Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ExpressRoute for Office 365 goes GA!!!

Finally the most awaited Azure Express Route for Office 365 reaches General Availability today, Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 enables organizations to establish a private, managed network connection to Office 365 as an alternative to connecting over the Internet.

Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 is now generally available from these network operators:

British Telecom
Tata Communications
TeleCity Group

More information is available on the Official Blog post and the Office Mechanics video on the topic

Announcing general availability of ExpressRoute for Office 365

Be sure the read the FAQs for more information.

*Microsoft is expanding their Azure Data centers now to many regions across the world and we could see more Organizations start to adopt Office 365, Azure Express route will add one more benefit for these Organizations in providing highly available Service to the end users with better performance.


Access the AzureCon On demand Sessions on Azure ExpressRoute from Channel 9

Using ExpressRoute with Office 365

ExpressRoute for experts

Also access the below excellent Blog posts to know more on Azure Express Route.

What is Azure ExpressRoute? and How do I get Started?

ExpressRoute common customer questions answered

Stay tuned for more updates...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Azure Now Available in India Regions!!!

Microsoft Azure Con 2015 has begun and lot of new stuff for Azure is announced and one of the key update is regarding the availability of new Azure Data Centers in India, These regions include Central India (Pune), South India (Chennai), and West India (Mumbai). This marks the beginning of Microsoft cloud service availability from local datacenters in India.

More information is available in here: Azure available in India regions

Take a quick preview regarding the announcements here: Building the Intelligent Cloud: Announcing New Azure Innovations to Transform Business

Access the Official website to view the live streaming of the event: Microsoft Azure Con 2015


AzureCon 2015 videos now available on demand in Channel 9

Access here: AzureCon 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Office 2016 is now here!!!

Most awaited Office vNext a.k.a Office 2016 is released publicly today to the world as announced by Microsoft recently. Office 2016 comes with various set of rich features and enhancements that makes the adoption favorable.

Some great features like real-time co-authoring, Inclusion of Skype for Business client, Office 365 Groups and new Office 365 planner are available and also support for Modern,Cloud-based attachment from one drive for recipients along with other great features adds significance for this release.

Also this version of Office works well with Windows 10 and takes you experience to next level with rich set of features as explained in the Office Blogs post.

For enterprise customers along with the above said features, Office 2016 has built-in Data Loss prevention (DLP) and supports Multi-factor authentication, IRM for Visio and also New Enterprise Data Protection (EDP) is coming soon to Office in early 2016

Along with this Office 2016 for Mac will also be available as a one-time purchase.

Review the Official announcement post below with more updates

The new Office is here

Review the get started section to know how to prepare yourself to obtain the new Office

How do I update Office to Office 2016 using Office 365 for business?

How do I upgrade to Office 2016 if I have an Office 365 subscription?

Microsoft team has just released The Office 2016 Deployment Tool that allows the administrator to customize and manage Office 2016 Click-to-Run deployment.

Download here: Office 2016 Deployment Tool

To know when you will get the Office 2016 review the below Windows IT Pro blog

When will I get Office 2016 under my Office 365 subscription? -WindowsITPro

*Be sure to read the Office 2016 Problems and Solutions and Frequently Asked Questions from Office 365 Community forums.

Office 2016 Problems and Solutions and Frequently Asked Questions

*Need help with the new Office 2016, read the below post.

Need Help with Office 2016?

Before you adopt Office 2016 review few key Blog post and articles available on the topic in the community.

Office 2016 - great for Office 365 but not so good for on-premises customers - Tony Redmond's Exchange Unwashed blog

Office 365 – Using Office ProPlus? Take Caution Upgrading To 2016 - Joe Palarchio (Perficient)

Few key updates:

Info path is not available with Office 2016, if you still want to use Info path review the below WindowsITPro post

Reminder - InfoPath is not included with Office 2016

one more new issue update below

Skype for Business is removed when you upgrade to Office 2016 

If you decided not to upgrade to Office 2016 and stay with Office Proplus review the below Microsoft Knowledge Base article suggests the steps to prevent Office 2016 upgrade.

