Thursday, August 27, 2015

Azure AD Connect: Version Release History

As everyone know that the new Azure AD Connect a.k.a AAD Connect tool will be used to Synchronize On premises object with Azure AD and it replaces the existing  AADSync and DirSync Tools. Azure AD Connect incorporates the components and functionality previously released as Dirsync and AAD Sync. At some point in the future, support for Dirsync and AAD Sync will end.

Microsoft team is updating the AAD Connect Tool with new features and bug fixes. Its good to know what is the new version released and what's available for us.

Review the below Version Release History to know more.

Azure AD Connect: Version Release History

Additionally, review the Version Release History of Dirsync and AAD Sync Tools.

Azure Active Directory Sync Version Release History

DirSync: Directory Sync Tool Version Release History

As above said, at some point in future support for these tools will come to end and if you use any one of them in your environment, then its the best time to evaluate the new AAD Connect Tool and start your upgrade Roadmap soon.

New Home for Office Hybrid!!!

Microsoft team has launched a new dedicated website for Office Hybrid, A new home we could say, that contains everything pertaining to Hybrid deployments from Resources, Documentation, Customer stories, Tools and samples etc.

Most prominent way to adopt cloud is Hybrid deployment, which gives you ability to move your selected workloads to cloud and experience the new innovations on the move without compromising on your On premises dependency and manage both the environment seamlessly.

Being a Hybrid guy, I have seen how Microsoft team transformed the Hybrid deployment Model from the early days to till date, and reduced maximum number of complexities involved and simplified the steps required to move the Hybrid world with Office 365.

Access the website here:

Let's wait for the Official announcement from Microsoft team with more updates in the upcoming days...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview and Cloud Hybrid search Now Available

Microsoft team yesterday released SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview and Cloud Hybrid search.

More information is available with references in the below Official Office blogs post.

Announcing availability of SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview and cloud hybrid search

As usual deploy the new version in your Lab environment to experience the new innovations and share your findings to the community and stay tuned for more updates...


Microsoft team announced the availability of SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 on November 18, 2015 with rich set of new enhancements built on SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview.

Access the Official announcement here: Announcing SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 and Project Server 2016 Beta 2

Monday, August 24, 2015

Skype for Business Virtual Labs Now Available !!!

Microsoft team recently added new Skype for Business Virtual Labs to TechNet Virtual Labs repository, these Labs are new and listed under HOT Labs and a great add-on for experiencing next version of Lync a.k.a Skype for Business.

Labs include the below topics,

  • Using the Skype for Business Client
  • Deploying SQL 2014 Cluster with AlwaysOn and Deploying Microsoft Skype for Business 
  • In-place Upgrade for Skype for Business 
  • Configuring Server Side Conversation History for Skype for Business 
  • Configuring a Skype for Business Server Hybrid Environment and Configuring Federation with Office 365 
  • Configuring the Media Quality Dashboard for Skype for Business 
  • Troubleshooting Skype for Business (CLS)

Access the labs here: TechNet Virtual Labs - Skype for Business 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Office Mechanics: Beyond MDM—how to protect your data with BYOD and SaaS implemented

In this Office Mechanics show Microsoft team demonstrate how built-in Mobile Device Management (MDM) in Office 365 allows you to set up conditional access to data by a specific device. We also show the resulting user experience. New MDM capabilities were introduced almost a year ago on this Office Mechanics show and are available in Office 365 now, and they get even better when you add Microsoft Intune.

View the Session here:  Beyond MDM—how to protect your data with BYOD and SaaS implemented

Access the related Office blogs post here: Beyond MDM—how to protect your data with BYOD and SaaS implemented


Wanted to know more on Conditional Access with Microsoft Intune read the below TechNet article

Manage access to email and SharePoint with Microsoft Intune


One more excellent Blog post below

Conditional Access for Exchange Online using Microsoft Intune


Before you can enroll mobile devices with Intune, you must declare Intune as your mobile device management authority. A mobile device management authority defines the single management service with permission to manage a set of devices. Solutions for the mobile device management authority include Intune, Configuration Manager with Intune, or Office 365 MDM solutions.

