Category Archives: Office 365

Verifying & Setting Up DNS Records Automated In Office 365

The new Office 365 (Wave 15) brings in a lot of new features and a nice one is the automation work in verifying the domain and setting up DNS records.

The initial Office 365 offering gave steps on how to verify a domain and create the necessary DNS records. There were instructions specific to few companies like GoDaddy and a general one for all other hosting providers.

The Wave 15 Office 365 has made the process much easier. My domain is registered with GoDaddy and while adding the domain, Office 365 picks it up and makes verifying easier by just clicking the Confirm Ownership button.

 

A new window will be opened where I had to sign in with my GoDaddy credentials. That’s it and the domain was verified. No more setting up of TXT records and waiting for replication.

The creation of the necessary DNS records have been automated fully. You are asked as to what features you need – from Exchange, Lync and SharePoint online. I selected the first two and clicked the Setup Records button.

 

And voila, all the necessary DNS records were created.

 

Now that saves a lot of time and effort in getting the values right manually – to setup both Lync & Exchange services externally.

I checked the GoDaddy portal and sure enough they were all created.

 

Just double checked icon_wink  I am assuming that Office 365 will automate the process for all major hosting providers. Has anyone used a provider other than GoDaddy and seen the automation?

Office 365 One Year Trial For TechNet Subscribers

Microsoft has given all TechNet Subscribers a one year full trial of Office 365.

With an Office 365 for TechNet Subscribers trial, you can:

  • Use your Office 365 subscription for evaluation and deployment planning of Office 365 Enterprise E3 in your organization.
  • Take advantage of the five user licenses provided as part of this benefit to evaluate the multiple users and devices experience available from Office 365 Enterprise E3.

 

Login to TechNet subscription homepage and activate Office 365. You can use your own domain or a .onmicrosoft.com domain during the trial.

Office 365 Deployment Readiness Tool

Any customer thinking of migrating to Office 365 should use the O365 Deployment Readiness Tool as a prerequisite.

It is a “must” to run this tool to gather information about your platform if you are thinking of moving to Office 365. It checks whether your platform is ready to make a move to the cloud and if not, it will point out the steps to be taken to make your platform Office 365 ready.

The tool does the following assessments:

  • Domains
    • Email domain discovery and number of users leveraging each domain
  • User Identity and Account Provisioning
    • Statistical information
    • Active Directory schema and forest/domain functional data
    • Trusts extract (checks for multi-forest constraints)
    • Directory Synchronization
      • Pre-requisite checks
      • Attribute assessment
    • Single sign on
      • Attribute assessment
  • Exchange Online
    • Statistical information
    • Public folder, public delegates, and proxyaddresses extract
    • 3rd party and unified messaging proxyaddresses information
  • Lync Online
    • Statistical information
    • SIP domains summary
  • SharePoint Online
    • User object count assessment
  • Client and End User Experience
    • Summary of domain joined machines for rich experience/SSO readiness
  • Network
    • Port analysis on certain Office 365 endpoints
    • DNS records assessment

You need to run the tool from a domain joined machine.

 

Download the tool here

Can I Upgrade Office 365 Small Business Plan To Enterprise?

I got a question by email about the possibility of upgrading the Office 365 Small Business plan to an Enterprise one. Is it possible?

The short answer is NO, atleast at the time of writing. There is no button to click to “upgrade” the current plan. If you do want to move to an Enterprise plan, you will need to subscribe to a new Enterprise plan and migrate your users to the new “platform”.

Although Small Business plan has a cap of 50 users, Microsoft recommends the P plan for companies with a user base of 1-25, with the remaining for future growth.

Hope this clears the confusion.

Exchange, Lync & Office 365 Sessions From TechED NA 2012

Exchange, Lync and Office 365 sessions from TechEd NA 2012 are now online in Channel9. Check it out!

Exchange Sessions

Lync Sessions

Office 365 Sessions

Enjoy!

Configuring External Communications In Lync Online (Office 365)

The title might confuse you, as many of you might have heard that everything is setup correctly in Office 365. I found that the external communications was disabled for my tenant for some reason.

While checking out the settings for Lync Online, I found the status for external communications to be Enabled, but the status was listed as disabled for all my domains, including the onmicrosoft.com one.

Disabled by default

In order to fix it, I had to disable the external communications using the Disable button. That changed all my domain status to Connection Pending.

External Comms pending

It took more than a day for me to get all my domains enabled for external communications.

External Comms enabled finally

Next time you play with Office 365, check all the settings. Don’t just assume that everything is setup correctly & will work out of the box Winking smile. I learned this the hard way while setting up my on-premise Lync to federate with Lync Online, covered here. I was troubleshooting the on-premise deployment, while the problem was clearly with the Office 365 setting!

Enable Lync On-Premise To Federate With Lync Online (Office 365)

One of the selling features of Lync 2010 is the ability to communicate with users outside your organization – be it a remote user, federated or PIC. How can we communicate with a company who has Office 365 subscription?

Lync 2010 doesn’t allow communication with Lync Online (Office 365) out of the box. You need to add a provider for Lync Online for the communication to work. Let me explain.

I have an Office 365 subscription with a Lync user Rajith@uclab.me. My on-premise Lync has an account Chakka@exchangemaster.me. I want my on-premise Lync deployment to communicate with Office 365. How can I do it?

Launch Lync Control Panel and navigate to External User Access –> Provider. There are only three provders by default.

Default providers

We need to create a new provider for Lync Online. Hit the New button and create a new Hosted Provider. Give LyncOnline as the name of the provider and sipfed.online.lync.com as the access edge fqdn. Select Allow all communications with this provider, unless you want something granular. Hit the Commit button.

Create provider for LyncOnline

Make sure that the new provider is enabled.

Lync Online Provider Enabled

That’s it. If you are into PowerShell, open up Lync Shell and run the following command to achieve the same result.

New-CSHostingProvider –identity LyncOnline –ProxyFqdn sipfed.online.lync.com –Enabled $True

You should now be able to add the Office 365 user in your on-premise Lync client and the presence will be updated immediately & you can chat straightaway (provided that you have enabled external communications, covered here).

Onpremise Lync client

Sure enough, the Office 365 side (OWA and Lync client) picks up the on-premise presence as well.

Office 365 client

Pretty good Winking smile