Monday, March 05, 2012

BPOS Upgraded to Office 365–Why Does it Look the Same?

Obviously, there’s a lot more to Office 365 than SharePoint Online. The Microsoft Online Services offering also includes Exchange Online for email, Lync Online for communication, the Office Web Apps, and some plans even include a copy of Office Professional Plus. But I’ll let others blog about the various pieces—this post is about SharePoint Online.

If you have a Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) account, you’ll know that BPOS comes with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) and Office 365 comes with SharePoint Server 2010. Since I work for a Microsoft Partner, Metalogix Software, my GovernanceHx project is part of the BizSpark program, and I’m a Microsoft MVP, I have a few different SharePoint Online accounts—including both BPOS and Office 365. One of these accounts was recently upgraded from BPOS to Office 365, so I’ve experienced the SharePoint upgrade firsthand.

BPOS Site Upgraded Office 365 stephen cawood
- A BPOS SharePoint site upgraded to Office 365

The funny thing about the SharePoint Online portion of the upgrade is that it’s really hard to tell that anything has happened. Sure, you get an email that advises you that your site is ready for upgrade, but when you actually visit your SharePoint Online site, it looks exactly the same. Well, we all know that looks can be deceiving.

If, however, you enter using the Team Site link from the Office 365 customer portal, you’ll be taken to a spanky new SharePoint Server 2010 site. This is actually a new page; the BPOS content retains the same URL after the upgrade and a link will be added to your new home page.

- The SharePoint “Team Site” home page after BPOS (MOSS 2007) is upgraded to Office 365 (SharePoint 2010)

So why does the BPOS SharePoint Online content still look like MOSS? It’s actually a feature of SharePoint Server 2010. Specifically, the “Visual Upgrade” feature. Visual Upgrade allows MOSS sites to be upgraded to 2010 without changing the look and feel. This is meant to ease the transition to the new version of SharePoint. A site admin can go to the site settings and choose to upgrade to the SharePoint 2010 look and feel. When a BPOS site is upgraded to Office 365, the SharePoint Online content is put in a site collection under the Office 365 account.

To see the site collections, go to the Microsoft Online Services (Office 365) Administration portal and scroll down to SharePoint Online. Once there, click the “Manage” link. This opens the SharePoint Online Administration Center. Next, click on “Site Collections” to see the Office 365 site collections that were provisioned for you during the upgrade.

Office 365 Admin stephen cawood
- The Office 365 administration interface

Here you’ll see that there’s a new site collection under your Office 365 domain name (yes, the Office 365 URLs are much nicer than the old BPOS mouthful), and that there’s one for your MySites (a feature that wasn’t available in BPOS), as well as one for your old BPOS content. If you don’t want to use the new SharePoint 2010 interface, that’s your choice, but personally, I’d go for it.

Office 365 SharePoint Online stephen cawood
- The new SharePoint Online Administration Center interface

I only wanted one site collection, so I used Metalogix Migration Manager for SharePoint, to migrate the old BPOS content to the main Office 365 site collection.

Having my site (and my MySite) on SharePoint 2010 means I can take advantage of great features that are only available in SharePoint 2010. For example, Enterprise Metadata Management (a.k.a. SharePoint taxonomy), the new SharePoint UI with the fluent ribbon and a tighter integration with Microsoft Office.

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