More information is available in the below TechNet article

Set mobile device management authority as Microsoft Intune


Once you set the Mobile Management device authority it cannot be changed and if you already enabled MDM for Office 365 then you need to Contact Microsoft support to reset this to set Intune as the new Mobile Device Management Authority and the same applies to Configuration Manager with Intune.

As a result of this switch you need to remove all the devices from the current MDM authority and post the reset you need to re-enroll them, which is quite painful.

MVA Learning : Virtualizing & Managing Exchange with Microsoft Cloud Platform

Get ready for one more new course from Microsoft Virtual Academy " Virtualizing & Managing Exchange with Microsoft Cloud Platform" presented by Matt McSpirit Microsoft Senior Technical Product Manager

This course focuses on how you can transform your infrastructure, going from managing server by server to data center scale and to deliver on-demand scale and real-time performance.

Below are the topics discussed,

  • ​The Cloud OS & Scalability and Performance Reports
  • Storage & Networking
  • Flexibility & Resiliency
  • Support on Hyper-V & Comprehensive Management
  • Delivering Exchange as a Service & Summary
  • Additional Resources & Next Steps

Friday, August 14, 2015

MVA Learning: Getting Started with Windows 10 for IT Professionals

Microsoft team recently launched Windows 10 globally, At every second in any one corner of the world an upgrade is going on, this is the power of the new Technology and now people tend to explore the new innovations at rapid rate.

As long the adoption of a new product is concerned in an Enterprise its quite different than the Consumers, which involves lot of evaluation and exploration on the new build before we can keep hands on the environment and prepare it for the change.

As an IT Pro we need more insight on the product and get to know what's available on this new version that can benefit my Organization? and to answer this Microsoft team launched the new Microsoft Virtual Academy course "Getting Started with Windows 10 for IT Professionals" covering various benefits and features of the new version and gives you adequate information on what 's available for your Organization and improve the adoption.

Below are topics covered in the course

01 | What's New in Windows 10 deployment
02 | What's New in Windows 10 Management and the Windows Store
03 | Runtime Provisioning in Windows 10 
04 | Windows 10 Mobile Device Management MDM 
05 | Protecting Your Data with Containers Without Boxing Yourself In 
06 | A New Era of Threat Resistance for the Windows 10 Platform 
07 | Secure Authentication with Windows Hello 
08 | Windows as a Service: What does it mean for your business? 

You can expand the complete course information for more details and know what's covered under each topic.

Access the course here: Getting Started with Windows 10 for IT Professionals

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Managing Changes in the world of Office 365 !!!

Change is evergreen in the world of "Microsoft Technology" and today's blog post is written in reference to the latest Office Mechanics video series on "Managing Office 365 updates", that clearly shows how Microsoft team is working in bringing new changes and updates to Office 365 customers, which involves lot of internal testing and evaluation and explains it each stages before it gets rolled out to general audience.

I was quite amazed here that so far 450 updates has been released to Office 365 customers and still we are yet to see more in the future days as Microsoft team keeps updating their Roadmap.

As showcased in the below picture, Microsoft team is going through various Rings of Validation  for Changes, before it gets pushed to the customers and its quite appreciable that entire Microsoft Organization goes through the ring phase before it enters the customers who opted for First release program and then to the standard crowd.

Access the Office Mechanics Video here: How changes are rolled out to Office 365 and what you can do to prepare

Related Office Blogs post here: Managing Office 365 updates

Want to know more, Watch the on-demand MS-Ignite session below

Watch here: Managing Change in an Office 365 Rapid Release World

As stated in today's Office Mechanics and MS-Ignite session, Keep an eye on Office 365 Roadmap, Message Center, Admin App and to know what's coming a head and get prepared because, change is inevitable and it always brings some thing new, that's all we need in today's rapid world and hope you all agree with me here... Cheers :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

MVA Learning: What's New in Windows Server 2016 Preview Jump Start

Windows Server VNext preview is released and its now time for us to get ready to experience the new enhancements and to get started register yourself for the new Microsoft Virtual Academy Jump start course "What's New in Windows Server 2016 Preview Jump Start" this week.

