Vol. 23, #8 - April 1, 2013 - Issue #923
Getting Started with Office 365
- Editor's Corner
- From the Mailbag
- Getting Started with Office 365
- Tip of the Week
- Recommended for Learning
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Events Calendar
- Webcast Calendar
- On-Demand Webinar: The Hidden Costs of Email Management
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- Thinking of moving to Office 365? Read these first!
- Implementing Office 365
- Innovative ways of using Office 365
- Windows Server News
- You're charging me for what?! Deconstructing your AWS cloud bill
- Why deploying VDI isn't just a stepping stone on the way to Web apps
- Virtualization storage innovations challenge market leaders
- Backup is easy with VMware VDP, but scalability limits the free tool
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- This Week's Links We Like. Fun Stuff.
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Simple and secure virtual desktop and application delivery
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTERso you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER to a colleague who you think might find it useful!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week's newsletter is all about getting started with Office 365 with a guest editorial by Kelsey Epps. It's always hard getting started with something new and Kelsey helps smooth the way by digging into the steps involved in setting up a business plan version of Office 365.
Of course, it's even harder getting started when you're tasked with a leftover project that somebody else failed to finish:
From the Mailbag
I received a ton of positive feedback from the previous issue From Fat to Fit IT Pro - The Beginning (Issue #922). Here's a short sampling:
You inspired me. I need to lose 25 pounds; I cannot exercise too much because I have arthritis in knees and hip, but I can do some. I need to write down everything I eat, just as you suggested. Thanks so much, and again, congratulations!! It’s very difficult to lose weight. --Karen, an IT consultant in Virginia, USA
Greetings from Australia. Great Story – well done on the journey. --Philip who works in remote health IT support in Australia
LOVE IT, keep it coming. --Carl, a consultant and Citrix Technology Professional
Congratulations on the path to health. So many don’t realize the key to keeping a robust mind is tied to a healthy body. I’m personally thankful for having a wife that likes an active life style to motivate me. --Andrew, a Project Leader in Illinois, USA
Thank you for sharing your story of weight loss. I just decided last Friday that I need to lose weight and your article is a gentle reminder to me to stay the course. --Bryan
Glad you posted that article today, I'm a desk jockey (Mechanical Engineer) and was told by my doctor to see a nutritionist for a diet/exercise routine to remove about 50 pounds. (I'm at 285lbs, 5'10", but not obviously super-overweight from the outside. Exercising is my bottleneck, but I'll make a better effort after seeing your before and after pictures. My legs hurt a bit, but not for long - next its getting the bike out of its nest behind the motorcycle and using it more often now that the weather is warming up a tad. I am documenting my eating/exercise habits - something new for me, counting calories was never interesting, but since the program I use gives me a printout, makes it almost fun. --Allen
Thanks again for the article, I know the rubber banding effect of diets like Atkins. I had actually lost about 50 lbs and was down to the weight I was 29 years ago when I first started this job. Diet (Atkins and other diets just gave me the initial push) and exercise were both part of it. But, as hard as it is to come off, it is very easy to gain it back...especially in menopausal days (something you and your male readers don't have to worry about). Extra stress and travel made it hard to maintain and I gained 40 of it back. I'm now looking for a more permanent solution and have started my journey once again. I look forward to reading you story. Thanks. --Rebecca
Hi there, just finish reading your chronicle about getting fit. I´m also an IT guy, was a CISCO instructor for 8 years...fortunately the last 7 years I also decided to make turn on my life, I´m an avid mountain bike rider, I have done triathlon and January 2013 I ran my first ultra-trail run (43km)...I feel great. Keep the good work, contrary to what some could think, there area a lot of IT with a terrific endurance. --Nuno who has more Cisco certifications than I can count
Mitch, Good job on your weight program. You look great. I have had great luck with two apps 'myfitnesspal' and 'runkeeper' and combined with both allowed me to go from 235 to 213. I'd really like to add some additional training with weights like you did. Do you have a template of the forms you used and the types and durations of the weights you used? [EDITOR'S NOTE: Stay tuned for a future issue of this newsletter where I'll talk about this a bit. --Mitch] Great job again and also excellent work on the newsletter. You are an inspiration to us guys out here who also want to look like Jason too. ;-) Have a good night. --Michael
Some of you have also sent us details about your own weightloss story and the different fitness and nutrition programs and tools you've used. We'll be publishing most of these in a future issue of this newsletter so other IT pros around the world who read this newsletter can learn from your own achievements. If any of you haven't yet shared your weightloss/fitness tips with us and would like to see them included in that future issue, feel free to send them to us at [email protected] but please keep it limited to a couple of paragraphs, thanks. You can also include a couple of links.
