Hybrid is currently a big hype. Where a year ago the cloud was the way to go and on-premises advised against, companies have now realized the cloud is not suitable for every situation. Especially government organizations or big companies are not able to migrate everything to the cloud. So, Microsoft has invested a lot in hybrid to bring the best of two worlds together: the flexibility and data sovereignty of on-premises and all the cool new features of the cloud.
Part of this is Cloud Search: Make your on-premises documents available in cloud searches, i.e. your SharePoint On-Prem documents should be visible in a search in Office 365. Until September 2015 the hybrid search was meh, it meant two different result sources / verticals. Introduced in August 2015 is the real hybrid search: search results from both on prem as well as Office 365 are combined.
I have set this up and was surprised how easy it was. As a SharePoint guru I’m used to errors, but I haven’t encountered ONE (due to software faults, errors encountered were solely my fault). And that’s pretty amazing as I’ve used SharePoint 2016 which is currently in public preview.
The steps involved are:
- Install a SharePoint 2016 VM (SharePoint 2013 with the August 2015 CU or later installed should work as well). How? Look at my blog post How to Install SharePoint 2016 in 30 minutes.
- Configure an Office 365 tenant. I’ve set up a demo tenant via www.microsoftofficedemos.com
- Set up Azure Active Directory. You’ll need to sync your on-premises accounts to Azure Active Directory. This requires configuring a custom domain and then setting up AAD Sync.
- Install a Cloud Search Service Application on-premises. This is almost the same a normal Search Service Application, but then with some extra flags.
- Install some software and run on-boarding scripts. This last bit connects your SharePoint On-Premises instance with Office 365
How to install SharePoint 2016
Check out my blog post. Done in half an hour.
Configure an Office 365 Tenant
You will need to either subscribe to Office 365, use an existing tenant, or subscribe to Microsoftofficedemos.com. I’ve done the latter.
Set up Azure Active Directory
You will need to connect your Office 365 subscription to a valid Azure subscription. There is a link in Office 365 Administration which goes to Azure. However, if you want to connect it to an existing Azure subscription, this won’t work. In my case I already had an Azure subscription. If so, you’ll need to log into Azure instead, go to Active Directories, add a new Active Directory, and select “Existing Active Directory”.
Then you can use your existing Azure subscription with a new Office 365 tenant.
Install Cloud SSA, install software, and run on-boarding scripts.
I am not going to reiterate how to do step 4 and 5 as this is outlined perfectly in this extensive blog post.
And it works! How amazing.
People in general have a love-hate relationship with SharePoint. It offers a lot of functionality, there is a high demand for skilled SharePoint people, but the random errors with sometimes no description are annoying. But in this case I only encountered errors when creating the SSA, and that was because I entered wrong values for the database server.
The end result is pretty cool. I’ve ran a search on my demo tenant, and it shows a result from my on-premises SharePoint 2016 environment.
This is really something you should think about when implementing SharePoint. By leveraging hybrid search, you are able to use Delve for your on-premises documents for example. And it is also possible to crawl SharePoint 2010 documents from you Cloud SSA, making SP2010 documents available in Office 365! How cool is that.
With Cloud Hybrid SharePoint Search you can push your on-premises SharePoint (2010, 2013, 2016) documents to Delve!