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I would like to build a solution for SharePoint online. The solution should be able to automatically fire workflows.

Is it possible to deploy such a solution on O365? Do you need Microsoft Azure for this? What are the other requirements and constraints?

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You would have a few options, you could have a service in Azure that handles this. The advantage here is that you can deploy services in the same region as your tenant for fast performance.

Another option would be to create your timer job solution as a compiled executable and use a central server in your environment as a "scheduling hub". Here you would configure a windows scheduled task the runs your executable on your defined schedule.

You could combine the 2 options by having a windows server in Azure executing your executable on schedule.

In our scenario, we have a central server on prem that executes custom executables on schedule.

  • Thanks Eric. How would the compile executable on the central server connect to SharePoint online? – Kris Van den Bergh May 13 '16 at 12:48
  • You have to authenticate with a SharePointOnlineCredentials object, it helps if you have a service account as a SharePoint administrator in O365 or have a service account listed as a site collection administrator, then you'd just authenticate with that account. See the first example here, tomaszrabinski.pl/wordpress/2013/03/18/… – Eric Alexander May 13 '16 at 12:57
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As far as I know, timer jobs are not allowed on O365. However, you can create Microsoft Azure WebJobs.

You can find a sample console application in the link below that will give you a good start on how to implement/deploy one:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/dn986826.aspx

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