Hybrid Dilemma: Using Infrastructure as Information Architecture

Hybrid Dilemma: Using Infrastructure as Information Architecture

By Adam Levithan | April 15, 2015

To highlight the struggle with end-users’ and IT’s decisions of what infrastructure is needed to support a specific collaboration technology I’ll focus on a very common scenario when IT is faced with team collaboration, Intranets and Extranets on SharePoint. Using the phrase from my previous blog 'It's the End-User's Choice' this scenario highlights common decisions that IT must make to solve end-users needs, without compromising the integrity of organizations systems.

In this diagram you see a common situation where a company has invested heavily into SharePoint 2010 and has built customized solutions to support business processes and an organization specific records management system. As an organization they’ve made the decision to move workloads to SharePoint 2013 and the cloud, slowly realizing that they will not be able to fully commit to the cloud. The result is IAIA in action, a hybrid solution to collaboration.

You’ll see in the diagram the separation of workloads from the collaboration spectrum (see previous blog) and how this specific IT has decided to distribute them. As mentioned previously, customization that would be too costly to move from their current environment (SharePoint 2010) while other workloads are moved to new infrastructures. A highlight to view here is the need for Identity/Authentication to work together On-Premises and in the cloud no matter the situation. This IT team decided that look and& feel and security were a priority so they have kept their Intranet and Team Sites within their firewall and on-premises.

At the same time they met their end-users’ needs to collaborate more easily with partners by setting up and extranet and using OneDrive for Business in the cloud. This allows users to utilize Microsoft’s mobile apps to enhance the availability of these documents, and reducing the need for this IT department to invest in different tools to provide the same access.

In my opinion, this quick example demonstrates how IT organizations have been implementing hybrid solutions for a long time, not just since the rapid growth of cloud solutions. Organizations have environments across versions of Exchange and SharePoint on-premises, geographically-distributed infrastructures for global organizations or during mergers and acquisitions, and even Cloud to Cloud connected systems. The IT teams that have configured these environments have been practicing IAIA and can apply the same decisions toward new cloud technologies that end-users request.


Adam is a Director of Product Management at Metalogix and a Microsoft MVP advocating for collaboration by connecting business needs with the right technology. Prior to Metalogix, Adam was a Practice Lead for Office 365 in a cutting edge Microsoft Consulting firm where he was responsible for moving customers to the cloud, designing and implementing information architecture (SharePoint Farm and content) and increasing user adoption. Adam is an ongoing member of the SharePoint Saturday DC coordinating committee and active speaker at various events.

Written By: Adam Levithan

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