Microsoft’s new cloud computing offer Office 365 currently is going to attract a lot of new customers. It allows companies of all sizes to leverage the combined power of market-leading productivity tools such as Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office by simply subscribing to an online service to provide their employees with an enterprise grade solution for an affordable monthly subscription rate.
Reap the benefits of both on-premise and cloud applications
However, some concerns may remain on the market regarding service reliability, data security, data ownership, compliance and integration of existing on-premises technology investments. As a result many organizations today are not willing to entirely jump into cloud computing yet. On the other hand they want to start taking advantage of the benefits of cloud computing with first projects, e.g. extranet collaboration portals. And actually there are opportunities, to reap the benefits of both on-premise and cloud applications, when starting hybrid deployments today.
Integrate on-premise files, SQL databases or SharePoint with Office 365 with a hybrid deployment
Layer2, as one of the leading providers of SharePoint add-ons in Europe and Microsoft Gold Certified ISV, today announced a new product version 2.0 of its Cloud Connector for Office 365 and SharePoint 2010 to seamlessly integrate almost any corporate line-of-business data with the Microsoft cloud – codeless and also bi-directional, if required. The Cloud Connector extends the SharePoint cloud capabilities like mobile access from everywhere to existing data sets that will continue to reside within the corporate network.
Business Connectivity Services for Office 365 and SharePoint Online
“While existing integration tools for SharePoint on-premise are not made for cloud-based scenarios, Layer2’s Cloud Connector was especially developed based on the newest Microsoft Client Side Object Model (CSOM) API to solve the specific challenges of disconnected systems in the cloud without any direct access to corporate business data and very restricted feature customization capabilities”, Frank Daske, Product Manager at Layer2, accented. “From the technical point of view, users are just accessing native SharePoint lists in the cloud as some kind of replicated cache of their remote corporate data sources – a very simple but extremely powerful approach to easily provide all the common list features, e.g. views, lookups, search, managed metadata, attachments, RSS and email-based notifications, data aggregation from several sources, or workflows on external data change without any restrictions.” The product is based on years of experience with SharePoint data integration: The well-known Business Data List Connector (BDLC), a similar Layer2 product for SharePoint on-premise installations – since years has solved many issues that still exist with external lists using Business Data Catalog and the Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2007 and 2010.
Almost any type of external data supported – codeless and bi-directional
The Cloud Connector 2.0 comes with support for almost any existing enterprise data source drivers, e.g. ODBC, OLEDB, ADO.NET, files (Excel, XML, CSV), SQL databases like SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, IBM DB2, IBM AS/400, IBM Informix, applications like Notes, Exchange, SharePoint on-premise, Active Directory, Dynamics NAV and CRM, SAP etc. No programming is required to connect. The connector, a Microsoft Windows service application, is easily installed directly within the corporate network on any server or client with Internet connectivity and access to the corporate data sources. No setup or customizing is required in the Office 365 cloud. All SharePoint 2010 platforms are supported as data source and destination, including on-premise and any hosted sandboxes.
Great business opportunities for Microsoft Office 365 partners
With its cost-free Partner Program Layer2 offers partners a license discount of 30%, valid leads in their region, free NFR software versions for internal use and full support for implementing Cloud Connector based solutions with their customers. The Cloud Connector for SharePoint and Office 365 V1.0 is available after registration as a completely free Shareware version at the vendor’s website layer2.de/en/. V2.0 with bi-directional replication will be available in late summer 2011 as Professional and Enterprise Edition.
Keywords: Office 365, SharePoint Online, Data Integration, Business Connectivity Services, external data, BCS, database, OLEDB, ODBC, Excel, SQL, SQL Server, Exchange, Oracle, Informix, MySQL, IBM, DB2, ERP, CRM, SAP, Dynamics, Microsoft, Layer2
As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and ISV based in Hamburg (Germany), Layer2 is one of the leading providers of Microsoft SharePoint extensions in Europe with a major focus on Data Integration, Collaborative Knowledge Management and Social Networking. Layer2 has also been known as a reliable partner to customers in Central Europe, offering additional consulting and services in the fields of SharePoint, .NET programming and IT infrastructure for almost 20 years.