The industry is still buzzing about the cloud and in the SharePoint World there are plenty of different terms thrown around. I think it is important to define a terminology for SharePoint servers outside of “on-premise” where the assumption is full control of the servers to deploy full-trust solutions and “online” or “cloud” where the assumption is only control of site collection downwards and no full-trust solutions. This is essentially because offerings such as fpWeb, Rackspace and the new Windows Azure Virtual Machines (IaaS) also provide the ability to have full control and aren’t “on-premise”. There are also plenty of SaaS type offerings in the cloud for a multi-tenant environment with sandboxed control such as Office 365 SharePoint Online.
Microsoft has been spinning the “private cloud” term which encompasses both on-premise and cloud servers that allows full control. I don’t believe this is immediately clear as organizations can have an on-premise server that denies full control due to agreed governance policies around multi-tenancy across departments or business units.
Something I’m going to be consistent on moving forward is using the terms “Full Control SharePoint environments” and “Multi-Tenant SharePoint environments”. I have asked many people if they had terms already here, as this has been relevant all through the SharePoint 2010 wave, and yet hasn’t been clearly defined…please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong here.
The importance of delineating between Full Control and Multi-Tenant is important due to the level of customization available to your SharePoint environment. This clears up the assumption that just because it’s “on-premise” or in a “private cloud” or “co-located”…doesn’t mean that you can deploy full-trust solutions to it.
Please discuss below…