Just a few years ago if you had asked me which I preferred Office 365 or SharePoint 2013? I would probably still have preferred the on-premises versions of SharePoint from a developer’s perspective. For a very long time the restriction simply outweighed the benefits.

If you had asked me the question about where should we go cloud or on-premises? As a consultant I would probably already have started to recommend the cloud options. More and more I’m starting to prefer Office 365. Why? have the restrictions all disappeared?

No definitely not!SharePoint - Cloud vs On-Premises Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft SharePoint Online office 365 vs sharepoint

Using SharePoint search and configuring Managed Properties is still just as painful as it was a few years back. Not having control over when the search crawls happen is simply a pain. But I have got used to this.

Another limitation is branding. As I’m sure you are aware it is not recommended to use custom master pages in Office 365. With on-premises version of SharePoint this is less of an issue as you have control over when updates arrive and therefore you know when to expect potential trouble. You can even update a test environment before you break you production farm, so that you can handle any of these unexpected troubles.

So why is Office 365 so much my preferred option? Well first of all it isn’t just my preferred option! With so many organisation already having gone down the Office 365 route, it can’t be such a bad choice.

Comparing SharePoint Online with SharePoint 2016, 2013 or any other earlier version there are a few major reasons to move to SharePoint Online.

New features first get added to Office 365 and some of them may never arrive in the on-premises versions. Just to name a few:

  • PowerApps
  • Flow
  • Custom site themes
  • Compliance Manager
  • SPFx
  • All updates are installed without any service interruption
  • Online training
  • Modern seam sites and communication sites
  • Microsoft Teams
  • … and much more

Then I’ve found many organisations that just can’t move to the cloud as compliance regulations are stopping them. Sometimes regulations are as simple as data has to be stored within the local country. Microsoft has been opening more and more data centres so you might find that  keeping data is easier.

The other important factor I have found a major advantage is Microsoft Azure. Although some Azure features you could probably use with on-premises SharePoint. The integration option between Azure and SharePoint online is in most situations a lot easier to implement.

With Azure simple serverless technology like Azure Functions, Logic Apps, Cognitive services all becomes available without the need to create and manage man on-premises servers.

Are you also thinking about moving to the cloud, but your still not sure if it is the right option for you? Well you might want to think again.






By Pieter Veenstra

Business Applications and Office Apps & Services Microsoft MVP working as a Microsoft Productivity Principal Consultant at HybrIT Services. You can contact me using contact@veenstra.me.uk.

2 thoughts on “SharePoint – Cloud vs On-Premises”
    1. Hi Jeff, I can see that Hybrid is an option for quite a few organisation as an intermediate solution. However, I would always go for just cloud or just on-premises if I have the choice. It simply makes solutions simpler. In general I would expect organisation that go for cloud based solutions to have the aim to get 100% to the cloud, therefore hybrid shouldn’t be an end goal.

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