SharePoint Online Service Description – June 2011
The descriptions of Microsoft and other companies’ products in this document, if any, are provided only as a convenience to you. CloudBearing cannot guarantee their accuracy, and the products may change over time. Also, the descriptions are intended as brief highlights to aid understanding, rather than as thorough coverage. For authoritative descriptions of these products, please consult Microsoft.
Why SharePoint Online?
The SharePoint Online service enables teams to work together easily to share critical business information on SharePoint Online sites. Colleagues and customers can access the documents they need from virtually anywhere. With your documents and information managed in one place, everyone has access the latest version. Enhanced search features help you quickly locate information and people across the company while security features let you control who can read, edit and access individual documents. And they can do this through various types of sites:
- My Sites: share and manage personal documents and information
- Create your own personal My Site to share personal information and professional expertise.
- Access and manage important documents from your PC, phone, or browser.
- Follow your colleagues’ latest activities and updates using notes and activity feeds.
- Protect sensitive personal content and control who can read, edit and access files.
- Team Sites: keep teams in sync and manage important projects
- Manage and share important documents to help teams work together efficiently.
- Track key project milestones and schedules with shared-calendars.
- Create, edit and review documents and proposals in real-time.
- Manage important meeting notes and project delivery schedules.
- Share documents and information easily with trusted business partners.
- Enable real-time communication with colleagues right from within SharePoint.
- Apply your own unique look and feel to team sites with custom theming and branding.
- Intranet Sites: keep up to date with company news and information
- Keep employees up to date with the latest company news and information.
- Access key business process information (incl. policies and procedures, training guides and expense reports).
- Find important documents and people easily.
- Share ideas and seek input from the company using community discussion forums and surveys.
- Alert employees to news and business developments using blogs.
- Public Website: market your small business on the Web
- Use simple out-of the box web templates to personalize sites.
- Choose your own personalized company domain.
- Update site content quickly and easily using familiar tools.
- Help customers find the information they need on your site quickly.
SharePoint Online helps organizations meet these challenges by providing a flexible web-based solution with tools and services to help workers manage information and work together easily with others.
The new co-authoring capabilities help people work simultaneously with colleagues on Office documents.
- For example, more than one person can edit a Word document or slides in a SharePoint Online document library at the same time. For example, to review a document, users can send a link to the document in a SharePoint library, and all of the reviewers can provide their feedback in the document simultaneously.
- No more attachments—users can, for example, store all of their recent documents in their My Site and work on them at the same time with other colleagues.
Work with SharePoint sites, libraries, and lists offline and synchronize their changes when you reconnect to the corporate network using SharePoint Workspace 2010 and SharePoint Workplace Mobile “Locations” within the Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” Office Hub.
Major benefits of this offline and online capabilities include:
- Users can quickly view, add, edit and delete SharePoint Online library documents or list items while they are offline.
- Two-way synchronization between a users’ computer and the network—that is, updates to data and documents on the computer or on the network—are automatic while they are connected to the network. And only the changes, not the whole document, are pushed over the wire for quick syncing and updating
- Content is automatically synchronized when people take their computer offline and then go back online.
Share information with others more efficiently with improved wikis, team sites, document libraries, and calendaring.
- Ease of publishing with enterprise wiki pages and wiki linking.
- Insert and format content directly on the page with the new Rich Text Editor.
- Browse for images or photos on your local computer or network and insert them into your site without leaving the page you are on.
- Now you can select multiple items in a list and click a button to perform the same action on all the items at the same time. For example, you can check in or check out several documents at the same time.
- Easily add events to a calendar by clicking a date and entering details for the event without leaving the calendar.
- Drag and drop items within a calendar.
Find and help others find interesting information and expertise.
- New features include newsfeeds, social tagging, and ratings so that you can more easily keep track of your colleagues’ activities, as well as share relevant content.
- Search for a person by expertise to find someone who has the skills that match your needs.
- Use the phonetic name lookup to find similar sounding names (is it John or Jon?).
Promote interaction through expertise sharing using My Sites.
- Improvements to My Sites help you use your My Sites and profiles to share knowledge in your specialty area with your colleagues. Adding interests and responsibilities to profiles makes it easier for colleagues to find each other through newsfeeds, ask and answer questions, and to connect in other ways.
The tools and services provided by SharePoint Online enable individuals and teams to:
- Build out company-wide intranet sites.
- Share information more securely with colleagues and trusted business partners.
- Maintain granular control of sites, documents and lists with user and group permissions
- Upload documents to online libraries, share documents with others, and manage how documents are used.
- Display project calendars to track milestones and resource availability.
- Show announcements and alerts.
- Publish blogs and RSS feeds, or provide a list of links to other blogs, forums, and resources.
- Maintain a list of contact names and information.
- Create navigation for your SharePoint Online sites that best meets your organization’s needs.
- Provide links to other important websites.
- Create specialized websites—Document Workspaces and Meeting Workspaces—to help manage particular projects or work items.
Features of Microsoft Office 365
SharePoint Online is one of several cloud services offered by Microsoft Office 365 for enterprises. These Internet-based services are designed to help meet the need for robust security, 24/7 reliability, and user productivity.
Each service is designed for reliability, availability, and performance with a financially backed service level agreement (SLA) for a guaranteed 99.9-percent scheduled uptime. Microsoft deploys patches, security updates, and back-end upgrades, helping to eliminate the time and effort organizations spend managing their servers.
Subscribers to SharePoint Online benefit from a set of features that are common to all of the Microsoft business-class cloud services:
- Secure access: Each offering from Microsoft Office 365 is accessed through 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption. Anyone who intercepts a communication sees only encrypted text.
