Much has been written about Office 365 – I won’t attempt to compete with it. I’d just like to do two things: offer a brief opinion to throw my hat in the ring and throw out a few practical tips for some very specific use cases.
For starters, my opinion: Office 365 is pretty impressive. For a few bucks a user/month, you can scale all the way from simple hosted e-mail for users to full scale hosted e-mail, Lync, Web apps, etc. Pricing as you scale is very reasonable. As someone who has led the ground up design of in-house IT infrastructure for mid-size organizations, I can attest to the fact that there is a LOT that goes into setting up and maintaining infrastructure successfully. Office 365 is ridiculously simple to setup. If you don’t require heavy integration between your Exchange / SharePoint / Lync and other external systems and don’t have very custom needs for those technologies, Office 365 is a very compelling option. I can’t speak to uptime and performance at scale from personal experience (there’s many others who can – let me know if you want to get in touch with them) but based on what I’ve seen so far I suspect it’s quite reasonable for many scenarios.
Hosted SharePoint through Office 365 is Microsoft’s answer for DropBox in the business world. It’s a very common use case to find yourself wanting to host what was previously on your laptop or fileshare within SharePoint document libraries. That means you’ll be migrating files en masse.
- Tip 1: Explorer View for document libraries is very handy for this, except that performance can be very slow. Check out this great tip for getting a huge performance boost in many cases. I can’t take any credit beyond Googling for it, but it was a great find for me in my tests.
- Tip 2: Quotas for team sites is only 1000 MB. So even after you purchase more storage, you’ll still run out due to the team site quota. This is non-obvious without some digging. Don’t forget to adjust the settings. To change, follow the instructions here.
- Tip 3: Filenaming conventions that worked well on fileshares don’t work well in SharePoint. SharePoint doesn’t like the following in filenames: ‘#’, [email protected] , ‘~’, ‘&’, or “..” (there are others, too, but those seem to be commonly used ones that can muck things up.) Luckily, there are a number of free tools to deal with batch renaming. I tried a couple out and found this one to be handy in that its: free, easy to install, feature rich, not too complex to get started using.