Register here: What's New in Windows Server 2016 Preview Jump Start

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hybrid deployment best practices documentation now Available!!!

Exchange Hybrid deployments are now preferred by many Organizations to extend their environment to Cloud, Hybrid deployment is less preferred during the initial stages when it was introduced with Exchange Server 2010 SP1 where more manual configuration was required, when Microsoft introduced Hybrid Configuration wizard with Exchange 2010 SP2 many of the manual configuration steps were automated and later it took another new shape with Exchange Server 2013 with added functionalities and with the next version, Exchange Server 2016 now you have the Stand-alone wizard now runs from  from

A quick preview on the transformation showcased during the Ignite event,

Watch the Session here: Exchange Hybrid: Make Office 365 Work for You

Deploying Hybrid deployment is always challenging and to give you some guidance Microsoft published an excellent write-up, this was pending from them for a long time and now it goes live.

You can read today's EHLO blog post below to know more

Read here: Hybrid deployment best practices

MVA Learning: Preparing Your Enterprise for Windows 10 as a Service

Get ready to attend the upcoming Microsoft Virtual Academy fast-paced live virtual session on Preparing Your Enterprise for Windows 10 as a Service, presented by our renowned Mobility expert Simon May MSFT.

Register here: Preparing Your Enterprise for Windows 10 as a Service

Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Version Comparison

In today's world of network connected devices, Information Security plays a major role for every Organization to ensure that their corporate data is accessed by legitimate users via legitimate resources. To add bit complexity to the term " Legitimate Resources" we now have users using their own devices to access the corporate data  which we term as "BYOD" and it adds more management overheads to the Organization who allow this policy and with the help of strong MDM solutions we can achieve so good level of managing these devices access by enforcing policies that address our security needs.

Multi-Factor authentication puts one more layer of security to the user access on any device they use to access the corporate data and ensures that only a legitimate user who has the key to unlock the second enforced authentication lock can gain access to the data.

Azure Multi-Factor authentication is renowned for providing the above said features and beyond and a widely adapted service by most of the Organizations worldwide, Azure Multi-Factor authentication comes in various versions and knowing them to adapt the best one suit for our needs becomes mandate and this post is providing you with this comparison table.

To know more on the topic review the below documentation.

How Azure Multi-Factor Authentication works

Friday, August 07, 2015

Windows 10 and MDM

As everyone is experiencing the new Windows 10, I am writing this post today to share some good resources available in the community, that can provide you some insight on the new features of Windows 10 that benefits Organizations to manage these devices using automated MDM enrollment and advanced Mobility management.

Windows 10 devices comes with out-of-box experience (OOBE) to connect to Azure AD and below AD Team blog post shows this in detail

You can review the below blogs post to know how the enrollment of personally owned devices get registered with Azure AD

Finally, some advanced deep dive stuff that states how you can utilize Windows 10 and Azure AD with the power of Windows Intune for advanced Management options using Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) and Built-in mobile device management for Office 365.

Azure AD, Microsoft Intune and Windows 10 – Using the cloud to modernize enterprise mobility!

To know things in a nutshell read the below post

Windows 10 and Azure Active Directory: Embracing the Cloud


Here comes the step by step walk-through post explains how to turn on auto-MDM enrollment with Azure Active Directory (AD) and Microsoft Intune.

Windows 10, Azure AD and Microsoft Intune: Automatic MDM enrollment powered by the cloud!