I also received one negative comment from a reader:
I read a technical newsletter for technical information. If your current self-indulgence is continued, I will cancel my subscription.
Oh well, can't please everyone I guess.
One more item from our Mailbag. In the issue titled 967 Tips for Healthier Servers (Issue #920) one of the many tips I included was this one:
Managing multiple remote desktop connections
There's nothing included out-of-the-box in Windows Server 2008 R2 that allows you to easily manage multiple remote desktop connections. This kind of scenario is common when you need to manage server labs or for automatic check-in systems in data centers. Microsoft does have a free tool however that you can download for this purpose...
I received the following email from a reader named Michael in response to the above tip:
Hi Mitch, I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know how much I enjoy reading the WServerNews newsletter and I am a big fan of your books. In fact, I am ordering your ‘Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012” book from Amazon today. It’s great to have a fellow Manitoban creating such top quality books, etc. (I live in Oakbank and work in Winnipeg) Keep up the good work!
After reading your section on the “Managing multiple remote desktop connections” I felt compelled to write you and respond. In any organization, the need to remotely connect to multiple servers or desktops using RDP is something most administrators do on a daily basis. The ability to organize and connect with multiple RDP sessions across numerous clients was also a very important and time-saving requirement for me. A decent, full featured (and free) tool that would meet these requirements was very necessary for me to have in my daily support role.
A solution was something that I searched for and I was lucky to come across the 2X Client which more than met my needs. It was free, and did exactly what I needed it to. The bonus was that it came in a stand-alone portable application, which allowed me to carry around my “connections kit” on an encrypted USB key with a great wrapper called PortableApps. Additionally, there are Apple and Linux flavors as well.
I’ve been using this application to organize and connect to multiple systems simultaneously for many years now. Here is the link to the free tool if you would like to check it out:
Downloads are here:
Hope this helps you as much as it has me.
Thank you for pointing this out to me because it just so happens that 2X is the sponsor for this week's issue of WServerNews, so please take the time to click on their advertisement and check out their products. Thanks!
Getting Started with Office 365
And now on to our guest editorial by Kelsey Epps...
When I first heard that Microsoft was going to be offering services in the cloud, I was mad. My initial thoughts were all negative and I didn’t see any good coming of this. I was concerned that small business clients that I was supporting would leave me and go to Microsoft. How can I compete with what they are offering?
It has been quite the opposite for me. Office 365 has helped to grow my business and opened more revenue streams. I not only resell Office 365, I plan, implement and support it as well. This has tremendous benefits for me as a single employee side business.
The benefits for my small business clients have been tenfold. Most of the companies (less than 50 employees) that I support would not have the resources and support personal to implement the services from Office 365 in a highly available fashion. This is where I think that Microsoft has the clear advantage over bringing the service in house.
What you need to know
The number one thing that you will have to choose is your plan. Microsoft breaks down Office 365 into two plans; P Plans and E Plans. Choose wisely as you cannot swap between the P and E plans once they are setup.
The P plan is geared towards small businesses that have no plans on implementing Single Sign-On (ADFS). Microsoft recommends no more than 50 users on this plan. You will get Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint, but these are limited in their capabilities. Keep in mind that this is geared for the small business. The draw back for this plan is that there is no support offered by Microsoft.
