Where is my Office 365 tenant located?

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. 

But fist things, first. Can I choose the region for my tenant? 

The answer is: no. When you create an Offiee 365 tenant the service checks the external IP that generated the request and provisions the tenant in that region. Let’s say you are a working for a company in Switzerland and you are on business trip in the US. There you provision the tenant for your company. In this case, the tenant will be provisioned in the US region. If you do the same thing from Europe, the tenant will be provisioned in Europe and so on.

Second think to note here, there are some countries where the regional determination won’t be the one you would expect. For examples, tenants provisioned in UAE are mostly located in the European data centres and not in APAC. However, you are able to check this type of information with the local Microsoft subsidiaries where you reside.

Is all my data located at the same place? 

The answer is also: no. As I said, Office 365 is a collection of different workloads that my require different data center resources. Most commonly, Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online and Skype for Business data is located in the same region where the tenant was created. But Azure AD data is normally provisioned in 2 different regions as a failover mechanism. For an European tenant, Azure AD data would be primarily stored in EMEA, but the data will also be replicated in the US. In fact, you can easily check this by accesing your Azure AD directory via the Azure portal.

This is because Azure AD data is legally not considered “data” but “metadate” so “data about the data”.

How can I check where my tenant and different workloads are located? 

Our old friend named Windows PowerShell would help us to get this information.  So to check where your tenant is located, first open PowerShell, connect it ot the Microsoft Online Service and to an Exchange Online session.

First you can run: Get-Mailbox -identity user@domain.com | FL 

This cmdlet will retrieve a long list of attributes. Here you may take a look at “OrganizatinalUnit”, which in my case is indicating an European server:

Get-Mailbox1

We can also check in this list for the attribute “OriginatingServer”, which in my case is a server located in the Amsterdam data center.

If you are running this cmdlets against a tenant that is provisioned in the US, the values would also indicate pretty clear that the mailbox is located in an US data center.

Also if mailboxes are located there, there is a 99,99% chance that also Sharepoint data and Skype for Business data is located in the same region.

Can I simply change the region for my tenant? 

Unfortunately this is not possible, since when you create a tenant Microsoft creates already the specific instances for all workloads and reserves the necessary namespaces. In this scenario you would have to create a new tenant and to perform a tenant to tenant migration.

Hope this information is useful for you. Feel free to post additional questions that I might have skipped or add some more details based on your experience.

Dan Patrascu-Baba

Partner Technical Consultant at Microsoft
Azure PaaS and dev consultant, working for Microsoft. Mostly dealing with Microsoft Azure services, ASP.Net Core, AngularJS, Javascript. Helping partners and customers to write good code and to architect their cloud and hybrid solutions.

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