- Intrusion monitoring: Microsoft continuously monitors the Office 365 systems for any unusual or suspicious activity. If Microsoft detects such activity, it investigates and responds appropriately. In the unlikely event that a significant incident occurs, the customer is notified.
- Security audits: Microsoft regularly assesses the Office 365 infrastructure to ensure that the latest antivirus signatures and required security updates are installed, and that high-level configuration settings are in compliance with Microsoft security policies. For details, refer to the Security and Service Continuity for Enterprises Service Description.
- High availability: Microsoft Office 365 services have a 99.9-percent scheduled uptime. If a customer’s service is affected, Office 365 offers financial remedies subject to the terms and conditions of the SLA. For details, refer to the Service Level Agreement for Microsoft Online Services.
- Service continuity: Redundant network architecture is hosted at geographically dispersed Microsoft data centers to handle unscheduled service outages. Data centers act as backups for each other: If one fails, the affected customers are transferred to another data center with limited interruption of service.
- Microsoft Online Services Portal: This easy-to-use website is the center for activities related to Microsoft Office 365. The portal provides services based on each organization’s specific needs. Prospective subscribers can use the portal to sign up for a free trial. End users accessing the portal can find online help, open Microsoft SharePoint site collections, and launch Microsoft Outlook® Web App. Administrators can manage users, administer services, download tools, and learn about service administration from online help.
- Directory Synchronization tool: For subscribers with Active Directory® directory services deployed on-premises, this tool helps keep the on-premises Active Directory and the Microsoft Office 365 directory synchronized.
- Remote administration: With Microsoft Windows PowerShell™, administrators can perform many tasks using a script or automated process. For example, tasks such as creating users, resetting passwords, assigning licenses, and obtaining service-use data can be fully automated.
Office Desktop Setup
For the best experience with Office 365, a set of required components and updates must be applied to each workstation. To simplify the installation and maintenance of these components and updates, Microsoft provides an installable piece of software—called Office desktop setup—at no charge. These updates are required for all workstations that use rich clients (such as Microsoft Office 2010) and connect to Microsoft Office 365.
Office desktop setup provides multiple benefits, including:
- Automatically detecting necessary updates
- Installing updates and components upon approval or silently from a command line
- Automatically configuring Outlook and Microsoft Lync for use with Microsoft Office 365
- Uninstalling itself from the client computer after running
A list of these update requirements are available for companies that want to use an alternative method of deploying the updates. See the help topic Manually update and configure desktops for Office 365 for details.
|Office desktop setup is not an authentication or sign-in service and should not be confused with single sign-on.|
Federated Identity and Single Sign-On
With on-premises Active Directory, administrators can use a single sign-on approach to Office 365 authentication. To achieve this, administrators can configure on-premises Active Directory Federation Services—a Microsoft Windows Server® 2008 service—to federate with the Microsoft Federation Gateway. After Active Directory Federation Services is configured, all Office 365 users whose identities are based on the federated domain can use their existing corporate logon to automatically authenticate to Office 365.
Operating System and Software Requirements
Table 1 shows the operating system and browser combinations that are required to access Microsoft Office 365 services—including SharePoint Online.
Table 1: Operating systems and browser combinations supported by Microsoft Office 365
|Operating system||Supported browers|
|Windows 7 (32-bit)||
|Windows 7 (64-bit)||
|Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (32-bit)||
|Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (64-bit)||
|Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (32-bit)||
|Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (64-bit)||
|Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2||
|Mac OS X 10.5 or Mac OS X 10.6||
Table 2 identifies other software required for using Office 365 services.
Table 2: Software supported by Microsoft Office 365
|Client applications||Office desktop set up|
|Browser software for Microsoft Online Services Portal||
|Browser software for
Outlook Web App
Outlook Web App also has a “light” version that supports a reduced set of features across almost any browser
Office 365 is available in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, and United States.
Multinational customers that purchase services in an approved country may enable use by their end users that reside anywhere in the world, except for countries currently embargoed by the U.S. government. Features availability may vary by location. See the help topic License restrictions for Office 365 for details.
Data Center Locations
Microsoft Office 365 maintains primary and backup data centers distributed around the world. When a company signs up for a Microsoft Office 365 service, its hosted environment is automatically provisioned in the appropriate data center based on the company’s address. All users for the company are hosted from the same data center.
Table 3 summarizes the languages supported the Microsoft Office 365 platform and related components.
Table 3: Supported languages for components related to Microsoft Office 365
|Microsoft Online Services Portal||Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian1, Japanese, Norwegian (Bokmal), Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish|
|Help content—for end users and IT professionals||Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian (Bokmal), Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish|
|Directory Synchronization Tool||Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian (Bokmal), Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish|
The Microsoft Office 365 technical support team provides supports services to people with administrator permissions for their company’s Office 365 services. Those with administrator permissions provide support services to their company’s Office 365 end users. For contact information, see Online Help in the services Administration Center.
Features of SharePoint Online
SharePoint Online enables a company to easily create and manage custom team-focused and project-focused sites for collaboration. In addition, it is possible to deploy a company-wide intranet portal used to disseminate information and news across the organization. This section presents an overview of the key SharePoint Online features and specifications.
You can also learn more about SharePoint Online from these valuable resources:
- SharePoint Online Administration Resource Center (on TechNet)
- SharePoint Online Developer Resource Center (on MSDN)
- SharePoint Online End-User Resources (on Office.com)
Each user who accesses the SharePoint Online service must be assigned to a subscription plan. SharePoint Online offers multiple types of plans. See Table 4 below.
