Lync Migration Featured Article
December 03, 2014
Layer2 Cloud Connector V5 Offers New Data Integration Power for Office 365
By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer
Microsoft Cloud's lineup has brought an impressive prospect to a great many users out there, and with good reason. Comprised of names like Dynamics Online, Exchange Online, Office 365, OneDrive, SharePoint Online and Windows Azure, there are a host of tools in that toolbox that should bring a lot of power to those putting said tools to work. But with the rise of Microsoft (News - Alert) Cloud's line of tools comes with it one major issue: the need to get all these tools working together toward a common purpose. That's where Layer2 comes in with its new Cloud Connector system, offering up several tools to add extra drive and direction to the Microsoft Cloud system.
With Layer2's Cloud Collector V5, there's now support for cloud-to-cloud integration of both SharePoint and Office 365. That's a great move, but for those looking to run hybrid cloud-to-on-premises integration setups, there's room for that here too as the Cloud Collector can run right alongside existing systems, meaning that current databases, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, and others can continue to run as is. That saves plenty of time, and by extension money, in terms of getting such systems up and running.
Layer2's Cloud Collector has been referred to as a “Swiss-Army Knife”, allowing users to better fill in the various gaps that exist among Microsoft's lineup of cloud tools. This is done through its ability to integrate a variety of applications at once, whether said apps are hosted on private clouds or public clouds. With the Layer2 Connection Manager added in, users can connect nearly any data source directly to the cloud itself, and allow that data source to provide its content directly to the cloud, adding more power to the tools in question by giving said tools more grist for the mill, so to speak. A host of data sources are useful under this concept, ranging from Excel and Dbase / FoxPro data files to even cloud-based services.
Those interested in getting hands on a copy of this system can actually download a shareware version at no charge, needing only to register with the vendor at the relevant product page. While there are some limits to the shareware version, there are software licenses on hand to unlock these tools and put the whole package to work rapidly. There's even a partner program on hand for resellers and the like.
Basically, it looks to address one of the big problems that comes with such a system; it's great to have all this data—to know what customers are looking for and the like—but if it's just a big pile of data, it really isn't all that useful. It needs to be made available, condensed into useful, actionable points, and with a system like Cloud Collector, that data can be better brought together to make a more useful, coherent whole out of it. This is likely to prove valuable, especially given how much value Microsoft's offerings have already brought to the table. Making the already-good better is seldom a business plan that goes unappreciated, and Layer2 may well have just that right here.
It will be interesting to see how many companies take up Layer2's gauntlet and put the Cloud Connector system to work, and what results are had from there. But for now, Layer2 has a sound premise at work, and one that should catch its share of attention from companies looking to make the most out of cloud-based systems.
Edited by Maurice Nagle