SharePoint Conference 2008
At the SharePoint Conference 2008, Bill Gates shared some interesting news in his opening keynote. Of course he has lots to brag about when it comes to the great SharePoint machine -- it reached 100 million licenses sold and surpassed sales of USD $1 billion this year. So of course Microsoft would be planning even more solutions and capabilities that will encourage people to buy into the world of SharePoint. And it is becoming a world all on its own -- just look at the number of vendors who are partnering to provide integrated solutions (2,250 to be exact). So what’s new on the SharePoint collaboration front?

General Availability of Search Server 2008 Express

Out in beta since November 2007 – we gave you an overview of the free search product – MSSX is now generally available as a RTM.

Silverlight Blueprint for SharePoint

If you were wondering how to integrate Silverlight rich internet applications into your SharePoint sites, wonder no more. Microsoft is providing a Silverlight Blueprint for SharePoint that provides sample code, guidance and best practices, and rich business data visualization and interactivity for combining the two technologies. There are a number of samples available now, but the Blueprint itself will be available on Codeplex in the coming months.

Expansion of Microsoft Online Services

Microsoft will offer a set of online services that should support companies of all sizes. A new licensing model that offers services on a per-user subscription basis is provided. Current customers with Software Assurance can purchase these per-user subscriptions at a discount. There are four online services available either separately or as a suite: * SharePoint Online * Exchange Online * Office Communications Online * Office Live Meeting SharePoint Online SharePoint Online is a hosted SharePoint implementation that you can use for your organization instead of installing the product in-house. SharePoint Online is available in two versions: Standard and Dedicated. SharePoint Online Standard This is the version most companies small to mid-size will likely use. It's a hosted version of SharePoint offering functionality such as Portal, Collaboration, Search, Content Management and Business Process Forms. It contains all the standard templates for things like wikis, blogs and surveys and all the standard document and list library capabilities. Integration with Office, search, email alerts, offline access to documents from Outlook, RSS feeds, single-sign on and lots more. This is a secure hosted environment using Microsoft Forefront anti-virus scanning. It has a 99.9% availability with financially backed Service Agreements. Web and phone based support are included for Tier 2 support for IT Administrators. Standard Parameters include: * Unlimited number of Sites (based on space limit) * 250 MB per user * Secure via Https * Single Sign-on using Sign In Tool * Business continuity and disaster recovery * Per user per month fee * Supports IE6+ and FireFox 2.0+ SharePoint Online Dedicated The dedicated version of SharePoint Online is a completely separate hosted version for a company. They host their own implementation (separate server environment including servers, networks and physical space) in Microsoft's data centres. This service contains all the basics that the standard version contains, plus Active Directory integration, upgrades to SharePoint at no charge, self-service document restore and data recovery and more. Optional Services include WAN Acceleration, Migration from older versions of SharePoint or other platforms and additional storage. Other features include: * Unlimited number of sites with 5GB per site quota * 100 MB per user, aggregated across the organization * Audits and Security such as Sarbanes Oxley self assessment and external audit support * 99.9% availability If you are US-based company you can participate in the beta trial of the new services. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until later this year. To find out more about Microsoft’s online services, take tour of their website. Looks like it's going to be another big year for SharePoint and the analysts are already predicting it's continued wide-spread use (viral or otherwise).