications , Using a Data Form Web Part in SharePoint Online Applications, Using SharePoint Online Web Services , Integrating Microsoft Silverlight with a SharePoint Online Page , Workflows Using SharePoint Designer
- Comment on Microsoft Online and the GSK Customer case (Bill Pray)