Challenges for OneDrive Sync within SharePoint 2019

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Workplace flexibility is one of the key components of the future of work. To facilitate this, it’s essential that people can easily access and collaborate in and outside their organizations from anywhere, on any device, in a secure way. SharePoint and OneDrive provide solutions to this. OneDrive for Businesses Microsoft Office 365 cloud service, allows users to store, share files in the cloud while SharePoint allows multiple teams to work on the same document, at the same time. With on-premise SharePoint Server instances, it provides the OneDrive sites with similar experience as OneDrive cloud. Lets you store and protect your files, share them with others and get to them from anywhere on all your devices that can be either hosted on your company servers.

OneDrive synchronization client:

The OneDrive Sync client (also known as the Next Generation Sync Client – NGSC) provides the ability to sync files between your device and OneDrive for Business site. This new sync client is now available in SharePoint 2019. Previous versions of SharePoint were using a different sync client – “groove” which had serious limitations in providing a seamless & consistent experience across devices.

Challenges: Sync issues with SharePoint 2019

 

We have been testing the new sync client with SharePoint 2019 and different topologies (intranet & extranet). During this, we encountered few configuration challenges with respect to cleaning up an older version of client installed on desktops and getting the necessary registry entries in place to make sync work with intranets on NTLM authentication. These changes will allow OneDrive Sync Client to authenticate against the on-premise SharePoint 2019 and support sync with both Cloud and on-premise OneDrive for Business.

Read more on the Configurations listed out by Microsoft here.

HKLM:\Software\Policies\Microsoft\OneDrive\SharePointOnPremPrioritization

HKLM:\Software\Policies\Microsoft\OneDrive\SharePointOnPremFrontDoorUrl

HKLM:\Software\Policies\Microsoft\OneDrive\SharePointOnPremTenantName

Though, the sync client fails if we configure the SharePoint Sites (OneDrive or team sites) to use SAML based (Claims) authentication. SharePoint 2019 supports the use of SAML 1.1 but the NGSC (Next Generation Sync Client) does not.

During our call with premier support, we verified that NGSC does not even pass cookies even though we were using persistent cookies. Surprisingly the WebDAV client was using the persistent cookies, and we were able to successfully map a network drive to the OneDrive share, but then this is not the desired user experience.

Currently, the only way to utilize the latest OneDrive Sync experience on SharePoint 2019 is using by Windows authentication. Which seriously limits extending SharePoint intranets to Extranets facilitating SSO using claims-based authentication. The product group is investigating the possibility of adding that feature but currently, there is no ETA.

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