Monday, March 30, 2015

Built-in MDM for Office 365 Reaches GA !!!

Today Microsoft team made the significant announcement for Office 365,  Built-in mobile device management now generally available for Office 365 commercial plans, including Business, Enterprise, EDU and Government plans.

Managing Mobile devices connecting to Office 365 is now made ease with this new feature powered by by Microsoft Intune and the Microsoft Azure Active Directory.

If you need more granular control and more advanced mobile device management features beyond this, you can subscribe to Microsoft Intune, part of the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite.

Access the Official Announcement here: Built-in mobile device management now generally available for Office 365 commercial plans

Review the TechNet article for more information : Overview of Mobile Device Management for Office 365

Additionally, review this below excellent Blog post from our Simon May.

Enable Office 365 Built-In MDM (Mobile Device Management)

Read the FAQ Article below for more updates.

Frequently asked questions about Mobile Device Management for Office 365


Review the below Office blogs walk-through post to explore the new capabilities of built-in MDM for Office 365

Explore the built-in Mobile Device Management (MDM) feature for Office 365

One more excellent walk-through post from fellow MVP Nuno Silva in the MVP Award Program Blog

Mobile Device Management for Office 365 with Azure Active Directory

Monday, March 23, 2015

What's New in Skype for Business!!!

Lync is now officially became Skype for Business, Microsoft team released a support article that covers whats new with Skype for business with a visual walk-through on the new features, this post is a whereto post that guides to this article to experience the next version of Lync aka Skype for Business.

Features include,

  • New look and feel
  • Call via Work
  • Skype directory integration
  • Dual user experience
  • Call Monitor
  • Rate My Call
  • Quick access to call controls
  • Emoticons
  • Call via Work
  • Skype directory integration
  • Dual user experience

Office 2013 Updated Authentication !!!

Microsoft Office team planed to release an update to the Office 2013 Windows client applications that enables new authentication flows, including support for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). These new authentication flows are enabled by the Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL).

Scenarios for ADAL based authentication

This new sign in method enables many new sign in scenarios such as the following:

1. MFA for Office 2013 client applications

2. SAML based identity provider sign in

3. Smart card and certificate-based authentication

4. Outlook no longer requires basic authentication

Note: ADAL based authentication will be available to customers who are accepted into a private preview program, register yourself in the connect site as guided in the article. Additionally, review the scenarios that are not included.

Also review the FAQ section to know more.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Yammer resources to start your Microsoft Enterprise Social Learning!!!

Review the TechNet documentation with references links to find information and resources about Yammer for business decision makers, technical decision makers, and IT professionals.

The topics are categorized in to,

  • Explore Yammer
  • Plan for Yammer
  • Manage Yammer
  • Integrate Yammer with other Microsoft products
  • Get help with Yammer

Access the resources here : Yammer resources

Access the resources from Yammer Team here:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Office 365 Admin Center Video Tours

Office 365 admin center can be used to set up your organization in the cloud, add users, manage domains, licenses, and much more. Learn how to get to the admin center and learn about the available features and settings.

Microsoft team published the below Support article covering the above said topics as a video tour with guided walk-through for each of the Plans with Office 365.

Introducing Office 365 Small Business

Office 365 admin center for Business plans

Office 365 admin center for Enterprise plans

Office 365 admin center features and settings

Access the support article here: About the Office 365 admin center

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Azure ExpressRoute connectivity to Office 365

Microsoft team made a great announcement today, Office 365 customers will be able to use Azure ExpressRoute to establish a private, managed connection to Office 365. ExpressRoute is available today for access to Azure services, and is expected to be available for Office 365 in the third quarter of 2015.

Review the Official Announcement from the Office Blogs here: Announcing Azure ExpressRoute connectivity to Office 365

Hope this new service adds better experience with Office 365 in the upcoming days.

Update time for Exchange Servers !!!

Exchange team is announcing today the availability of Cumulative Update 8 for Exchange Server 2013, Update Rollup 9 for Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 and Update Rollup 16 for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 3 with time zone updates released since Update Rollup 15.

Review the respective Official EHLO Blog posts and the related Knowledge base articles for more details.


