Category Archives: Exchange

Everything about Exchange Online

Demystifying Exchange Online plans

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Exchange Online is a great business productivity service, just like the entire Office 365 suite. However, offering each company only the services that the company really needs is not an easy task since companies of all sizes would like to use these services. This is the reason why Office 365 comes with different subscriptions, where each subscription includes different service plans. Further, we also have the so called standalone plans that companies may use. All of this could become very confusing for customers and that’s why I often receive questions like what Exchange Online plan is included in Office 365 Business Premium and how is this plan different from other Exchange Online plans? Other customers prefer an Office 365 Business subscription, but would like to have only all the Exchange Online features that are present in Office 365 E3 subscriptions. So that’s why I thought of trying to demystify Exchange Online plans. I can’t promise I will succeed, but I’ll give it a try.

So, first of all, please note that all Office 365 Business subscriptions and the Office 365 E1 subscription include Exchange Online Plan 1! All other Office 365 Enterprise plans include Exchange Online Plan 2. Having this in mind, the next question would be: “what are the differences between Exchange Online Plan 1 and Exchange Online Plan 2?” Continue reading

About Exchange Online Archiving and Outlook client limitations

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Exchange Online Archiving seems to be a very popular service offered by Microsoft via Office 365 and it usually is a key factor for enterprise customers and small businesses to opt for their way to Exchange Online. Enterprise customers usually use Office 365 enterprise subscription, like E3, where Exchange Online Archiving is included by default, together with the Office 365 ProPlus desktop applications. Everything is very straightforward. However, small businesses usually work with the Office 365 Business Plans that don’t include Exchange Online Archiving by default, neither the Office ProPlus desktop applications and this may cause some headaches. That’s why I aim to clarify some important aspects around Exchange Online Archiving and Outlook client limitations.

First of all, if you are using an Office 365 business subscription (essentials, business, business premium), this doesn’t include Exchange Online Archiving. However, you can purchase it as additional service for your tenant for a fee around 3$/month/user. Still, there is another very BIG aspect you should take into consideration: Exchange Online Archiving is supported only with Office 365 ProPlus! With the Office 365 business plans you get the Office 365 Business desktop applications, and Exchange Online Archiving will not work with Outlook!  Continue reading

Exchange Hybrid deployment certificate requirements

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Exchange Online gains more and more momentum and Exchange hybrid deployments are already a pretty common scenario for a lot of IT organizations. Even if almost every aspect around an Exchange Hybrid deployment is well known by IT pros, there is still a point that seems to cause some difficulties: certificates. And since an Exchange hybrid deployment is not possible without a proper certificate configuration, I thought to clarify the most important aspects about certificates in such a scenario by answering 5 questions I often hear when working with IT administrators.

One of the top question I deal with almost every day is: “I have a self signed certificate configured for my Exchange Server deployment, issued by my Windows Server 2012 R2 Certification authority. Can I use this certificate for an Exchange Hybrid deployment?” The answer is NO! In order to create an Exchange Hybrid deployment, organizations need a certificates issued by a trusted and public certification authority. And the reason why is very simple. Certificates are meant to prove your organization’s identity so that users and other service providers (like Microsoft) can be sure that they engage with the organizations they wanted to engage and not with an attacker. Continue reading

Where is my Office 365 tenant located?

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Where is my Office 365 tenant located? This is the kind of question I deal with very often and the answer is not as simple as people may expect. In fact this is a pretty complex topic since Office 365 is not a single service, but a collection of different services using specific data center resources. So we habe Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online, Azure Active Directory, Skype for Business and so on.

First of all, why are admins asking this? In my opinion there are 2 different reasons. One is concerning data privacy concerns and regulations in each country. The other is service performance.  Continue reading

Office 365 tenant to tenant migrations. Some things you should know about

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With cloud adoption going at a fast pace, Office 365 tenant to tenant migrations are scenarios that IT pros have to face more and more often. When a company using Office 365 acquires another company that also uses Office 365, it is obvious that the resources have to be consolidated in a certain way. Being cloud-only organizations, the only choice is a tenant to tenant migration. As this process is pretty painful, I thought to blog about it and point out some things you should know about.