In addition to the K1-2 and E1-4 suite-level plans, SharePoint Online Plan 1 and SharePoint Online Plan 2 can be purchased on a standalone basis or as part of an Office 365 suite. A Kiosk subscription is not sold as a standalone offer, only as part of the Kiosk suite (Exchange Online Kiosk and SharePoint Online Kiosk suite). It is possible to mix subscription plans within a single tenancy. Customers can also purchase an additional add-on associated to SharePoint Online:
- Additional storage. Should you require more storage, it is available at a cost per gigabyte (GB) per month. Please review the Office 365 price list at http://www.office365.com
Table 4 compares usage rights for the different types of subscription plans.
Table 4. High-level usage rights comparison across user subscriptions plans
|Feature||Partner Access Plan
|SharePoint Online Kiosk 1 and Kiosk 2||SharePoint Online E1 and E2||SharePoint Online E3 and E4||SharePoint Online Plan 1||SharePoint Online Plan 2|
|Can access all team sites by default?||
|Enterprise Features (Access, Business Connectivity Services (BCS), InfoPath Forms, Excel and Visio Services)||
|Office Web Apps||
K1 – View only
K2 – View and edit
E1 – View only
E2 – View and edit
View and edit
|Adds storage to the company’s overall pooled quota?||
Yes. 500MB per user subscription license
Yes. 500MB per user subscription license
Yes. 500MB per user subscription license
Yes. 500MB per user subscription license
|Can be an administrator of tenant, site or site collection?||
|1 – External partners can only access the sites they have been invited to by delegated site collection owners.
2 – Can view and upload Visio diagrams, view and build external lists, build and visit Access-based webpages, build and view embedded Excel graphs and create/publish, fill in and submit InfoPath forms.
3 – Kiosk workers have read-only rights except they can edit web-based and InfoPath Forms only.
|For more detailed Microsoft licensing information, please visit the Product Use Rights (PUR) document page on the Microsoft Volume Licensing website.|
Office 365 Suite Subscription Plans
SharePoint Online plans can be purchased on a standalone basis or as part of an Office 365 suite. Each Office 365 suite subscription contains a SharePoint Online subscription. Tables 5 and 6 summarize the relationship between SharePoint Online plans and Office 365 plans. To determine which plan is right for you, visit the Office 365 home page.
Table 5: Office 365 subscription plans for kiosk workers
|Office 365 (Plan K1)||Office 365 (Plan K2)|
|Exchange Online Kiosk||Exchange Online Kiosk|
|SharePoint Online Kiosk||SharePoint Online Kiosk|
|Office Web Apps (Edit)|
Table 6: Office 365 subscription plans for information workers
|Office 365 (Plan E1)||Office 365 (Plan E2)||Office 365 (Plan E3)||Office 365 (Plan E4)|
|Exchange Online (Plan 1)||Exchange Online (Plan 1)||Exchange Online (Plan 2)||Exchange Online (Plan 2)|
|SharePoint Online (Plan 1)||SharePoint Online (Plan 1)||SharePoint Online (Plan 2)||SharePoint Online (Plan 2)|
|Lync Online (Plan 2)||Lync Online (Plan 2)||Lync Online (Plan 2)||Lync Online (Plan 2)|
|Office Web Apps (Edit)||Office Web Apps (Edit)||Office Web Apps (Edit)|
|Office Professional Plus||Office Professional Plus|
|Lync Voice & PBX (Lync Plus CAL for Lync Server)*|
* Lync Voice & PBX are only available with Microsoft Lync Server 2010 deployed on-premises or hosted via a private cloud deployment. All Lync workloads (IM, online meetings, and Voice & PBX) must be deployed on Lync server in this case (it is not possible to split Lync workloads between Lync Server and Lync Online).
Key Features and Specifications
Table 7 provides a quick look at some of the key features and specifications of SharePoint Online.
Table 7: SharePoint Online key features and specifications
|Storage (pooled)||10 gigabytes (GB) base customer storage plus 500 megabytes (MB) per enterprise user subscription license (E1-E4)|
|Storage per Kiosk Worker||Zero (0). Licensed Kiosk Workers do not bring additional storage allocation.|
|Storage per external user||Zero (0). Licensed external users do not bring additional storage allocation.|
|Additional storage||Available at a cost per gigabyte (GB) per month. No minimum purchase. Please review the Office 365 price list at http://www.office365.com.|
|Site collection storage quotas||Up to 100 gigabytes (GB) per site collection|
|My Site storage allocation (does not count against tenant‘s overall storage pool)||500 megabytes (MB) of personal storage per My Site (once provisioned)
*Note: the storage amount on individual’s My Site storage cannot be adjusted.
|Site collections (#) per tenant||Up to 300 (non-My Site site collections)|
|Total storage per tenant||Up to 25 terabytes (TB) per tenant|
|File upload limit||250 megabytes (MB) per file|
|External Users (PALs)||50 PALs are included per tenant. Current “Feature Preview” allows for usage rights of up to 1000 external users without requiring additional PALs. Microsoft reserves the right to charge for additional PALs beyond 50 at the time the next major Office 365 update.|
|Microsoft Office support||Microsoft Access 2010
Microsoft Excel® 2007 and 2010
Microsoft InfoPath® 2010
Outlook 2007 and 2010
Microsoft OneNote 2010
|PowerPoint 2007 and 2010
Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010
Word 2007 and 2010
SharePoint Workspace 2010
Project Professional 2010
|Browser support||Internet Explorer 7
Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer 9
|Firefox 3 and higher
Safari 3.1.2 on Macintosh OS X 10.5
|Mobile device support||Windows Phone 7.5 codenamed “Mango” or later
Windows Mobile® 6.1 or later
Nokia S60 3.0 or later
Apple iPhone 3.0 or later
Blackberry 4.2 or later
Android 1.5 or later
SharePoint Online allocates an initial 10 GB of storage plus 500 MB for each user. This storage is pooled and available for allocation across multiple site collections. For example, an organization of 1,000 users by default would have a base of 510,000 MB (510 GB) of storage.