EHLO Blog post : Announcing Cumulative Update 8 for Exchange Server 2013

Download linkCumulative Update 8 for Exchange Server 2013 (KB3030080)

Knowledge baseCumulative Update 8 for Exchange Server 2013

Note: Customers in hybrid deployments where Exchange is deployed on-premises and in the cloud, or who are using Exchange Online Archiving (EOA) with their on-premises Exchange deployment are required to deploy the most current (e.g., CU8) or the prior (e.g., CU7) Cumulative Update release.

*Public Folder scalability Improvements added to CU8


EHLO Blog postAnnouncing Update Rollup 9 for Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3

Download linkUpdate Rollup 9 For Exchange 2010 SP3 (KB3030085)

Knowledge baseUpdate Rollup 9 for Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3

Note: Update Rollup 9 is available now on the Microsoft Download Center and will be distributed via Microsoft Update in April.

Exchange Server 2010 product is now officially in Extended Support. Microsoft plan to release one more scheduled Update Rollup for Exchange Server2010 after which it will move to on-demand releases.


EHLO Blog post : New Time Zone updates available for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 3

Download link : Update Rollup 16 for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 3 (KB3030086)

Knowledge base: Update Rollup 16 for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 3

Note: Update Rollup 16 is available now on the Microsoft Download Center and will be distributed via Microsoft Update in April.


As usual test these updates in your Lab environment before proceeding with the production. We can expect some more new updates and news on this topic. stay tuned...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Get ready to Experience Office Delve, Office 2016 & Skype for Business

Microsoft team made few significant announcements today during the Microsoft Convergence 2015. Among these, the most vital ones are the availability of Office 2016 IT Pro and Developer Preview, New Skype for Business client Technical preview and Rollout of Delve to all eligible Office 365 business customers worldwide.

Review the below Office Blog posts for more details and experience the new enhancements and provide your valuable feedback to Microsoft as always.

Office Delve—discover exactly what you need, when you need it

Get ready for Skype for Business

Announcing the Office 2016 IT Pro and Developer Preview

Stay tuned for more updates ....

Microsoft Convergence 2015 is On!!!

Microsoft Convergence 2015 (Atlanta March 16-19, 2015) , Microsoft's annual conference for its business customers has just begun and the Keynote session from CEO Satya Nadella and few more Microsoft key People was Live streamed during the event and now available on demand in the Official website.

During this event Microsoft showcased the future of their Technology, with few major announcements that is going to shape the new world of IT with real time demos.

Key announcements include,

Microsoft Azure IoT Suite
Windows 10 for Internet of Things
Power BI
IT Professional and Developer Preview of Office 2016
The Spring '15 release for Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Office Delve
Skype for Business

Review the below Official New Center article for more updates.

Microsoft empowers business transformation

Keynote Transcript is now available,

Review here : Executive Speeches

Access the Videos here on demand,

View here: Convergence Video Library

Stay tuned for more updates in the upcoming days...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Updated Office 365 Admin App now Available !!!

Microsoft team today made a significant announcement on the availability of Updated Office 365 Admin App, which is even more robust than the prior release with newly added features for better Office 365 Management.
More information with the real time video is available in the below Official Office Blogs post.

Administer on the go with the updated Office 365 Admin app

Note: As stated in the blog post, below is current Availability status of the App for various Mobile platforms.

  • For Windows Phone 8.1, download the app from the Windows Phone Store.
  • For Android 4.0+, download the app from Google Play.
  • Coming soon to iOS 8. Download the current version from the Apple App Store so that you will be first in line for the update.

*For those with the previous version of the Office 365 Admin app, your app should update automatically.


Microsoft team continued to make new enhancements to the Office 365 Admin app, by Jun 2016 the app has evolved and took a new design and efficient to manage the service.

Read here for more updates: Announcing a new version of the Office 365 admin app

What's New in Skype for Business Video Series Now Available

Skype for Business is on the way, Its time for us to know more on What's New? and What's waiting for us? in first place. To answer these questions Microsoft team released the Video Series in Channel9 covering various topics to keep you ready to Experience next version of Lync.

Videos Series Include the below Sessions,

  • Servicing the Existing Deployment and Upgrading to Skype for Business
  • Core server improvements and Voice improvements
  • New Meeting and Video Investments
  • Ensuring Media Quality in the Network
  • Opportunities with the Skype Developer Platform

Access the Video Series here :  What's New in Skype for Business Video Series


The above series is now Available through Microsoft Virtual Academy, also a new Session on Architecture and Design Considerations is included to the course content.

