Office 365 is SaaS (Software as a Service) based solution by Microsoft which provides enterprise software capabilities on the cloud, where users can get to applications and files from virtually anywhere—PC, Mac, and tablets—and they're always up to date.
However, due to many limitations and challenges it is not being adopted on larger scale. If you are interested in learning more about why several companies are postponing their adoption of Office 365, read this white paper which discusses the constraints of Office 365 as it exists today.
Third party dedicated cloud:
To overcome the limitations of SharePoint online and utilize the benefits of cloud, third party cloud can be a good option. Major IaaS ((Infrastructure as a service) ) providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Rackspace and VMware are offering dedicated hosting servers where SharePoint farm can be setup according to the company’s custom needs. By leveraging the benefits of IaaS many requirements such as scalability, availability, performance and security can be achieved on the cloud.
The main advantage of using IaaS is that organizations have full control on their farm and can utilize full capabilities of SharePoint on premise version.
Below table summarizes the basic differences between setting up dedicated cloud and Office 365:
|Dedicated cloud||Office 365|
|SharePoint Version||SharePoint Server||SharePoint online|
|Administrative Control on Farm||Full||Limited|
|Available Features||Full (All features provided by SharePoint)||Limited (only a limited set of features are available)|
|Upgrade / Hotfix deployment||SharePoint Admin||Microsoft|
|Customization||Minimal constraints||Minimal customization|
|Governance & Compliances||Almost All||Limited|
|Backup / Restore policies||According to organization’s needs||According to Microsoft Policy|
|Audit Logs||Available immediately||Available after few hours|
|Best suited for||Large enterprises||Small / Mid-level enterprises|
If you have already decided in favor of one of these two options, how has your experience been so far?