In addition, users can purchase more SharePoint Online storage in GB increments charged monthly.
Site Storage Quotas
The SharePoint Online service administrator can set the storage limits for site collections and sites created by users. The minimum storage allocated to a new site collection is 24 megabytes (MB). The maximum storage available for any site collection is up to 100 gigabytes (GB).
The maximum SharePoint Online storage available to a single company’s tenancy is up to 25 terabytes (TB).
|For more information about storage quotas, review SharePoint Online: software boundaries and limits at the Office.com site.|
A site collection consists of a top-level site and its subsites. SharePoint Online lets users allocate their available storage space across up to 300 site collections. Site collections are often based on departmental boundaries. My Sites (personal site collections) do not count against this overall number of team site oriented site collections, nor do My Sites pull from the pool of storage; each My Site, once provisioned, is allocated 500 megabytes (MB) of personal storage.
Sites within a site collection share common features, such as galleries for templates, content types, Web Parts, and custom solutions uploaded to the site collection solution gallery. A subsite can inherit permissions and navigation structure from its parent site, or these can be specified and managed independently. See the TechNet article Determine permission levels and groups (SharePoint Server 2010) for details.
Microsoft Office and SharePoint Online
Microsoft Office and SharePoint Online work better together, better than ever before. In addition to document collaboration and management, features that light-up when Microsoft Office is used with SharePoint Online, new capabilities now enable co-authoring – two or more users can simultaneously edit the same document. In addition, Office Web Apps will allow you to work with Office documents directly in a browser when you are on the go or at a shared PC. You can now access your documents anywhere you have Internet access—on your mobile device, your browser, and your PC.
Some highlights of the new functionality in Microsoft Office 2010 that interoperate with SharePoint Online include:
- Backstage view: The Microsoft Office Backstage™ view allows users to manage their documents and related data—they can create, save, and send documents; inspect documents for hidden metadata or personal information; set options such as turning on or off AutoComplete suggestions; and more.
- Document co-authoring: With new co-authoring capabilities, multiple users can edit the same document at the same time, even if they are in different locations. Users can even communicate as they work, directly from within the desktop application.
- Outlook alerts: Users can stay updated on changes to documents and list items on their SharePoint Online site by receiving notifications of changes as alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS).
- Using SharePoint Workspace to manage documents offline: Users can synchronize SharePoint Online libraries and lists to their computers with just a few clicks. They can easily update documents and lists offline, and be confident that everything will automatically synchronize to the server when they are back online.
SharePoint Online can be used with the following Microsoft Office desktop programs:
Microsoft Office 2010 along with the new integrated Office Web Apps provides the best productivity experience with SharePoint Online; however, users can also use most Microsoft Office 2007 programs with SharePoint Online.
With Outlook 2010, users can view or edit calendars and contact lists that are stored on SharePoint sites, and create and manage sites for organizing meetings. Together, Outlook 2010 and SharePoint Online support:
- Read/write access to SharePoint Online items such as calendars, tasks, contacts, and discussions.
- Synchronization for offline support of document libraries and lists.
- Roll-up views of calendars and tasks across multiple lists and sites.
- Unified view of personal and SharePoint tasks.
SharePoint Online users can access SharePoint Online sites and information by using several common web browsers. Supported Microsoft browsers are:
- Internet Explorer 7
- Internet Explorer 8
- Internet Explorer 9
Internet Explorer is automatically configured for use with SharePoint Online when users install the Service Connector. After users sign in with the application, they will not be prompted for their user name and password again when they visit SharePoint Online sites.
The following browsers can also be used; however, functionality may be limited for some tasks:
- Firefox 3
- Safari 3.1.2 (with Macintosh OS X 10.5)
|When gaining access to SharePoint Online sites with these browsers, users are prompted to provide their user name and password.|
Mobile Device Support
SharePoint Online sites can render on international and North American mobile devices (including web-enabled mobile phones) in the full desktop view or using a mobile optimized format. This feature helps people stay current on team projects and tasks when they are on the road.
SharePoint Online sites can be viewed on the following mobile devices:
- Windows Phone 7.5, codenamed “Mango” or later
- Windows Mobile 6.1 + (Internet Explorer mobile and Office Mobile 2010 for 6.5.x devices))
- Nokia S60 3.0 or later E series and N series devices
- Apple iPhone 3.0 or later
- Blackberry 4.2 or later
- Android 1.5 or later
Like all Microsoft Office 365 offerings, SharePoint Online has 99.9-percent scheduled uptime with financially backed SLAs covering any instance when this service availability standard is not met.
Deleted Item Recovery
SharePoint Online users have a Recycle Bin where deleted content is stored. They can access the Recycle Bin to recover deleted documents and lists if they need to. Items in the Recycle Bin are retained for 30 days. The following data types are captured by the Recycle Bin:
- Site Collections
- List items
- Web Part pages
The following data types are not captured by the Recycle Bin:
- Site customizations made through SharePoint Designer 2010
Data protection services are provided to prevent the loss of SharePoint Online data. Backups are performed every 12 hours and retained for 14 days.
