Hybrid in SharePoint Server 2016 enables you to integrate your on-premises farm with Office 365 productivity experiences, allowing you to adopt the cloud at your own pace.

In terms of commercial viability, moving to cloud is pretty much a no-brainer. It helps enterprises set up websites and fully functional web-based systems with a fraction of the cost involved in on-premise maintenance. However, a compelling reason for low cloud adoption rates is that most companies just don’t trust the cloud enough to have their data in there.

This can change with hybrid deployment. If you were to adopt an IaaS model, you get the following:

1. Hybrid Search
Hybrid Search is one of the most important features that hybrid deployment of SharePoint presents. Users who have both on-premise and online versions of SharePoint need to search both versions for documents that they have saved. There are two types of search options:

a. Federated Search

The documents are divided, ie. The SharePoint on-premise files show up during on-premise searches, and the online files during online searches.

Users can also see results from the “other” system in a result block on the SharePoint search results page. One big con with this search though is that users don’t get mixed results, and can only see a maximum of ten at a time.

b. Cloud Search

This feature was introduced this year.

This search method puts the index for on-premise searches into Office 365, and merges it with the SharePoint online searches index. Since search results come essentially from the same index, the best results are shown in order, irrespective of their address.

The one con with this option is that users are limited to SharePoint’s search customization capabilities, which means that they forfeit the Content Enrichment web service, among other things. Besides, the price may increase based on the number of files on premise.

2. Hybrid Sites
This presents three different features:

a. Following Sites

This lets users ‘follow’ sites – both in the on-premise and online versions. All of the sites that users have followed will appear under a common tab, marked SharePoint, in Office 365. This means users can find all the sites they follow in one common place.

b. User Profile Redirection

Users who are using both the on-premise and online version have two profiles: MySite(on-premise), and Delve (Office 365). When users click on their name in SharePoint, they are taken to MySite, and when they click n their name in Office 365, they are taken to Delve.  Maintaining two profiles can be a nuisance.

This is solved when Hybrid Sites are enabled. Irrespective of where users are, when they click on their username, they will be taken to their Delve. This way, users maintain just one page.

c. App Launcher

Users can add extra tiles to their SharePoint app launcher using the extensible app launcher. When they add an image to their Office 365 launcher, it automatically gets updated on their SharePoint app launcher as well.

3. Hybrid OneDrive:
Microsoft’s enterprise cloud storage, OneDrive for Business, has already become really popular with Windows 7 and 8 users. It is Microsoft’s cloud offering. Users can create Word, Excel, PowerPoint or any other Microsoft office documents, and upload them directly to OneDrive. No hard disk space issues, no virus troubles, nothing.

With hybrid deployment, Hybrid OneDrive for Business can be configured to have users’ OneDrive for Business in SharePoint, instead of just storing it in a personal datacenter. This way, users can store files without worrying about backup, and they can also access the files from anywhere, without connecting to the company’s VPN.

Hybrid in SharePoint Server 2016

In SharePoint Server 2016, new hybrid features are available to enable hybrid solutions.

Hybrid sites

Hybrid sites features allows your users to have an integrated experience while using SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online sites:

  • Users can follow SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online sites, and see them consolidated in a single list.
  • Users have a single profile in Office 365, where all of their profile information is stored.

For more information, see Plan for hybrid sites features.

Hybrid OneDrive for Business

Hybrid sites features are used in concert with Hybrid OneDrive for Business (introduced in SharePoint Server 2013 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)):

  • Users can sync files with Office 365 and share them with others.
  • Users can access their files directly through Office 365 from any device.

Cloud hybrid search

Cloud hybrid search is a new hybrid search solution alternative. With cloud hybrid search:

  • You index all of your crawled content, including on-premises content, to your search index in Office 365. You can set up the crawler in SharePoint Server 2016 to crawl the same content sources and use the same search connectors in Office SharePoint Server 2007, SharePoint Server 2010, and SharePoint Server 2013.
  • When users query your search index in Office 365, they get unified search results from both on-premises and Office 365 content.

For more information about cloud hybrid search, see the public Microsoft cloud hybrid search program on Microsoft Office connection.

For more information, see Plan for hybrid OneDrive for Business.

For more information about the hybrid solutions available today, please visit the SharePoint Hybrid Solutions Center.