How do I stay on Office ProPlus 2013

you can review the below references to more about this release.

Great article from Redmond Magazine that covers everything in a nutshell

Office 2016 Comes With Some Install Caveats

The Launch of Office 2016: The Most Secure Office EVER - In the Cloud Blog

Office 2016: Reinventing productivity and business processes - Satya Nadella - Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft

Office 2016 Is Microsoft’s Best Hope to Show It’s Changed -

What's new (and still to come) in Microsoft's Office 2016 for Windows - ZDNet

One key update from the above ZDNet post

MSDN subscribers will have access to both Office 2016 for Mac and Windows today, starting at about 9 am PT/noon ET. Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) availability for Office 2016 for Windows will be October 1. (VLSC customers got Office 2016 for Mac in August.)

Adoption and Training

Next step, Once a new product is released is the Training for end users and below is the new Office Training Center for Office 2016

Access here: Office Training Center

Along with Office 2016 for IT Admins Demo videos from Office Mechanics

Office Mechanics: Office 2016 for IT Admins 

*Download handy Quick Start Guides from Microsoft to play around with Office 2016

Download our free Office 2016 Quick Start Guides

Take a quick preview of the new experience from Microsoft Office Pressroom Image Gallery

Microsoft Office Pressroom: Image Gallery

I have curated few vital resources on the topic currently available in the community and more to follow soon... stay tuned...


Hope everyone already started to explore the new Office, be sure to read the references above before you start deploying new Office to your end users.

To know more about the new Office and get your queries answered, Join the upcoming Office 2016 YamJam on the Office 365 Network tomorrow September 24th from 9-10 am PT

Join here:  Office 2016 YamJam


Microsoft team Answers to few Top Questions on Office 2016

Your top questions about Office 2016 answered

Monday, September 21, 2015

Quarterly Exchange Updates - September 2015

I am writing this post a bit late, Microsoft Exchange team released the Quarterly update for Exchange Server 2013 (Cumulative Update 10 ) and Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 Update Roll-up 11.

If you are in Hybrid model, ensure that you apply the n / n-1 update to your On premises environment to stay inline with Microsoft support model for Hybrid.

Most vital part is the Importance of this update as a pre-requisite for co-existence with the upcoming Exchange Server 2016 as stated below,

The updates released today are important pre-requisites for customers with existing Exchange deployments who will deploy Exchange Server 2016. Cumulative Update 10 is the minimum version of Exchange Server 2013 which will co-exist with Exchange Server 2016. Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 Update Rollup 11, is the minimum version of Exchange Server 2010 which will be supported in a coexistence deployment with Exchange Server 2016. No earlier versions of Exchange will be supported co-existing with Exchange Server 2016. Exchange Server 2016 is anticipated to be released later this year. Customers who plan to deploy this new release of Exchange into their environment should be aware of these important prerequisites.

Access the EHLO Blog post to know more: Released: September 2015 Quarterly Exchange Updates

Friday, September 18, 2015

Azure AD B2C and B2B are now in Public Preview

Microsoft team announced the public preview of most awaited Our new Azure AD B2C and Azure AD B2B Collaboration services.

Azure AD B2C is a new service built on the Azure AD platform that helps you stay connected with your consumers. It is an enterprise grade, multi-tenant cloud service that supports authentication with top consumer identity services like Facebook and Google (and soon Microsoft Account).

Azure AD B2B Collaboration is a new set of capabilities in Azure AD that enable secure collaborate between business-to-business partners.

To know more review the Official announcement in the AD Team blog,

Introducing the new Office 365 Admin Center Preview

Office 365 gets the new Admin center soon, Organizations migrated to Office 365 rely on the Admin center for day to day tasks.Microsoft team continued to make more enhancements to this area for quite sometime and now it went one step ahead and a new Office 365 Admin Center is born with many enhancements and now available for first release customers in preview.