Service Continuity Management
SharePoint Online is hosted in Microsoft-managed data centers that are designed to operate highly available online services. SharePoint Online provides a financially-backed Service Level Agreement (SLA) with a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee.
Hardware failures, natural disasters, and human error all have the potential to affect service availability. To address this, SharePoint Online offers service continuity management, a process for managing risks to ensure that the SharePoint Online infrastructure is capable of continuing service if unexpected events occur. Service continuity management for SharePoint Online includes provisions to quickly recover from these events.
Two metrics commonly used in service continuity management to evaluate disaster recovery solutions are a Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which is the target time between a system disaster and the time when the system is again operational, and a Recovery Point Objective (RPO), is a time representation of the possible data loss that occurred as a result of the recovery from the unexpected event.
SharePoint Online has set an RPO and RTO in the event of a disaster:
- 1 hour RPO: Microsoft protects your SharePoint Online data and has a copy of that data that is equal to or less than 1 hour old.
- 6 hour RTO: Organizations will be able to resume service within 6 hours after service disruption if a disaster incapacitates a hosting data center.
The following conditions apply to service continuity management:
- See the Office 365 Identity Service Description for recovery times and other details related to sign-in and provisioning of new users and new tenants.
- To achieve the stated recovery times, customer networking infrastructure must honor the DNS record Time to Live (TTL) of 60 minutes. Customers that have customized their DNS infrastructure settings and set a longer TTL may experience longer recovery times.
- After RPO and RTO objectives are met, there is a period of time before full data center redundancy is restored for the service. For example, data center 1 fails but services are restored by resources in data center 2 there may be a period of time until services in data center 2 have service continuity support either by restored resources in data center 1 or new resources in data center 3. Service Level agreements apply during this time.
You can obtain the most current information related to a service interrupting event by logging into the Service Health Dashboard at https://portal.microsoftonline.com/.
|Service restoration involves updates to client-visible DNS records. To achieve the stated recovery times these DNS records are configured to have a “Time-To-Live” of 60 minutes. Customers that use networking infrastructure which does not honor a 60 minute “Time-To-Live” may experience slower recovery times.|
Microsoft Forefront® Security for SharePoint is included with SharePoint Online to help protect the SharePoint Online environment from viruses while maintaining uptime and optimizing performance.
Forefront Security for SharePoint provides comprehensive protection for SharePoint document libraries using multiple scan engines and content controls to help eliminate documents that contain malicious code.
Blocked File Types
To protect computers from potentially harmful code, SharePoint Online blocks certain kinds of files from being uploaded to or retrieved from the SharePoint Online environment. Files are blocked on the basis of the file name extension, and SharePoint Online maintains a list of file name extensions that are blocked. (For example, .exe files are on the list of blocked file name extensions, so a file called “filename.exe.” would be blocked.)
This feature does not prevent all exploits based on file types, nor is it designed to do so. The file name extensions that are blocked are listed in Appendix A: Blocked File Name Extensions.
Site Language Selection
SharePoint Online provides support for the following 40 languages within both the SharePoint Online Administration Center and main SharePoint Online sites within a customer’s tenancy:
Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese, Russian , Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Estonian, Galician, Hindi, Kazakh, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Serbian Latin, Slovak, Slovenian, and Ukrainian.
Service administrators can select a language at the time they create a site collection. Different site collections, as well as subsites within a collection, can be created in different languages.
The SharePoint Online user interface (UI) makes it easier for end users to create the right experiences to be highly productive. New features include:
- Fluent UI and Ribbon technology: The SharePoint Online UI includes the Ribbon, which provides contextual and customizable menus to help users complete common collaboration and content management tasks more quickly.
- Easier site customization: The Web Edit features allow site owners to quickly edit page text and media right in the browser. For example, users can adjust text, add images and videos, skin a site with Microsoft Office themes, add a Microsoft Silverlight™ Web part, or adjust the page layout. The live preview feature lets users see changes before they save them.
SharePoint Online Capabilities
With SharePoint Online, users can set up sites to share information with others, manage documents from start to finish, and publish insights to help everyone make better decisions.
This section describes in detail the features associated with the following six primary workloads available in SharePoint Online:
Not all the features in SharePoint 2010 are available immediately with SharePoint Online. Some features will be made available to SharePoint Online users in subsequent updates released quarterly.
A detailed comparison of all features across SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2010 on-premises is provided in Appendix B: SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server Feature Comparison. The following segments touch on some of the key innovation and value within SharePoint Online.
SharePoint Online Communities delivers great collaboration tools—and a single platform to manage them. This makes it easier for people to share ideas and work together the way they want.
- My Sites: Create your own personal My Site to share personal information and professional expertise. Access and manage important documents from your PC, phone or browser. Follow your colleagues latest activities and updates using notes and activity feeds. Protect sensitive personal content and control who can read, edit and access files. The My Profile page within My Sites contains information about employees, including biographies, job titles, location, contact information, interests, skills, and previous project experience – making it easy to share personal information and professional expertise (discoverable from people search).
- Wikis and blogs: Consolidate company-wide information into a centralized, easy-to-manage repository. The page editing experience allows for embedding dynamic content including rich media. In addition, the Enterprise Wiki leverages the Managed Metadata service to provide categorization for pages. Blog functionality comes with a new user interface, improved commenting, editing, and content management features. The rich text editor includes the Ribbon UI and supports easy image uploads and rich formatting.
- Content tagging: Tagging is extended to multiple types of content end users can navigate, search, and track by tags. User-driven ratings and comments can be applied to individual pieces of content. Users can help increase resource sharing across the company by tagging a page with an “I like it” social bookmark.
