External Content in O365 – New Offerings

Under the Hood

In my last blog article, I outlined how to use our connectors with Microsoft’s new Cloud SSA to get external content into a consolidated index hosted in O365. This way you can field Intranets and Portals that provide easy access to everything employees, partners or customers need.

Previously, there was no way to get external content into the O365 index.  Now there’s a mechanism in the Cloud SSA, rolling out in a preview program for SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016 very soon.

Office 365 Only
After we announced our connectors for hybrid SharePoint, we started hearing from folks that only cared about getting content into O365.

Well, there’s no “push API” to get content into O365, nor will there be any time soon.  But the Cloud SSA can act as a gateway for getting external content included within the O365 index.  With our connectors in the same ‘gateway farm’, they can get what they need.

How it Works
Here’s the picture.  Under the hood, this is hybrid SharePoint – the Gateway farm is SharePoint Server (2013 or 2016).  But from our customers’ perspective, their line of business content just shows up in O365.

The gateway farm is not onerous – it’s a handful of VMs. Putting the gateway farm on-premises near the on-prem line of business systems is quite practical.  You can also put it in the cloud: we’re working with a number of folks that want to complete their ‘cloud only’ strategy and benefit from someone else running infrastructure for them.  Using SharePoint in Azure IaaS is a nice way to go for this – for a variety of reasons. With this approach, traffic from SaaS systems like Salesforce, Jive, Dynamics CRM Online, or Google Drive doesn’t even transit their network, which is a big added bonus.

New Offerings from BA Insight
Based on this demand, we’ve added some new things:

  • Our products can now be licensed for O365-only, or for hybrid (which gives rights for O365 and on-prem use too)
  • We’re offering a gateway farm with our connectors as a SaaS service from BA Insight (running in Azure), so that our customers don’t even need to think about it.

If you want to learn more about how to bring external content into O365, take a look at our “Bringing External Content into Office 365” paper. Of course, if you have feedback, want to learn more, or want to try things out, don’t hesitate to contact us.

One thought on “External Content in O365 – New Offerings

  1. Avatar
    bharani says:

    Jeff – Is it possible to crawl O365 data from Sharepoint 2013 hosted on Azure, we can access the indes of O365 but could not establish crawl. Crawling is required to provision pipeline for concept search.

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