Access here:  What's New in Skype for Business

Microsoft to introduce Skype for Business Next week !!!

Believe every one is aware that Microsoft is re-branding the next version of Lync as Skype for Business.

Microsoft team officially announced to introduce Skype for Business on March 18 2015, replacing Lync.

Watch the Official announcement and Key Note invite from Zig Serafin, Corporate VP Skype Business Service Microsoft on Facebook page below,

Update!!! Skype for Business to be generally available in April  and much more exiting updates, review the new Office Blogs post below for more details.

Skype for Business is here—and this is only the beginning

Follow @SkypeBusiness on Twitter for more updates.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Exchange Help : Network ports for clients and mail flow in Exchange 2013

Microsoft team published the TechNet article to show the Network ports requirements for Clients and Mail flow in Exchange 2013 with clear details covering each of the contents specified below.

Network ports required for clients and services

Network ports required for mail flow (no Edge Transport servers)

Network ports required for mail flow with Edge Transport servers

Access the TechNet Article here : Network ports for clients and mail flow in Exchange 2013

Also references for Network ports required for  Exchange Hybrid deployment and Unified Messaging are provided at the end of the article.


Here comes the Official EHLO Blog post: Network Ports for Clients and Mail Flow in Exchange 2013

Monday, March 09, 2015

Activate your Free Azure Active Directory subscription!!!

Hope you are aware that customers enrolled for paid Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Enterprise Mobility Suite, or other Microsoft services, you have a free subscription to Azure Active Directory.

If you are having any one of the above paid subscription you can active Azure AD, Microsoft team published the below TechNet article with the clear walk through steps to enable this feature.

If you have a trial subscription for the above you are not entitled for free Azure AD subscription, but still you can register for Azure AD trial and get things moved on.

Also If you have a separate Office 365 and Azure subscription you can still manage the directory for your Office 365 subscription from Azure by following the instructions in the below MSDN Article.

Access here: Manage the directory for your Office 365 subscription in Azure

Lync Online is becoming Skype for Business!!!

As everyone is aware about the new upcoming change for Lync, Next version of Lync is getting re-branded as "Skype for Business". I did a write up during the Official Announcement time here, In addition to this change Lync Online is also becoming Skype for Business Online and joins the Skype family.

Microsoft team made this significant announcement in the Office 365 Message Center and also released the TechNet documentation with more details.

Message Center Update:

TechNet Documentation: Lync Online is becoming Skype for Business

Hope we get more updates on this topic soon, stay tuned for further updates...

Friday, March 06, 2015

Azure Active Directory Editions

Azure Active Directory is available in various editions. Its always good to know what is available in each edition and compare them with one another and choose the appropriate one for our requirement.

I found this great documentation recently, which answers What is Azure Active Directory?  in a nutshell, thought of updating here for readers.

Access the MSDN article here to know and compare each edtions:  Azure Active Directory Editions

Office Mechanics: Understanding network connectivity to optimize your performance with Office 365

I am writing this post a bit late, Microsoft Office Mechanics Series has launched a new video session on Understanding network connectivity to optimize your performance with Office 365 in their YouTube channel.

This is a must watch to know how Office 365 Network connectivity works, Tools that you can use to plan and manage Office 365 on the Network Connectivity perspective and much more.

Why delay? Watch here now :  Understanding network connectivity to optimize your performance with Office 365

Access the Tools using the references provided in this Office blog post : Understanding network connectivity to optimize your performance with Office 365

Thursday, March 05, 2015

MVA Learning : Identity and Access Management

New Identity and Access Management course for moving your Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) workload to Microsoft Azure is now available on Microsoft Virtual Academy.

Below are the Modules covered in this course

Access the course here: Identity and Access Management

Spend some time to complete this course to enhance your Identity and Access Management skills and add this to your MVA Learning path.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Azure Active Directory Solutions Architecture Whitepaper Now Available !!!