- Working together: People can work together the way they want using a full set of collaboration tools—from wikis to workflows and team sites to tagging. A single, flexible platform makes it easy to manage these tools and design the right collaborative experiences for different business needs.
SharePoint Online Composites offers tools and components for creating do-it-yourself business solutions that can rapidly respond to business needs.
- Business Connectivity Services (BCS): Enable connections to external data sources via Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Web Services endpoints —in both read and write modes. These are often line-of-business (LoB) applications that sit behind your firewall, or are transitioning to the Cloud, like SQL Azure. You can create SharePoint external lists and data columns, the BDC service for WCF connectors and the Secure Store Service is partitioned at the tenant level within the SharePoint Online Administration Center. Learn more about BCS here on MSDN.
|BCS within SharePoint Online does not support a direct connection to SQL Azure. A WCF endpoint is required.|
- Sandbox Solutions feature: SharePoint Online allows customers to upload custom solutions without Microsoft review with a new feature called sandboxed solutions, which run at the site collection level and use a subset of the Microsoft.SharePoint namespace. Not all solutions will work in the sandbox, but if they do, customers will benefit with a quicker time to market for new experiences and applications.
- Publish and edit Access databases within a web browser: With this feature, people can publish Access 2010 databases to SharePoint and share them with others. The Access Services feature allows SharePoint Online users to view, create, edit, and save Access databases while working inside a web browser. Users can publish and share information across teams, and create and modify databases where no Access client is needed.
|Access reporting is not supported by SharePoint Online Access Services because SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is not currently enabled for SharePoint Online. Access reporting requires SSRS.|
- Custom workflow design with SharePoint Designer 2010: Users can create advanced, no-code solutions quickly with the improved UI and expanded capabilities of SharePoint Designer 2010. The Workflow Designer in SharePoint Designer 2010 is used to create rules that associate conditions and actions with items in SharePoint Online lists and libraries. Changes to items in lists or libraries can then trigger actions in the workflow.
- Create Forms using InfoPath 2010: Users can create rich forms to gather information quickly and cost effectively, and build form-based SharePoint Online applications with InfoPath 2010. These web browser forms can be more easily managed on the server. It is now easier than ever to enhance existing list and library forms with the click of a button, design and configure them in InfoPath 2010, and then publish browser-based forms directly back to SharePoint Online.
SharePoint Online Content makes content management easy, allowing users to set up compliance measures “behind the scenes”—with features like document types, retention polices, and automatic content sorting—and then let people work naturally in Microsoft Office.
- Browser-based document editing with Office Web Apps: Microsoft Office Web Apps help users get more things done from virtually anywhere, at virtually any time. These convenient online companions to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote® offer users an easy way to access, view, and edit documents directly from your web browser when they have an Internet connection. The Word Web App, Excel Web App, PowerPoint Web App, and OneNote Web App allow users to simultaneously share and work on documents posted to SharePoint Online sites and document libraries. The Office Web Apps are preconfigured and integrated into the service from day one and include support for Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF). For more information on Office Web Apps, see an overview of each app at Office Web Apps – App by App Overview.
|Users with Office Web Apps edit rights can create new Office documents via the Office Web Apps in conjunction with associated document library content type(s) and do not have Office installed on the desktop. Per licensing, these are the K2 and E2-4 users.|
- Metadata management: Metadata-driven navigation makes it easier to discover content in large lists and libraries. User tagging incentives are introduced and offer anticipatory suggestions of appropriate metadata based on location and context. Metadata fields can be embedded in documents. Metadata management provides multiple taxonomies and folksonomies from your tenant-level term store service at the tenant level that can be consumed at the site collection level.
- Document set management: Document sets let users store, act on, and export multiple files as a single entity. Policies, tagging, and templates can be applied to any document set that is created.
- Unique Document IDs: The unique Document ID service improves the managing and tracking information by assigning a unique, human-readable identifier to every piece of content, making it easier to locate even if the content has been moved from its original location.
|SharePoint Online does not support auditing capabilities to log the opening and downloading of files in a document library.|
SharePoint Online Insights gives everyone access to the information in databases and spreadsheets stored with SharePoint Online to help people locate the information they need to make good decisions.
- Data visualization: Users can track and visualize important business and project metrics. Users can display status indicators from data in SharePoint lists, manually entered information, and Excel workbooks stored within document libraries. Excel Services enables REST-based calls to backend data stored in SharePoint Online lists and Excel documents stored in SharePoint Online document libraries.
- Share and view Visio diagrams: Visio Services lets users share and view Visio web drawings. Visio web drawings (.vdw files) can be rendered by Visio Services and viewed in a web browser. The service also enables data-connected Visio 2010 web drawings to be refreshed and updated to show a running workflow and current status.
|SharePoint Online does not support PerformancePoint Services.|
With SharePoint Online Search, users can find content and people faster. SharePoint Online Search cuts through the clutter and helps users find what they need across site collections. A unique combination of relevance, refinement, and social cues helps people find the information and contacts they need to get their jobs done.
- Contextual Search: Search is improved to provide interactive navigation that accounts for user context to guide people with greater relevancy and filtering capabilities to refine their searches and more quickly find the content they are looking for.
- Phonetic Search: The people and expertise engine in SharePoint 2010 uses phonetic matching and nickname expansion to help users find the right people, the first time.