At first, we would have to migrate the users and mailboxes from one tenant to another, including the used mail domain, like domain.com. My recommendation is to start the verification process of the mail domain in the target tenant and to create the necessary DNS record to prove domain ownership. Sure, we won’t be able to completely verify the domain since it is still present on the source tenant, but by doing this we can make sure that the new DNS record will be appropriately propagated in DNS by the time we have removed it from the source tenant.  Continue reading

ADFS in a resource/account forest scenario

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Handling identities in a hybrid cloud is often no easy task. Configuring ADFS with Office 365 and Azure should not be difficult. Generally speaking using the cloud is not necessarily rocket science. However, things can get very complicated depending on the on the server infrastructure a company already has in place when deciding to move to the cloud.

A very common scenario is using resource forests and account forests in the same organization. Typically the resource forest is configured for some services, like Exchange or SharePoint and the account forest contains account information for client login. Many larger organizations have opted for such a scenario a while back and probably nowadays they want to move some workloads to the cloud. The big question for identity folks is, how should directory synchronization and identity federation be implemented in a resource/account forest scenario?  Continue reading

Moving public folders to Exchange Online

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Exchange public folders is always a hot topic. It was since public folders were first released a bunch of years back. Nowadays, with the large adoption of Exchange Online the new and very big challenge is to move the public folders to the cloud. I have to say, there are some limitations which may result in bottlenecks during a cloud migration, so what I want to do is to shed some light onto this topic. My experience is that the official Microsoft documentation on this topic is sometimes misunderstood.

A first point to take into consideration is the migration of Exchange public folders to Exchange online in a non-hybrid environment. This comes also with a trick. It is possible to migrate legacy public folder to Exchange online, but it is currently not supported to migrate Exchange Server 2013 public folders. You can find HERE an extensive documentation on how to migrate legacy public folders to Exchange online and I find that this step by step description is pretty self explanatory. Please be advised that this is basically a staged migration. Continue reading

Scenarii de migrare a mailboxurilor in Exchange Online

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După ce am vorbit despre beneficiile pe care suita de servicii Office 365 le aduce atât companiilor mari cât și intreprinderilor mici și mijlocii, consider că este necesar să mergem un pas mai departe pentru a discuta o primă decizie pe care un proiect de migrare trebuie să o ia: cum migrăm mailboxurile?

Scenariu: Majoritatea companiilor și firmelor care aleg Office 365 au deja un sistem de messaging. Fie ca vorbim de o infrastructura proprie bazata pe Exchange sau Lotus Notes, de servicii gazduite pe alte platforme, sau de servere IMAP, continutul actual al mailboxurilor trebuie  migrat in Office 365.  Continue reading

Office 365, un serviciu centrat pe client. Diferenta fundamentala intre Microsoft si Google

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Enterprise-Grade-ToolsDacă tot am explicat ce este Office 365 și am arătat că pentru firmele mici înseamnă o infrastructură IT la nivel de companie globală. iar pentru companiile mari înseamnă reducerea costurilor, flexibilitate și colaborare în timp real, un pas următor ar fi să vedem cum se diferențează serviciul Office 365 oferit de Microsoft de alte servicii competitoare asemănătoare, în special Google Apps.

Ca o caracteristică ce desparte fundamental Office 365 de aplicațiile Google este faptul că întreg serviciul Microsoft este centrat pe client, sau, mai exact, pe fiecare utilizator în parte. Google este departe de o asemenea atitudine și voi încerca să explic și de ce. Un prim indiciu ar fi modul de calculare al downtime-ului. Office 365 garantează un uptime de 99,9 %. Google garantează același număr dar calculează altfel.  Continue reading