#SPC2014 – Post SharePoint Conference Summary

Hi all,

Well after 4 days, and many sessions what’s there to report.

One word CLOUD this was the theme being pushed across 90%+ of the sessions.

The next version of on Premises SharePoint is going to be released in 2015 (this was announced in the keynote), not sure when in 2015 it’s likely to drop, but watch this space!. (Also heard rumors that SharePoint 2015 might be the last on Prem version of SharePoint??!!??, recent KeyNote by Bill Baer at SP24 conference, seems to have put this to bed, will link to it once it’s reposted, he mentioned that as long as there is demand, on prem versions will continue to be developed by Microsoft post SP2015.)

Office 365 / SharePoint online is now worth more in revenue per year than on premises SharePoint, a lot of the new features they have introduced are hitting Office 365 first, and some may not make it down to the on Premises version.

I think for SME’s Office 365 is great, I’m not so convinced for larger enterprises and corp’s that may put a higher value on there data, and prefer the control of it being on prem.

Certainly from a cost perspective Office 365 / Sky Drive for Business looks very compelling.

Some of the size limitations of the cloud offering may preclude anybody with large on Prem versions of SharePoint from adopting cloud, for example the 1TB per site collection limit, could mean large data re-org’s to move to the cloud, in addition if you have customised your SharePoint 2010/2013 on prem solutions in any significant way you may find there is no way to use the same customisations in the cloud.

I like (a lot) “Fort Knox” the new secure storage platform for SharePoint online / Office 365, (uses RBS technology and a custom Azure cloud storage solution). In total 3 encryption keys are required to decrypt any part of a shredded BLOB. (one for the keys store identifiers, one for the key store values, and one for each of the vaults that store your BLOB shreds), this makes your data very safe.

If I’ve understood it correctly looking at the architecture they have used, their is one key that is used to encrypt the details of which vault keys from the cloud key store have been used to encrypt you BLOB’s, these encrypted values are stored in the SharePoint databases, another set of keys are stored in a centralised key store, from that key store you obtain a further encryption key (per shred) that is used to access the BLOB shred from there at rest location is an Azure storage vault.

This architecture leans itself towards a possible SharePoint hybrid storage solution, that would be very secure.
If you could use the “Fort Knox” RBS provider on prem and your organisation owned the first key in this chain, it would be impossible for anybody outside of your organisation to decrypt your data, not even Microsoft would be able to.

Obviously your organisation would need to keep this key safe, as if it was lost you would loose access to all your BLOB data, but it could provide a compelling hybrid architecture that could reduce storage costs of on Prem solutions but still enable full customisations that aren’t available in the cloud.

I had a post session chat with a couple of representatives from M/Soft (who weren’t giving anything away) as to whether this might become a feature, but if it’s something that interests your organisation then there’s a chance Microsoft might make it available on Prem in the future, this I think would certainly be of interest to large enterprise / corporates, that are looking to reduce storage costs, and leverage cloud, but don’t want or can’t move their farms into the cloud.

I’ll write some more about other sessions as times permits.

Thanks for reading.

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