- People and Expertise Search: With this feature, organizations can capture knowledge not found in documents by harnessing the social aspects of search, allowing users to tag content, refine profiles, and find search results that are relevant to owners and reviewers. The more quickly and easily people—an organization’s key asset—can find each other, the more they can share ideas and expertise to solve problems, improve processes, and foster innovation.
- View in Browser: View in Browser initiates an interactive web experience with documents right from the search results page without opening an Office client application by leveraging the Office Web Apps.
SharePoint Online Sites provides a single infrastructure for all business websites. Users can share documents with colleagues, manage projects with partners, and securely publish information internally or externally.
- Templates: Preconfigured templates streamline creating, customization, and deployment of divisional portals, organization-wide intranet portal sites, and corporate Web sites. SharePoint 2010 also provides standard collaboration site templates: Team site, Document workspace, Blank site, Blog, Wiki, Meeting workspaces (five workspace types) and more.
- SharePoint lists: Lists are the backbone to storing data in SharePoint Online. They have built in views for sorting and listing data and built in forms for creating and editing data. Permissions can be granted for other users to view and or edit a list, and lists can be related to other lists. All users have the right to contribute new list items based on their permissions to the list data.
- Multi-lingual user interface: This feature provides out-of-the-box support for multilingual experiences. Not only is the SharePoint experience multilingual in areas such as the Ribbon UI, menus, and site navigation, but site owners can also configure fields within lists to support multiple languages.
- Permissions management: With this feature, users can take advantage of the ability to create customized permission levels that contain only the specific permissions they need.
- Calendars: The Calendars feature provides a rich calendar view and support for recurring events and all-day events. Users can synchronize their SharePoint Online calendar, contacts, and tasks with Outlook 2010 and then view them offline.
- Alerts and notifications: Email alerts and workflow notifications can be sent to SharePoint users when documents or other items have been changed or added to a site. SharePoint Online does not at this time support to inbound email for document libraries, discussion boards, calendars, and lists.
- External sharing: The external sharing capabilities in SharePoint Online enable a company to simply invite external users in to view, share, and collaborate on their sites. Once a SharePoint Online Administrator enables external sharing, a site collection administrator can activate external sharing for the site they manage, and then invite external users to collaborate on sites, lists, and document libraries. An external user has access rights to only the site collection they are invited into. Please also note the external user use rights as explained in Table 4 above. Learn more about “external sharing” here on Office.com.
- Customizations with SharePoint Designer 2010: SharePoint Designer 2010 provides tools for the rich customization of SharePoint sites—without having to do any coding. Reporting tools, data integration, and application templates are also available from SharePoint Designer 2010. You can download SharePoint Designer 2010 for free here.
Custom Development and Extensibility
With Office 365, developers can upload custom code to their SharePoint Online environment with the new Sandboxed Solution feature inherited from SharePoint 2010, plus the use of Silverlight and the client object model. Improvements in SharePoint Designer also provide the ability to customize SharePoint Online applications.
SharePoint Online offers developers a flexible, robust framework for customizing and developing solutions for use in the Office 365 environment. The development features and patterns you use in developing for SharePoint Online are a subset of those available for developing for SharePoint 2010 on-premises.
Customization and Development Strategies
The following customization strategies are available to SharePoint Online developers:
- Configuration by using the browser. Customizations that you can perform by using the SharePoint Online user interface in your browser. For example, you can edit page layouts, add and customize the default Web Parts, add lightweight Microsoft Silverlight widgets to a page, or embed jQuery code in a Content Editor Web Part. Because in-browser configurations are primarily performed by end users, they are outside the scope of this article. For more information for enterprises, see the SharePoint Online Planning Guide for Office 365 Beta for Enterprises. For more information for small businesses, see SharePoint Online Planning Guide for Office 365 Beta for Small Businesses.
- Customization by using SharePoint Designer. Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 is a web and application design program you can use to design, build, and customize your websites within SharePoint Online. With SharePoint Designer 2010, you can create data-rich webpages, build powerful no-code workflow-enabled solutions, and design the appearance and behavior (look and feel) of your site. Customizations that you can perform in SharePoint Designer are generally declarative, and can also employ client-side scripting.
- Developing SharePoint Online solutions that contain custom code. To enable more technically complex solutions, SharePoint Online provides both server and client object models for developers. Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 provides a range of specialized templates for creating sandboxed solutions that contain a variety of SharePoint items, such as site and list definitions, workflows, Web Parts, event receivers, and content types, to include in your SharePoint solutions.
SharePoint Online Administration
Your organization delegates a SharePoint Online Administrator to manage your SharePoint Online services. You can choose an individual within your organization or appoint a Microsoft partner to serve in this role.
Using the SharePoint Online Administration Center, a component of SharePoint Online, the SharePoint Online Administrator can set up and manage site collections in SharePoint Online. This includes allocating storage to them, assigning permissions, and enabling features. After the site collections are set up, the SharePoint Online Administrator can then delegate ownership of a site collection to site collection owner, who can then further create subsites and delegate ownership to a site owner.
The SharePoint Online Service Administrator tasks include the following:
- Create and delete site collections
- Recover site collections from the SharePoint Online Administration Center Recycle Bin
- Allocate and monitor site collection storage
- Grant access to site collection administrators
- Enable external sharing
- Upload external data connection models (.bdcm files) to configure Business Connectivity Servcies (BCS) and the Secure Store
- Plan for multilingual sites
- Manage user profiles and My Sites
- Configure InfoPath Forms Services for the organization
- Configure and manage managed metadata
To learn more about SharePoint Online administration, see the following resources:
- SharePoint Online Administration Resources Center
- SharePoint Online planning guide for Office 365 for enterprises
- SharePoint Online Administration Center Guide
|SharePoint Online does not currently support customer use of Windows PowerShell for service administration.|
Appendix A: Blocked File Name Extensions
Table 8 shows the file name extensions that are blocked in SharePoint Online.