More information with a quick preview is available in the below Official Blog post:

The new Office 365 Admin Center Preview

Review the FAQ section and share your feedback for future enhancements before the Admin Center gets GA.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Topologies for Azure AD Connect

Once your Organization decided to Integrate your on-premises identities with Azure Active Directory, AAD Connect Tool is the guy, understanding how AAD connect works gives you an idea about the robustness of the Tool.

Installing AAD Connect is a straight forward process and its explained clearly in the below Article, along with other key updates over the Tool.

Once you get to know the Tool, the next step is to understand the different topology that AAD Connect supports and the ones that are not supported, to give you clear picture, Microsoft team recently published the below article on Azure AD Connect Topologies.

Key topics discussed on this article includes,

Single forest, single Azure AD directory
Multiple forests, single Azure AD directory
Office 365 and topology considerations
Staging server
Multiple Azure AD directories

Add-on Read:

As an add-on read review the below excellent article on how objects synced from On premise AD will reflect in Azure AD, Office 365 and Microsoft Intune along with some deep dive interesting stuff that's worth reading.

Access here : Managing Hybrid Identities Across Portals

Also refer this blog post to know the Advanced AAD Connect Permissions Configuration

Stay tuned for more updates...

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Mobile Device Management Design Considerations Guide

Mobile Device Management plays a major role in today's IT World, powered by mobile devices that stay connected from anywhere at anytime. Organization that allow mobile users to access their  Corporate data tend to manage these devices through any one of the MDM solution available in the Market. Microsoft plays a major role in this MDM world and innovations to this key area is robust and a likely adopted product by most of the Organizations.Once you decide to adopt Microsoft MDM solution or wanted to explore it, then this below TechNet guide is the best place to begin.

This post is written today to introduce you to the design consideration guide for Microsoft MDM technologies.

Access the TechNet Guide here: Mobile Device Management Design Considerations Guide

You can download the v2 guide from TechNet gallery here:Mobile Device Management Design Considerations Guide v2

Review this guide before you decide the best MDM design for your environment.

Office 365 Client Performance Analyzer

Office 365 Client Performance Analyzer (OCPA) tool can be used to identify issues that affect network performance between your company’s client PCs and Office 365.

This is a quite handy tool that can be used as a first step to analyze performance issues with your client when connecting to Office 365 Service.

Access the below Article to know more and download the tool.

Office 365 Client Performance Analyzer

Experience the Tool and provide your feedback to Microsoft.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Optimizing network performance for Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft IT has continued to evolve industry-leading performance and migration approaches, and they have adopted cloud infrastructure services such as Azure ExpressRoute to promote a successful transition to Office 365.

Download the Technical Case Study here: Optimizing network performance for Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard is here!!!

Microsoft team continue to more innovations to Exchange Hybrid deployment which is referenced here, yesterday Microsoft team published the EHLO blog post to provide us with the insight of the next version of Hybrid deployment wizard "Microsoft Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard".

Review the EHLO Blog post to know more.

Introducing the Microsoft Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard

Microsoft Cloud Roadshow is on the way!!!

The Microsoft Cloud Roadshow is a free, two-day technical training event for IT Professionals and Developers that provides best practices and insight directly from the experts who build and run the cloud services across Office 365, Microsoft Azure and Windows 10.

This event is happening on selected cities around the world, why to wait register yourself and save your seats.

Register here: Microsoft Cloud Roadshow

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Time to Manage your Unmanaged Mailboxes!!!

Recently I came across on interesting issue that made me write this post, In a large Organization with "n" number of mailboxes its tough to identify Mailboxes that are going to get affected by an unexpected issue before hand and if the mailbox is not monitored by someone "unmanaged" the situation becomes even tough as the warnings that are sent by the Exchange Server are ignored, Appropriate action will not be taken on time and the issue becomes inevitable.