An additional excellent write-up on the topic below,

Configure automatic Microsoft Intune enrollment of Windows 10 devices when joining Azure Active Directory

You can take a look at the recent Office Mechanics video: Windows 10 updates for Office 365 admins for a quick demo 

An Advanced Topic to read below

Read here: Azure Active Directory integration with MDM 

One more to read  here: Azure Active Directory Device Registration Overview


Take your Learning to the next step by watching this on demand MS Ignite session.

Access here: Windows 10 for Mobile Devices: Get and Stay in Control of Your Mobile Fleet

One more Ignite session for your learning as an Add-on.

Access here: Device and Data Protection with Mobile Device Management in Office 365

To know more on MDM in  Office 365 review my earlier blog post below and the provided references in the post.

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

Will continue to update this post with some good resources and some new information as and when I come across. stay tuned...


Now devices running Windows 10 Mobile can join Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) when the device is configured during the out-of-box experience (OOBE).

Access here: Join Windows 10 Mobile to Azure Active Directory

Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 Reaches GA!!!

Microsoft Next gen Identity Manager reached GA this week with advanced set of features as promised and we can expect more innovations on the Hybrid and Security side as stated in the Official announcement, We can expect more updates in the future weeks.

Access the AD Team blog announcement here: Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 is now GA!

Review the Redmond Magazine post as an add-on : Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 Now Generally Available

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Microsoft Edge Browser issues with Office 365

Microsoft Edge Browser is the next version of browser that comes along with Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 365 team had made necessary changes on their service end to support this new browser version and updated the Office 365 System requirements page.

Office 365 Message Center is updated to reflect the above said information for all the tenants. Though one part of the world is experiencing the new features came along with Windows 10, including the new browser experience, there are few issues reported too.

Microsoft Edge browser though support Office 365 access there a certain known set of issues that makes this less favorable to chose and rely on the earlier version of IE for most of the common tasks.

Below Knowledge base article was published to show case the issues that you might encounter when you use the new Edge browser with Office 365.

Hopefully, Microsoft product team will address this issues in the future days to get things moved on. As we all know, nothing comes perfect the first day and gets better overtime. Lets stay tuned...

Outlook on the web is now here!!!

"Innovations are always ahead in the game" in terms of Microsoft, to support this, our well known OWA (Outlook Web Access) is renamed, rather I would say reborn with set of additional features as "Outlook on the web".

As the technology advancements are made at one side in the world of Microsoft, simultaneously the name changes Windows Azure became Microsoft Azure, then Sky Drive to One Drive, recently Lync to Skype for Business and the subsequent Online versions got their new names etc.

Office 365 is the first place where you will get the new features, If you have enabled first release program for your tenant, then you would get this new experience in first place as the name implies on the fly. 

Outlook on the web comes with lot of new features as stated in the Official blog post and the experience will get better over time. As we all know that with Office 365, Outlook Web Access is the prominent or recommended client to access the service and to emphasize this we can see more new enhancements made to the UI and other key areas that makes this stand ahead the traditional Desktop client at various instances.

This naming convention will be the same when you deploy Exchange Server VNext i.e. Exchange Server 2016 as explained in the EHLO blog post.

Review the Official blog post here: New features coming to Outlook on the web

Monday, August 03, 2015

Learn Office 365 integration with on-premises environments

Today I was working on a presentation for Office 365 deployment and came across an excellent resource from Microsoft that provides you insight on how to Integrate your On premises Environment with Office 365, in terms of both Identity management and Hybrid model through which you can connect your On premises environment with Office 365 and have a seamless management experience and enjoy the innovations of the Cloud and enhance your business and end user experience.

Thought of writing this whereto post to share this with you today,

This Article provides references and covers various Integration options available as of today to connect your existing On premises environment with Office 365 and also covers Hybrid deployment options available to Exchange, Lync ( Skype for Business) and SharePoint Online.

Access the Complete Article here: Office 365 integration with on-premises environments 

As an add-on read review one More great article that provides reference on the various Migration Options available to migrate your E-Mail environment to Exchange Online.

Review here: Ways to migrate multiple email accounts to Office 365