Table 8: Blocked file name extensions
|.bas||Microsoft Visual Basic class module|
|.chm||Compiled HTML Help file|
|.class||Java class file|
|.cod||Windows NTCommand Script|
|.com||Microsoft MS-DOS program|
|.cal||Control Panel extension|
|.dll||Windows dynamic link library|
|.fxp||Microsoft Visual FoxPro compiled program|
|.ins||Internet Naming Service|
|.isp||Internet Communication settings|
|.jse||JScript Encoded script file|
|.mda||Microsoft Access add-in program|
|.mdb||Microsoft Access program|
|.mde||Microsoft Access MDE database|
|.mdt||Microsoft Access data file|
|.mdw||Microsoft Access workgroup|
|.mdz||Microsoft Access wizard program|
|.msc||Microsoft Common Console document|
|.msi||Windows Installer package|
|.msp||Windows Installer patch|
|.mst||Microsoft Visual Test source files|
|.ops||Microsoft Office profile settings file|
|.pcd||Photo CD image or Visual Test compiled script|
|.pif||Shortcut to MS-DOS program|
|.prg||Visual FoxPro source file|
|.scf||Windows Explorer command file|
|.sct||Windows Script Component|
|.shs||Shell Scrap object|
|.url||Uniform Resource Locator (Internet shortcut)|
|.vb||Visual Basic script file|
|.vbe||Visual Basic Scripting Edition Encoded script file|
|.vbs||Visual Basic Scripting Edition file|
|.wsc||Windows Script Component|
|.wsf||Windows Script file|
|.wsh||Windows Script Host Settings file|
|It is not possible to add additional blocked file types as this control is not available at the per tenant level to SharePoint Online customers.|
Appendix B: SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server Feature Comparison
Table 9 compares in-product or service feature availability between SharePoint 2010 on-premises and SharePoint Online within Office 365.
Table 9: Feature comparison across SharePoint 2010 on-premises and SharePoint Online
SharePoint 2010 Server
|Ask Me About||Yes||Yes|
|My Site: My Content||Yes||Yes|
|My Site: My Newsfeed||Yes||Yes|
|My Site: My Profile||Yes||Yes|
|Photos and Presence||Yes||Yes|
|Tags and Notes Tool||Yes||Yes|
SharePoint 2010 Server
|Client Object Model (OM)||Yes||Yes|
|Language Integrated Query (LINQ) for SharePoint||Yes||Yes|
|REST and ATOM Data Feeds||Yes||Yes|
|Ribbon and Dialog Framework||Yes||Yes|
|SharePoint Timer Jobs||Yes||No|
|Silverlight Web Part||Yes||Yes|
|Business Data Connectivity Service||Yes||Yes|
|External Data Column||Yes||Yes|
|Business Data Web Parts||Yes||Yes|
|Business Data Integration with the Office Client||Yes||No|
|Business Connectivity Services Profile Page||Yes||No|
|SharePoint Designer 2010||Yes||Yes|
|Forms: Out-of-Box workflows and customization through SharePoint Designer 2010||Yes||Yes|
|InfoPath Forms Services||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Visual Studio® 2010 SharePoint Developer Tools||Yes||Yes|
|Windows 7 Support||Yes||Yes|
|SharePoint Service Architecture||Yes||Yes|
SharePoint 2010 Server
|Audit Opening and Downloading||Yes||No|
|In-Place Legal Holds||Yes||Yes|
|Rich Media Management||Yes||Yes|
|Shared Content Types||Yes||Yes|
|Support for Accessibility Standards||Yes||Yes|
|Unique Document IDs||Yes||Yes|
|Word Automation Services||Yes||No|
|Managed Metadata Service||Yes||Yes|
SharePoint 2010 Server
|Business Intelligence Center||Yes||No|
|Chart Web Parts||Yes||No|
|Data Connection Library||Yes||No|
|Excel Services and PowerPivot for SharePoint||Yes||No|
SharePoint 2010 Server
|Advanced Content Processing||Yes||No|
|Tunable Relevance with Multiple Rank Profiles||Yes||No|
|Extensible Search Scale||Yes||Yes|
|Business Intelligence Indexing Connector||Yes||No|
|SharePoint 2010 Search Connector Framework||Yes||No|
|Mobile Search Experience||Yes||Yes|
|People and Expertise Search||Yes||Yes|
|Phonetics and Nickname Search||Yes||Yes|
|Query Suggestions, “Did You Mean?” and Related Queries||Yes||No|
|Recently Authored Content||Yes||Yes|
|Rich Web Indexing||Yes||No|
|Enterprise Scale Search||Yes||No|
|Windows 7 Search||Yes||No|
|Single Site Collection Search||No||Yes|
|Thumbnails and Previews||Yes||No|
|View in Browser||Yes||Yes|
|Visual Best Bets||Yes||No|
SharePoint 2010 Server
|Large List Scalability and Management||Yes||Yes|
|Multi-Lingual User Interface (MUI)||Yes||Yes|
|Secure Store Service||Yes||Yes – Tenant Level|
|Connections to Microsoft Office Clients||Yes||Yes|
|Public Website||No||Yes (one per tenant)|
|Office Web Apps integration||Yes – separate installation||Yes – comes preconfigured|
|SharePoint Workspace 2010||Yes||Yes|
|Out-of-the-Box Web Parts||Yes||Yes|