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Hybrid configuration of SharePoint and Microsoft/Office 365

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SharePoint Online includes many features that are not available in local SharePoint environments. However, via a connection to Microsoft 365/Office 365, they can also be used on-premises.

In contrast, the management shell in SharePoint 2019 offers much more possibilities for control with PowerShell.

Hybrid configuration with SharePoint and Microsoft/Office 365 allows you to take advantage of both. The following article explains how this can be implemented and what you need to keep in mind.


 

SharePoint 2016/2019 vs. SharePoint Online

As mentioned before, SharePoint Online includes features that are not available in local SharePoint environments. These include Office 365 Groups, Flow, PowerApps, Delve and others.

However, SharePoint 2016/2019, in its on-premises installation in the local data center, provides the ability to connect to Microsoft 365/Office 365, allowing SharePoint to run locally and work with SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365/Office 365.

On the other hand, SharePoint Online offers much less options to be managed via PowerShell. Here the administration shell in SharePoint 2019 offers much more possibilities.

To set up an environment for hybrid configuration, the free PowerShell script AutoSPInstaller can be used. The script is available for download on GitHub and takes care of all steps necessary to install a SharePoint farm.


Provide cloud functionality in the local data center

Through the connection between SharePoint 2019 and SharePoint Online, apps are made available in the local data center, which otherwise cannot be used. For this purpose, after hybrid configuration, SharePoint locally displays the apps in its start menu, which is usually reserved for SharePoint Online. Users also receive added value, as they can follow pages in the local configuration and at the same time see the content of SharePoint Online.

Hybrid configuration can be managed through the graphical interface, but also with the SharePoint management shell. Hybrid configuration can be set up using the Hybrid Configuration Wizard (see Figure 1).

Screenshot of the SharePoint Hybrid Configuration Wizard

Figure 1: Set up hybrid deployment of SharePoint 2019 and SharePoint Online.

The configuration requires the Hybrid Configuration Wizard to be able to log in to the local Active Directory environment and to Microsoft 365/Office 365. The required logon credentials are specified when running the wizard and verified through the wizard.


Set up SharePoint Cloud Hybrid/Federated Search with PowerShell

By connecting SharePoint 2019 On-Premises and SharePoint Online, users can search for content on both platforms simultaneously. Search results will show users results from both the local configuration and SharePoint Online, regardless of whether the search is performed in SharePoint Online or SharePoint 2019.

The Search window shows where the information found came from. For this to work, this feature must first be set up. With Hybrid Federated Search, the respective search indexes always remain on their platform, but are merged by the search engine.

The second search option is Cloud Hybrid Search. This uses the search application “Cloud Search Service Application”. This search application stores the search index of SharePoint 2019 in Microsoft 365/Office 365 and merges it with the search index of SharePoint Online.
The disadvantage of this search option is that only the setting options of SharePoint Online are used. However, in this case the users receive a homogeneous search result.

Microsoft provides PowerShell scripts for configuring the Cloud Hybrid Search for SharePoint for free. With the script “CreateCloudSSA.ps1” the search application “Cloud Search Service Application” (Cloud SSA) is created.
The connection to SharePoint Online is established with “Onboard-CloudHybridSearch.ps1”.

When using the scripts, the local SharePoint server must be specified and the name of the user account with which the search service should be started on the server. The name of the application is also controlled by the script. To create the search application, the name of the database for the server farm is also required. The data is queried by the script. Then the script creates the search application.


Taxonomy in hybrid environments

When using the taxonomy in local SharePoint environments, it is possible to share the taxonomy data with SharePoint Online after hybrid configuration. The individual data of the taxonomy can be copied to SharePoint Online here. Only when all data is available in SharePoint Online should the hybrid SharePoint taxonomy be activated. The taxonomy groups are copied using the PowerShell Cmdlet Copy-SPTaxonomyGroups.

During execution, the groups are copied from metadata to SharePoint Online. During this process, SharePoint Online becomes the authorizing source for the taxonomy group. For example, the logon data for the process can be stored in a variable beforehand. Afterwards the copying is done with the following command:

$credential = Get-Credential Copy-SPTaxonomyGroups -LocalTermStoreName "Managed Metadata Service Application Proxy" -LocalSiteUrl "https://sharepoint" -RemoteSiteUrl "https://contoso.sharepoint.com" -GroupNames "Group1","Group2" -Credential $credential

This command copies the two groups “Group1” and “Group” to https://contoso.sharepoint.com. If you also want to use the content types hybrid, you can use the Cmdlet Copy-SPContentTypes:

Copy-SPContentTypes -LocalSiteUrl http://localsite/ -LocalTermStoreName "managed metadata service application proxy" -RemoteSiteUrl https://contoso.sharepoint.com/ -ContentTypeNames @("ContentTypeA", "ContentTypeB") -Credential $credential

Microsoft describes the detailed procedure in the SharePoint documentation.
To stop replication between environments, use the Cmdlet Stop-SPTaxonomyReplication.

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