Let's get in to our issue, In my environment one of the Mailbox that was designated for a particular application related task started to trigger NDR for end users who send E-mail to the mailbox and all the settings on the mailbox is appropriate, it had enough free Mailbox storage available to accommodate the E-mails but all the E-mails messages sent are un-deliverable.

Below is the Vital Message on the  NDR

The recipient's email system isn't accepting messages now. Please try resending your message later or contact the recipient directly.

Remote Server returned '554 4.3.2 mailbox busy; STOREDRV.Deliver.Exception:StoragePermanentException.MapiExceptionMaxObjsExceeded; Failed to process message due to a permanent exception with message Cannot complete delivery-time processing

Upon investigation we came to know that the Mailbox Folder where these E-mails are landing i.e, Inbox in my case it has exceeded the Maximum number of messages per mailbox folder which is 1 Million Messages per Exchange Online Limits description.

Ran the below Shell to check the Item count

Get-MailboxFolderStatistics TestMailbox | select Name, Folder*,  Items* | fl

Once we narrow down the issue we moved the old E-mails from the mailbox, post this the Mailbox started to receive E-mails are normal. We actively assigned a Owner for the mailbox to Monitor it as a next step.

*There may be more Mailboxes similar to the above one and Assigning a owner to Monitor each of them is not feasible and we may jump and take care as an when required, Want to avoid this, Read further...

This issue was a brainstorming one, that triggered us to generate the report for all the mailboxes are having Larger Item Count and validate the Top ones and analyze whether any Folder contains items that are nearing the Threshold and advice the end users to move the E-mails to other folders or archive them as needed.

You can utilize my Exchange Online Mailbox Usage Report Script to get the Item count and take action as stated above, You can tweak the script to include more results as needed. Though this task is quite painful, its a good move on our part as Admins to avoid upcoming issues proactively.

*There may be other Scenarios similar to this might arise and its always good to review the Exchange Online Limits and perform Periodic Audits inside the environment to ensure that your end user experience is not impacted and you get your environment inline with Microsoft best practices.

As the Blog title says "Always Manage your Unmanaged Mailboxes" and the Time is now!!!

Reinvent Productivity webcast series is Near!!!

Microsoft team is launching a virtual event series live from a Microsoft Technology Center to learn how to empower your employees and organization with tools from Office 365.

Below is the Agenda Highlights

Thursday, September 3rd 10AM PST
Reinvent Productivity: Bring Your Office to the Cloud

Thursday, September 10th 10AM PST
Modern Document Management

Thursday, September 17th 10AM PST
Maximize Sales Productivity: Office & Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Thursday, September 24th 10AM PST
Empower Your Mobile Workforce: Office & Windows 10

Register and reserve your space here: Reinvent Productivity webcast series

Intune and EMS subscriptions now available in the Office 365 portal

Microsoft team recently made new enhancement to Office 365 by merging the Microsoft Intune account portal with the Office 365 management portal. Microsoft is retiring the Intune portal on or after September 28, 2015 and also EMS customers can now use Office 365 portal for assigning licenses and continue manage other features in Azure Portal. Also there is no changes to the Azure portal or the Intune admin console as part of this migration.

More information is available in the below Official announcement,

Intune and EMS subscriptions now available in the Office 365 portal!

Review the FAQs for more information.


Intune Service Health is now available in the Office 365 portal

Microsoft AzureCon 2015

Microsoft AzureCon 2015 comes this September 29, A free one-day virtual event. Hear from the experts about the latest Azure innovation and easy-to-adopt solutions.

Access the Office page and begin your registration to experience the power of Azure straight from the experts.

Register here: AzureCon 2015

Matter Center for Office 365

Microsoft team recently launched new Matter Center for Office 365, new home to improve collaboration for legal professionals powered by Office 365.

More information is available in the below references,

We’re making our in-house legal software—Matter Center for Office 365—available broadly

Boosting Productivity for Legal Professionals