The E plan is built for the Enterprise clients. Depending on the sub-plan that you choose, the sky is the limit for services offered. This includes the ability to enable Active Directory integration (with ADFS and Directory Sync); single sign-on with local Active Directory credentials to services in Office 365 cloud. It also allows for hybrid configurations of Exchange, Lync and SharePoint. This allows your company to have some services in the cloud and some services on-premise.
See here for a comparison of the different business offerings for Office 365:
Let's now look at the setup process.
Tenant Account Setup
You will need to setup an Office 365 tenant account with Microsoft. This is done by simply going Microsoft’s Office 365 site and signing up for a trial (P 90 Days and E 30 days). All the trials can be converted to regular licensed accounts. Remember to choose P or E wisely as you cannot swap between the two, without removing your tenant account and starting from scratch. Once this process is complete, you will get a tenant domain assigned; @yourdomain.onmicrosoft.com
Public Domain Verification
Once your tenant account is created, you can now add and verify your public domain. This will allow you to move your services to Office 365. The verification is done through public DNS; with a TXT record. Basically, during the process Microsoft will generate a TXT record value that you add to your public DNS server. Microsoft can verify domain ownership by matching the value they provided with the value that you enter into your public DNS. Depending on your DNS host, it can take up to 72 hours, so plan accordingly. The host that I use, it takes about five minutes.
DNS is the glue that holds all this together. You need to understand DNS and there are multiple records that need to be entered publicly and privately for all the services in Office 365 to function correctly. Depending on the setup, this can get quite complex very quickly. Microsoft will supply you with a set of DNS records that are required for service to function. Standard DNS setup for the E plans, involve the addition of seven records that support Exchange and Lync.
E Plan DNS
Here's an example of DNS for the E plan:
P Plan DNS
Standard practice for the P plans involve using Microsoft as your DNS host and letting them manage DNS. This is done after domain verification. You are given the option to change the Name Server (NS) records listed on your domain registrar. If you choose to do this, you can manage (add/remove/change) basic DNS records with the Microsoft service. If you need the ability to use sub-domains within DNS, then don’t use the Microsoft DNS service. It’s a basic service and really should stay that way; again, this is only for the P plans.
ADFS and ADFS Proxy Servers
The internal ADFS servers and external ADFS proxy servers are key for single sign-on to work. Setting up these servers correctly is critical for security and proper function. Both roles are critical if you want to allow local Active Directory integration.
- Placement of the ADFS role is critical. They should be on their own server and never on a domain controller
- ADFS Proxy Servers have to be placed in a DMZ network
- Port 443 is critical for ADFS. This is the port that is communicates over.
- Public IP address should be dedicated to ADFS
- Public SSL certificate is required for ADFS (one certificate can be used on all ADFS/ADFS Proxy servers)
- Consider redundant servers for both ADFS and the ADFS Proxy servers.
- ADFS is IIS based and can easily be load balanced with hardware NLB or with Windows NLB
Directory Synchronization Server
This role is key to single sign-on functioning. This will synchronize your entire Active Directory (or a subset of) to your tenant account in Office 365. Think of this role as replication service to a virtual DC in the Office 365 cloud. Only one of these servers per domain and there is no highly available option for this role. If this server goes down, it can be configured on a new server and the sync will resume. Standard setup will sync your entire Active Directory (per domain) to Office 365. If you are planning on a hybrid approach, you can setup directory synchronization to sync a specific OU or set of OUs. This feature was added after the release of Office 365 and isn’t well documented. Just keep in mind the option is there.
Assigning licenses is what activates services for the users. It will provision Exchange and Lync services and will allow you to permission the user for SharePoint. You can have a mix of E plan users under the same tenant account, but you cannot have P and E plan users under the same tenant account. Licensing synchronized users requires that ADFS be in place.
The flexibility of Office 365 is unmatched by any other cloud solutions provider. The benefits to my business and my clients are something that we cannot live without. There is no other provider that offers the quality of service and enterprise products for the cost of Office 365. If you are a company looking to move services into the cloud, you need to seriously consider Office 365. If you are a company that is looking to refresh local services, you need to consider the Office 365 as a real option.
About Kelsey Epps
Kelsey also runs a blog called the Office 365 Technical Support Blog which can be found here:
Send us feedback
Got comments or questions about Office 365? Want to share your experiences using it with our newsletter readers? Email us your feedback and stories to [email protected]
Tip of the Week
PowerTip: Use PowerShell to find processes using most virtual memory
This week Microsoft Scripting Guy Ed Wilson shows how to use Windows PowerShell to find processes consuming the most virtual memory.
Question: You need to find processes that are using the most virtual machine. How can you use Windows PowerShell to help you do this?
Answer: Use the Get-Process cmdlet and pipeline the results to the Sort-Object cmdlet. Send those results to the Select-Object cmdlet and choose the last 5 (for the top five processes). This technique appears here (Sort is an sort form of Sort-Object and Select is a short form of Select-Object).
Get-Process | sort vm | select name, vm -Last 5
Ed Wilson is the bestselling author of eight books about Windows Scripting, including Windows PowerShell 3.0 Step by Step, and Windows PowerShell 3.0 First Steps. He writes a daily blog about Windows PowerShell called Hey, Scripting Guy! that is hosted on the Microsoft TechNet Script Center; for more PowerTips check out the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog.
Contact us at [email protected] if you have a tip of your own that you'd like to share with our readers.
Recommended for Learning
Here are a few books on Office 365 you might want to check out:
Microsoft Office 365: Connect and Collaborate Virtually Anywhere, Anytime (Microsoft Press)
Working with Microsoft Office 365: Running Your Small Business in the Cloud (Microsoft Press)
MOS Study Guide for Microsoft® Office 365 (Microsoft Press)
Office 365 For Dummies (For Dummies)
Programming Microsoft's Clouds: Windows Azure and Office 365 (Wrox)
Microsoft Office 365: Exchange Online Implementation and Migration (Packt)
Pro SharePoint 2010 Development for Office 365 (Springer)
Also check out the following training from the Microsoft Virtual Academy:
- Administering Office 365 for Small Businesses Jump Start
- Licensing Office 2013 and Office 365
Quote of the Week
"I never did a day's work in my life--it was all fun." --Thomas Edison
Until next week,
BTW feel free to:
Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don’t receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we’ll try to troubleshoot things from our end.
Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
Download 2X ApplicationServer XG to deliver virtual desktops and applications from a central location, providing continuous availability, resource-based load balancing and complete end-to-end network transparency for administrators.
Beat server downtime with anytime server backup—Try Idera Server Backup Enterprise for free
A review of Enterprise Permission Reporter version 3.5, an NTFS and Active Directory permissions reporting solution from NETsec:
Quickly make changes to your display settings with MultiRes:
The free scanner checks whether your network-enabled devices might be vulnerable to attack through the UPnP protocol:
- Microsoft Management Summit on April 8-12, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, USA
- Microsoft TechEd North America on June 3-6, 2013 in New Orleans, USA
- Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference on July 7-11, 2013 in Houston, USA
- Microsoft TechEd Europe on June 25-28, 2013 in Madrid, Spain
- Microsoft TechEd Africa 2013 on April 16-19, 2013 in Durban, South Africa
Add your event
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
On-Demand Webinar: The Hidden Costs of Email Management
Email clearly dominates communications in today’s business environment. The ever increasing need to manage, archive and restore mission critical email communication can quickly drive up your costs for storage, infrastructure, time and human resources. Diligent organizations must look at ways to change those cost factors to avoid ongoing budget impacts.
Join J. Peter Bruzzese, Microsoft Certified Trainer and CIO & CoFounder of ClipTraining on to discover what you need to know to reduce your Exchange support costs and learn about software tools that can help. This complimentary 45 minute webinar, recorded live on March 27, 2013, is available for you to view on-demand in order to discover:
- How limitations in native Exchange backup programs drive up costs
- Why native Exchange backup options can increase infrastructure and time costs
- The resulting time and resource impacts on Exchange Administrators
- How much recovering email is actually costing you
- How software tools can help reduce restore times
- How to eliminate the need for recovery servers
Register for Webcasts
Add your Webcast
PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
This week we have links to a bunch of differentresources on Office 365.
Thinking of moving to Office 365? Read these first!
Let's start with some general articles you might want to read if you're thinking of moving to Office 365:
- Businesses Use the Cloud to Stay Competitive (BizTech)
- Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Overview (Office 365 Technical Blog)
- Office 365 ProPlus Service Components – a look at Identity, Click-to-Run delivery, Roaming Settings and other Features (Office 365 Technical Blog)
- VIDEO: Office 365 Licensing and Scenario Overview (Microsoft US SMB&D TS2 Team Blog)
- VIDEO: Shifting from a device-based to a user-based Office with Office 365 ProPlus (Office Blogs)
Implementing Office 365
Next we'll examine some useful guidance on how to implement Office 365 for your organization:
- Office 365 Deployment Guide (TechNet)
- Integrating Office 365 ProPlus into Your Organization (Office 365 Technical Blog)
- How to Use Office 365 and Maintain Compliance (BizTech)
- MigrationWiz Eases the Adoption of Microsoft Office 365 for the City of Rockport (MigrationWiz)
Innovative ways of using Office 365
Now here are a few tips on how you can use Office 365 in innovative ways:
- Office 365 University (Microsoft in Education Blog)
- Office 365 – extending learning beyond the classroom (TechNet NZ Education Blog)
- Collaborating on great customer service with Office 365 (Office 365 Blog)
- Enhancing customer relations and the sales process with Office 365 (Office 365)
- Office 365 Open End-Date Calculator (Microsoft US SMB&D TS2 Team Blog)
- VIDEO: College Students Work Together Without Being Together with Office 365 and SkyDrive (Official Microsoft Blog)
- VIDEO: Windows in the Classroom Tip #2 – the online classroom (TechNet NZ Education Blog)
VIDEO: Enriching family services with Office 365 (Office 365 Blog)
You're charging me for what?! Deconstructing your AWS cloud bill
While Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers various benefits and advanced features, it’s essential to monitor your bill and understand how you are charged for AWS services. Find out how to accurately track your usage of the cloud-based platform to ensure you’re fully prepared for each AWS bill.
Why deploying VDI isn't just a stepping stone on the way to Web apps
With all the buzz surrounding Web apps, some IT pros may consider them the future of enterprise computing – and a replacement for VDI. However, many industry experts disagree. Inside this guide, learn why VDI isn’t going away any time soon, even as Web apps become more omnipotent.
Virtualization storage innovations challenge market leaders
Traditional storage technologies and tools cannot keep up with virtual storage needs, and as a result, many small vendors are carving out a niche for virtualization-specific storage. But do these newcomers have what it takes to compete with the top market leaders? Find out inside this exclusive tip.
Backup is easy with VMware VDP, but scalability limits the free tool
Since VMware’s vSphere Data Protection (VDP) platform is free, easy to set up, and simple to manage, why aren’t all vSphere administrators utilizing it? One factor limiting the tool’s adoption rate is its scalability restraints. Find out whether the benefits of VMware VDP outweigh the drawbacks in this tip.
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
The car of the future driving on the roads of today. Felix Baumgartner Test Drives the 261 mpg Volkswagen XL1:
Watch the Blue Angels Hercules C-130 jet assisted take off at a 45° angle:
The Paperless Future is a TV spot from France takes up the debate between all digital and the die-hard defenders of the paper:
Magician Michael Carbonaro is a magic clerk at a convenience store - with hidden cameras placed by the Jay Leno Show:
And for the nerds: the LiquiGlide Ketchup Bottle speaks for itself:
WServerNews - Editors
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press and has published hundreds of articles for IT pros. Mitch is also a seven-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com
Ingrid Tullochis Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.