The Microsoft SharePoint Training Series: Understanding Architectural Models for SharePoint 2016




SharePoint is Microsoft’s premier document sharing and operational collaboration platform, possessing a plethora of features that assist with daily official tasks. A combination of storage and document management functionality, as well as the default integration with MS Office make it a superior platform, within the niche.

When it comes to the server architecture, SharePoint is perhaps the most versatile, seeing as it features four different layouts, adding to the versatility. In this article, we will discuss the 4 architectural models of SharePoint 2016, and add a guide as to which model will serve you best, and why.

To that end, following are the architectural models featured in SharePoint:

SharePoint Online/SaaS

You can utilize SharePoint based on the Software as a Service model, with SharePoint Online. A dedicated SaaS version of SharePoint, this architectural model is purely online, and requires a monthly subscription. Additionally, you can get SharePoint Online when you subscribe to Office 365.

Although SharePoint stays up-to-date by itself, the individual user is responsible for the management of the platform.

Model Overview

Following are some of the feature highlights of SharePoint Online:

  • SharePoint always stays up-to-date by itself; and so do all the features.
  • The entire IT infrastructure is managed by Microsoft, while management of users and information is the responsibility of the user.
  • The model contains an Azure AD (Active Directory) tenant, which allows you to manage groups and user accounts directly, or sync with an on-premises Windows Server Active Directory.
  • Using the Azure AD user credentials, you can log in to the Azure AD account from anywhere.
  • Features support for secure client communications.
  • Contains dedicated MS data center applications via Office 365 Dedicated Subscriptions. This includes an IPsec-secured VPN, and an ITAR-support plan.
  • Supports customizations for SharePoint and Office.

Following are some of the architectural tasks for SharePoint Online:

  • Ensure on-premises availability and network capacity.
  • Design and plan integration with Azure AD.
  • If required, arrange third-party SSL certificates.
  • Get the aforementioned SSL certificates if you already have an on-premises directory.
  • Plan solutions, apps and customizations for SharePoint Online.
  • Plan the name of the tenant, design and data governance.

SharePoint Online is Ideal for:

If you are part of an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise), or a small business in general, SharePoint Online can be the ideal collaboration platform. Since such enterprises lack vast on-premises IT infrastructure, or storage space for that matter, the SaaS model is ideal for them. Startups can also benefit from SharePoint Online, as can businesses with no SharePoint Server 2016 farm.

SharePoint Hybrid

Essentially a combination of SharePoint Online and a SharePoint Server 2016 farm, SharePoint Hybrid can be deployed both on-premises, or in Microsoft Azure, thereby making it a hybrid environment. Users have the option of incorporating the SharePoint offering as a whole, into the SharePoint Online services, and start creating Software as a Service management skills, inside the organization.

With the hybrid model, you have the freedom to move all the SharePoint 2016 apps and sites to the cloud gradually.

Model Overview

SharePoint Hybrid has all the practical benefits of SharePoint Online, along with the following capabilities:

Hybrid SharePoint Search: Combine list of followed sites, unify the portal navigation experience of users and consolidate user profiles in Office365.

SharePoint Search: Users can log into the hybrid environment remotely, from anywhere, and their searches scan the entire environment.

Office365 Cloud Services: You can make the cloud services courtesy of Office 365 available to on-premises SharePoint Server 2016 users.

Following are some of the architectural tasks for SharePoint Hybrid:

  • Arrange connectivity between networks, for SharePoint Online and on-premises, in Office 365.
  • Plan for server-to-server certificates and trusts.
  • Plan migration of User Profiles to SharePoint Online.
  • Plan for federation and identity synchronization.
  • Plan for dedicated on-premises farms.
  • Finalize which features and workloads to integrate and move.

SharePoint Hybrid is Ideal for:

An organization or enterprise looking to combine the functionalities of SharePoint Online and on-premises operation, and gradually move the workloads on to the cloud. Enterprises looking to enable external sharing without setting up an extranet just for this purpose can also benefit from the SharePoint Hybrid architectural model. Finally, if you want to develop cloud skills in a risk-free and secure environment can find SharePoint Hybrid advantageous.

SharePoint 2016 Server in Azure

This architectural model gives users the ability to operate their servers in the Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) facility, in order to gain full control of the SharePoint Server 2016 environment.

Model Overview

Following are some of the feature highlights of SharePoint Server 2016 in Azure:

  • The most efficient cloud platform for SharePoint and SQL Server.
  • All computing capabilities are immediately available without a need for commitments.
  • You can focus on the applications, instead of infrastructure and datacenters.
  • Users can access SharePoint solutions from a Site-to-site VPN, an ExpressRoute connection or the internet.
  • Unlimited customizations at users’ disposal.

Following are some of the architectural tasks for SharePoint Server 2016 on Azure:

  • Select sizes for virtual machines.
  • Design an Azure virtual network, complete with DNS and subnets.
  • Design a Windows Server AD domain environment, along with on-premises server integration.
  • Use Azure AD domain services.

SharePoint Server 2016 in Azure is Ideal for:

Public-facing sites and Intranet SharePoint farms, as well as datacenter and cloud scanning applications. Environments that set up and tear down development, testing and staging environments can also benefit from SharePoint Server 2016 in Azure.

On-Premises SharePoint Server 2016

This architectural model allows enterprises to host their servers locally while maintaining total control of the SharePoint environment. You can plan the SharePoint Server 2016 farm, as well as deploy and maintain it, all in your own maintained datacenter.

Model Overview:

Following are some feature highlights of On-Premises SharePoint Server 2016:

  • This is a more traditional model since users are responsible for planning, deployment and maintenance, as well as customization of the server solution and the entire infrastructure.
  • Only available through purchase via Enterprise Agreements or licensing by volume.
  • Support from Microsoft Services and Support organization, at a cost.

Following are some of the architectural tasks for On-Premises SharePoint Server 2016:

  • Single out the SharePoint services needed by your organization.
  • Design the logical architecture and farm topology for SharePoint.
  • Create an effective disaster-recovery environment.
  • Size the virtual and/or physical hardware, and the supporting architecture.

On-Premises SharePoint Server 2016 is Ideal for:

This particular model is perfect for customized solutions where it would be too expensive and/or impractical to move said solutions to the SharePoint Online environment. An enterprise’s own cloud solutions can also benefit from On-Premises SharePoint Server 2016 – so can farms in which the data needs to reside within one jurisdiction (In-country farms).

Microsoft SharePoint training is highly beneficial for any individual or enterprise/organization looking to get well versed in the functionality and features of the ultimate collaboration platform that is SharePoint. With our comprehensive SharePoint training course, you can learn how to set up the preferred architecture for your enterprise, and more.

About The Author
Asad
Content Marketer at QuickStart

Asad Raza

An experienced content development specialist, Asad is proficient at crafting engaging and interesting content, with a distinct penchant for linguistic excellence. Being interested in technology and globally-significant events and news, he particularly enjoys writing on real world-relevant topics. A bibliophile at heart, he loves to read and immerse in fiction across genres.