A data-integration strategy needs to be within the foundation of every cloud computing plan. This integration needs to be innate to the architecture; it can’t be something you’re reminded of at the rollout meeting 😉
But migration and especially integration of external data to the Office 365 cloud is difficult using out-of-the-box features. No Business Connectivity Services are provided. And if it will be provided, in most cases it would not connect to remote corporate data sources for security reasons.
3rd party tools could help in this case. The Cloud Connector for Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Office 365 takes local line-of-business data to the Office 365 cloud-based or any other hosted SharePoint. Content hosted in almost any corporate data source, e.g. databases, files, ERP/CRM/ECMS or other legacy platforms and on-premise applications like Exchange, Active Directory or even SharePoint itself is replicated to native SharePoint lists into the cloud via secure web services. All features of native SharePoint lists are completely available for the external data.
While the SharePoint Business Data Catalog (BDC), the SharePoint Business Data Connectivity Services (BCS) or the SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) out-of-the-box are not made for cloud-based scenarios, the SharePoint Cloud Connector was especially developed 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.
How does it work? Easy…
- No programming or tools required. Setup in a few
minutes guided by a wizard.
- No installation or customizing in the SharePoint Office 365 cloud
- Compatible to all SharePoint offerings, including on-premise, sandboxed,
e.g. Microsoft SharePoint Online / Microsoft Office 365.
- 100% Microsoft SharePoint 2010 compatible – Uses new CSOM API model for the cloud.
- Secure data connection and transfer: Connection via Web
Services (SSL). Disconnected systems: A connection is only required for data
exchange – not for list usage. No direct access to external company data
required (“push” – no “pull” strategy). The application runs where your
data resides today – on any server or client inside your corporate network.
- Virtually any data sources supported: ODBC, OLEDB,
.NET-based providers, Files (Excel, XML, CSV), SQL databases like Oracle, MySQL, IBM DB2, IBM AS/400, IBM Informix, Notes, SharePoint ;-), Exchange, Active Directory, Navision, SAP and many more. More complex data sources, e.g. web services, custom COM or .NET objects, can be connected using Enterprise Enabler or other 3rd party tools.
- Start workflows in the cloud – on external data change: All
features of native SharePoint lists are supported, e.g. RSS, change
notifications per email or workflows on external data change.
- Additional “SharePoint-only” columns can be created, e.g.
for ranking, rating, comments or file attachments.
- Data aggregation: Multiple connections can rollup several
different data sources to one list.
- High performance: Can manage large databases and lists.
- Very cost–effective solution – easy to setup and maintain.
- The connector is based on another very successful Add-on, the Business Data List Connector für SharePoint (BDLC).
Just try it out. My personal fav is the SharePoint to SharePoint connection, e.g. for content deployment or aggregation. The Shareware is FREE, a Professional version available for download after registration: