The Layer2 Cloud Connector for SharePoint and Office 365 solves many issues that still exist with SharePoint out-of-the-box external data integration, especially in the cloud. It makes it as easy as possible to connect and synchronize native SharePoint lists and libraries with almost any external corporate data source, codeless and bi-directional. All native SharePoint features are available for the connected lists or libraries. Please read more about available editions, plans supported, licensing and specific use cases here.

SharePoint and Office 365 Integration: What do you want to connect today?

Layer2 Cloud Connector for SharePoint and Office 365 - FAQs

​​How the Cloud Connector is licensed?
We are offering a completely free Shareware Edition that can manage up to 25 connections (e.g. SharePoint lists) with up to 25 items per list. The full version nust be licensed per server (where it is installed – not in the cloud, not per SharePoint server).
 
What is the Personal Edition?
The Personal Edition can manage an unlimited number of items per list, but a limited number of 1 connection. A connection could be for example a single database query to a single SharePoint list, or a single file system root to a SharePoint library. You can have more than one Personal Editions licensed and installed on several servers, if required. For the Personal Edition one data entity must be SharePoint in any way, the other one can be whatever you want. Perpetual license, one time fee.
 
What is the Professional Edition?
The Professional Edition can manage an unlimited number of items and connections. For the Professional Edition one data entity must be SharePoint for each connection, the other one can be whatever you want. The license is not limited to any specific SharePoint site or database. Perpetual license, one time fee. This is the type of license typically fits for most corporate requirements.

What is the Enterprise Edition?
The Enterprise Edition is not limited to SharePoint on one side. It can connect almost any systems, e.g. Twitter to SQL or SQL to Oracle (just to give an example). It can manage an unlimited number of items and connections in terms of licensing. Perpetual license, one time fee.
 
What is the App Edition?
For Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint 2013 Online the Cloud Connector is additionally available via the new Microsoft Office SharePoint App Store. It offers low-cost licensing (e.g. per user or scope of the app) and provides additional support to build the connection string to use with certain lists or libraries in the scope of the app. It can be ordered via the Microsoft App Store only. Please find out more about SharePoint App Store licensing here. Please also note the limitations of the app store licensing models currently offered via the store. No Software Assurance or reseller discounts can be applied. The Microsoft App Store currently is "work in progress". In case of any issues with the store, payment or license, please consult Microsoft directly. If possible issues cannot be solved with the help of the Microsoft support, we are offering upgrades to the Professional Edition with more flexible licensing for most corporate requirements.
 
Is there any Cloud Connector non-production license, e.g. for development or QA?
No, there is no specific license or discount for this. Please note that you can generally use the same Cloud Connector installation to connect to your SharePoint production, development and QA environment.
 
Which plan of SharePoint Online is required to work with the Layer2 Cloud Connector?
The connector works with ALL plans that include SharePoint Online, including OneDrive for Business, and also with all editions of SharePoint Server 2010 / 2013 on-premise, including the free SharePoint Foundation.
 
Do I have to re-install to upgrade from Shareware to another edition?
No, you will receive a modified license file only to place at the server to upgrade.

What is included in the annual Software Assurance (SA)?
Licence holders, who optionally acquire Software Assurance (SA) benefit from future improvements and new features of the licensed product. Software Assurance (SA) enables you to migrate your software from a lower-level software version to a higher-level version. Software Assurance (SA) makes available maintenance, updates, minor and major releases updates or upgrades. The Software Assurance (SA) is valid per 1 license (server) for 1 year from the date of product license purchase. It can be renewed after expiring. Additional services, which may be required for updating or upgrading, are not included.

Is there a version history available?
Yes, see technical FAQs for that.

What's the difference, compared to other EAI offerings?
The Cloud Connector is highly specialized to SharePoint, on-premise and in the cloud. It is based on years of experience with integrating external data sources to SharePoint 2007 and 2010/2013 via the Layer2 Business Data List Connector. SharePoint has very special data types, lookups, user tokens, internal column names and mappings, web services and a great Client Object Model API (CSOM). There is no other EAI solution on the market, that fully supports connections to native SharePoint lists with all list features available in the cloud. One other difference is price and complexity: The Cloud Connector, especially the Professional version, is made for the mass market, definitely for small and medium enterprises. Any administrator should be able to configure a connection in just minutes - without programming or customizing on both sides, SharePoint and data source.

We would offer the connector to our clients as a reseller and / or implementer. Do you have a Partner Program?
Yes, partners receive a 15% - 30% discount on licenses in our online shop, a FREE NFR edition for internal use, partner backlinks at product pages, 2nd level support and valid leads in their regions. Please contact sales@layer2.de for more details.

Does the connector work with BPOS?
Microsoft has to finish migration of SharePoint Online and BPOS clients to 2013. After migration is completed you can use the Layer2 Connector. You don't have any changes with the migration from to 2013.
 
Does the connector work with other SharePoint offerings that are hosted externally by any provider?
Yes, so far they are SharePoint 2010 / 2013 based (including Foundation) - but not for 2007.
 
Can I use the connector for my internal SharePoint to connect external data to native SharePoint lists?
Generally yes. But there are other solutions, that potentially better support this specific scenario, e.g. the Business Data List Connector for SharePoint 2007 and 2010.
 
Does the connector support my specific data source?
You must have an ODBC, OLEDB, OData or .NET based driver for your data source installed. Such drivers are available for almost any data sources. You can use almost any 3rd party providers with the tool. Additional providers are included in ditribution. If there is no driver available, you can possibly export your data to Excel or Text files (CSV/XML). This format is supported by the connector without any restrictions (uni-directional).
 
Can I replicate SAP data to the Office 365 cloud, SharePoint Online or any externally hosted SharePoint 2010 / 2013?
Yes, you can sync SAP data directly with SharePoint using the Layer2 OData provider, or you can use any 3rd party middleware for this. Export data to intermediate CSV-Files on a regulary base to connect to cloud could also be an option. Note that your SharePoint users do not need any SAP licenses.

Which driver versions to use: 32-bit or 64-bit?
Both versions are supported. You have to use the driver version, that fits to your operating system. If no 64-bit driver is available yet, just install the connector 32-bit version at 32-bit or 64-bit Windows.

Can I start notifications and workflows in the cloud when records in my data source are changed?
Yes. If a primary key (e.g. a customer #) is configured in settings, items in the SharePoint cloud are updated rather then deleted and re-inserted. In this case you can start workflows in the cloud, when remote LOB data records are changed or newly created. Additionally ou can use RSS or email list notifications as usual with SharePoint.

Can I write-back changes made in SharePoint in the cloud back to the data source?
Yes, but your data source driver, your query and current access rights must support write access. There are several options available to manage possible replication conflicts, e.g. winner/looser definition on field level.

Can I sync documents or files to the cloud from local server file share, home drive or local SharePoint?
Yes, you can connect SharePoint libraries to other SharePoint libraries or to a local file system as well to replicate documents, bi-drectional if required. OneDrive for Business (1TB!) sync limitations and issues (e.g. with source and destination folders) are completely solved. Optionally you can sync metadata only and link to the files, e.g. to FTP/HTTP. That could save space in case of large file shares and could be usefull especially with the limitations of low-cost Office 365 plans. You will still have all list features available, e.g. views, search, change notifications etc.
 
Can I use the connector to backup my files in SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business?
Yes, you can setup an uni-directional connection from a SharePoint library to a local file system to backup your documents. Please note the file name, path, type and size restrictions of SharePoint.
 
What about SharePoint restrictions regarding file names, file size, file path etc.?
Possible restrictions depend on SharePoint / Office 365 version, plan and administrative settings. Please consult the vendor (MSFT) and your administrator for any specific limitation with your certain plan. There are no known limitations with the connector itself. You can use the error management included to process SharePoint limitations, e.g. stopp after n errors, ignore etc. for invalid files.
 
What about security while saving connection strings including user name and password?
Please enable encryption for security relevant parts of the connection string file (see checkbox near connection string) to not save the connection string as clear text. You can set access rights to the connection file as well, to improve security.
 
Got the errror message "The number of items in this list exceeds the list view threshold, which is 5.000 items" from Office 365. How to manage large lists in SharePoint Online?
There is a list view limit of 5.000 items for some views in SharePoint Online. Please note that this is not a list item limit. The list item limit is 30.000.000 items or documents per list / library. Please use the default AllItems view (without any sorting, grouping, filtering or any further conditions) to access your list in the SharePoint UI and to connect to the list via Layer2 Cloud Connector for Office 365 in the connection string. This should work in any case. To access your data, you can define views that have a condition on the ID field, e.g. ID > 5,000 and ID < 10,000. Or you can index any specific column. One other idea is to configure a metadata-based navigation so that you can access all the list's contents based on metadata assigned (e.g. a register A to display all items with title starting with A). To enable metadata-based navigation, follow the "Enable Metadata Navigation and Filtering" and "Configure Metadata Navigation" sections of the following Microsoft website. Please note that you can always use SharePoint search as usual to access your synced data at any time above the list view threshold.
 
Got the error message "Dynamic SQL generation for the UpdateCommand is not supported against a SelectCommand that does not return any key".
Your table needs a primary key defined to enable dynamic SQL generation. You can use any unique column (e.g. a customer number), a counter or GUID. The primary key must be included in query. It must not be included in SharePoint (but it could be for better understanding what happens in case of sync).
 
Got the error message: "The provider 'System.Data.SqlClient' marked the row '1' as erroneous: Dynamic SQL generation is not supported against multiple base tables." Where to go next?
The message describes a limitation of your data provider 'System.Data.SqlClient' that is not able to update the specific type of query you have connected (e.g. join). It is not related to the Cloud Connector. It would occur in the same way, if you would query a local SQL server with this query and try to update. To overcome the issue you have to simplify your query in a way that it becomes updatable.
To overcome the issue a typical approach for SharePoint is to connect several simple tables with several lists and lookup between, to simulate table relationships via foreign keys. You can, e.g. establish the lookups using SharePoint workflows, based on the foreign keys. An approach for SQL is to implement the business logic (e.g. modify several tables at once) using SQL triggers and stored procedures.
 
The Cloud Connector cannot reach my SharePoint Online / Office 365 site via proxy / firewall. Do we need specific setttings?
Please take a look here for Office 365 URLs and IP adress ranges. In case other data sources are connected, check requirements as well. The Cloud Connector itself does not have any specific requirements regarding firewall settings.
 
Got the error message „Sorry something went wrong“ while placing the App Edition on my SharePoint page.
Please check the language / culture of your site and of the app. It must be exactly the same. English (Canada)‚ English (United Kingdom) and English (United States) is definitely not the same and ends in this error. See here for more about this known SharePoint issue.
 
Whats an appropriate scheduling interval for sync?
An appropriate scheduling interval depends on amount of data, amount of changes, configuration, bandwidth etc. It makes no sense to enter an interval, shorter as the time typically needed for sync. You will have instant sync in this case. Please start with one hour (as advised), take a look at duration and decrease if possible. Take care that changes are synced only. If this is not the case (means all items are updated with each sync), please check for possible mapping or data conversion issues. Please consult our support if you need help.
 
How to sync on demand instead of on schedule?
You can execute a single connection as a command line in case of any specific event that requires a sync:
Layer2.Data.Synchronization.Service.exe –execute MyConnection
You can also embedd the command line into any command batch to do other steps, like e.g. replacing some CSV file, rewrite a connection file etc.
 
How to setup the background update to sync automatically?
Please make sure that your Layer2 Cloud Connector Windows Service is running. You can verify this at the root node of the Layer2 Cloud Connector Connection Manager. In case the Backend Serice State is "Stopped" please start using the Action Menu (right hand side). Also make sure that in your specific connection scheduling is enabled and interval / next run has appropiate values (see connection settings).
 
Where I can find more technical information and samples?
You can find more information here in FAQs.
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This tool fills an open gap with SharePoint integrating external data sources. I've tried - Oracle, MS SQL, and others. And it's really fast! A must-have for any SharePoint implementation, whether standalone or Office 365. You can't live without.

 

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With the free Shareware Edition you can manage a limited number of items per connection. To order a license for the full version please click the shopping cart.

Layer2 Cloud Connector for
 SharePoint, Office 365 and OneDrive for Business
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