Microsoft team released a recent Whitepaper on Azure AD Solutions Architecture, This document describes the Azure Active Directory Identity and Access management solutions offered to customers of Azure, Office 365, Intune, Microsoft CRM and all Microsoft Online services. It also describes the solutions that integrate on-premises Active Directory services and Azure Active Directory.

Download here: Azure Active Directory Solutions Architecture Whitepaper

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Hybrid deployments with Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2010

Organizations using Exchange Server 2010 are now slowly migrating to Exchange Server 2013 and Hybrid deployments are not an exception for this, As per Microsoft recommendation for Hybrid its best to upgrade the existing Hybrid environment with Exchange 2013 Servers for better experience and supportability.

When you review the Hybrid Deployment prerequisites TechNet document above said statement is clearly defined, as a best practice its always good to be in the current Technology and achieving this is not a easy task and proper guideline is the one that can take us to achieve this goal with proper knowledge and planning.

I wrote this post today as a initial blog post in the future series I am planning to write on Exchange Hybrid deployments and referring you today to the  TechNet Documentation for Hybrid deployments with Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2010

Below are the key topic covered in the TechNet documentation,

Reviewing this in first place is the first step before your proceed with new or upgrading the existing Hybrid deployments with Exchange Online.

Stay tuned for my next posts in the series....

Long Awaited Shared Mailbox Sent Items Configuration comes to Exchange 2013 !

Microsoft team today made an significant announcement on Exchange Shared mailbox sent items configuration with Exchange Server 2013, unlike Exchange 2010 configuring the Shared Mailbox to keep a copy of E-mails sent from the shared mailbox either via SendAs or SendOnBehalfOf access in the sent items of the same shared mailbox was not available with 2013. As per the official announcement this feature is now made possible with the next CU9 release for Exchange Server 2013 and also applies with Office 365 once the build gets updated in Exchange Online.

Review the EHLO Blog post for more details : Want more control over Sent Items when using shared mailboxes?


Ability to control the behaviour of Sent Items for shared mailboxes when users either send as or on behalf of shared mailboxes was made available for while now as discussed above , and now Microsoft Exchange team made a significant announcement that currently this feature is rolling out for User mailboxes in Exchange Online and later with Exchange 2016 CU6.

Access the Official Blog post here: Sent Items behavior control comes to Exchange Online user mailboxes

Monday, March 02, 2015

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) hits Open License and Reseller Community!

Microsoft team made an significant announcement recently for EMS, Starting Monday, March 2nd, the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite , aka EMS, will be available for sale through distribution via Microsoft’s Open License Program.

Access Official Announcement here: It’s Official: Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) hits Open License and Reseller Community Monday!

As we all can see, EMS is a bundle of above products as shown, Organizations can prefer to use EMS to save cost as well utilize the benefits of all the three products.

If you are an Organization looking for the complete package then, you have The Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS), now available as part of the Enterprise Enrollment, brings together Office 365 E3, Enterprise Mobility Suite, and Windows Software Assurance per User.

Access here for More information : Enterprise Agreement


Azure AD and Enterprise Mobility Suite now available without an Enterprise Agreement

New Update: 

Announcing Enterprise Cloud Suite and Multi-year durations on MPSA

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Office 365 for IT Pros Session !!!

I recently delivered a session on Office 365 for IT Pros this Saturday during the Chennai Microsoft User Group (CMUG) event.

It was a great experience for me to deliver this session for the first time in the user group meet-up. I made this session pretty small but, bundled with rich information covered under each slide that can  provide you an insight on what you are about to see and guide you to know more by pointing you to the corresponding references one after the other, Finally this presentation deck will make you understand what Office 365 is all about and transform your knowledge from novice to expert.

You can access my presentation deck from Slideshare here: CMUG - Office 365 for IT Pros 

Along with my session, other great presentations were made during the event, I will cover them soon here. stay tuned...

Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 Products and Editions Comparison

Download this comparison document to know the differences among the various Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 products and editions, including information about locks and limits and supported server roles and features.

Download here: Windows Server 2012 R2 Products and Editions Comparison

Download here: Window Server 2012 Products and Editions Comparison

Azure Active Directory Core Skills Jump Start

Its time to book your calendar for Azure Active Directory Core Skills Jump Start MVA Course this month to know more on Azure AD.

Register here: Azure Active Directory Core Skills Jump Start