Microsoft

Blog Categories

Subscribe to RSS feed

Archives

Follow Microsoft Technologies on Pinterest

Video How-To’s in Office 365

Video Portal was announced back in November with initial push to “first release” customers and a global deployment available by early 2015. This portal powered by Azure Media Services provides adaptive streaming optimized for video playback for the device it’s being viewed on. Leveraging Office Graph, simple drag and drop interface, discover ability across enterprise search and Delve, integration with yammer conversations, and sharing capabilities on mobile makes this an intuitive and engaging knowledge management add in.

Below is a summary of Video Q&A with Microsoft team, MVP’s, and community members

Why does Office 365 Video need Flash installed?

Microsoft is working to add HTML5 video playback support in a future update. This will remove the current Flash dependency. For the initial release, we prioritized security of the videos’ playback stream. We are working with Azure Media Services on new player and detection tech that can get the right player (native, HTML5, or flash) and the right stream from Azure media services, so that we offer both adaptive streaming and security on latest mobile devices and browsers. For native iPhone app, we are using Azure Media Service SDK to support HLS. Browser playback doesn’t work currently for mobile devices because of flash.

What about mobility?

We are also working on responsive pages and will be addressing that as soon as possible. This is our first iteration and we hope to improve on it as quickly as possible to provide the broadest mobility reach possible.

Where I can read what the supported upload formats are and what the out quality is?

It’s all here: http://support.office.com/en-us/article/dd1af01c-fd8e-4640-b… MOV files are a container, and H264 movies are supported and will transcode, but some MOVs won’t work – we’ve a fix in play on this. The ones that do work, which is the majority, get treated like MP4. Once we’re fully cleared on all MOV types, we’ll then list it along with others. The beauty of the service is that it will adapt. As the journey begins we pay attention to fail points, preferences and trends all the same. Thanks for the weight of issue emphasis, helps us understand priority and sentiment to move forward and prioritize.

Is 96 Kbps the max audio rate?

That is the audio setting as of now. We’re open to feedback, and it appears the group consensus is that 128Kbps would be ideal. Consider it passed along to the Azure team to consider.

Are file sizes larger than 2GB possible for O365 Video?

The current upload limit is 2GB, and this applies to SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Office 365 Video. We are aligning with the broader motion that is in development to go beyond 2GB, of which you may have seen the OneDrive (consumer) announcement

What is the storage quota for the Video portal?

Each channel you create adds a new site collection to your tenant. By default no quota is set, rather based on usage by default. More here regarding the usage model: http://blogs.office.com/2014/08/18/sharepoint-online-simplif…. This does apply to Office 365 Video created channels, aka individual site collections in SPO admin center. This is not fully rolled out, but when you have it you can choose to continue to manually associate quota, or simply let it more auto-grow based on usage/need.

How about the storage on the back-end?

Storage is leveraged out of SharePoint Online team site allocation, not OneDrive for Business. We are offering O365 Video at no additional cost as part of an Enterprise suite license, and the service does count uploaded videos being stored in SharePoint Online. We do not count any of the videos generated in Azure for adaptive smooth streaming – that cost is embedded in your overall Office 365 investment.

I read in the documentation that the file is first stored in SharePoint before being uploaded to AMS. Where is it stored in SharePoint? And is the location accessible to us via the OM?

Each channel is technically a site collection in the backend of SharePoint. So yes the original file is there and you should be able to access it with the OM. More here on what happens to a video file in Office 365 Video file: http://youtu.be/HXSZ0jYBKlM

Can we embed an Office 365 Video outside the security ecosystem of our tenant so we can use this as both our intranet video and Internet video platform?

Not at this time. Office 365 Video is currently scoped to intranet. Hence we don’t yet support extranet or internet. We do have technology we can tap into once we feel the system is ready to support these scenarios. For extranet we have external sharing in SharePoint Online that we will consider, and the Azure team is considering the ability to have public/private switch capability – again something we can consider.

How does it work with local charsets? Like ÅÄÖ?

You can create a channel using different charsets with no problem. Office 365 Video supports the same languages as SharePoint Online – in the same manner.

When you comment on a video it makes a new yammer post each time and not a thread of comments? Is this on purpose or something we can change?

We adhere to Yammer’s tech, this is the same Yammer Conversations you leverage for Documents. The player page where you see the thread is a roll up of all threads, but yes, when in Yammer UI or apps, you’ll see the discussion only for that group on that video.

I just uploaded a video to one of my Channels. Is it possible to use it in a Yammer post?

You can start a yammer conversation for the video and that would include a link. It is the pane on the right of the screen on the video playback.

Are “views” tracked using SharePoint 2013-based usage/analytics/search functionality? If so, is there any way to “move” a video and have its views follow it?

Yes, “views” are tracked based on search functionality. However, we currently don’t support moving a video among channels.

We are looking for the ability to include supporting documents with our videos, including Transcripts, Presentations, Contracts. Is this on the roadmap for integration? We are looking for the feature set of the existing Video DocSet with the backend of Azure

At the moment we don’t have an option to include an attachment. We are thinking about ways how we can include that type of content with the video. For today, you could post those files as part of the Yammer conversation on the fly out. We have SharePoint technology today called “Document Sets” that may be where we tap into to enable the association of other materials, plus we’re working with the Delve team on new tech that enables new ways to ‘collect’ items … stay tuned.

Can you block a user so they are unable to comment on videos at Yammer?

There is not a way to block comments on individual videos at this time, but it is a feature request we are looking at. Also, note that commenting on videos with Yammer would require Yammer Enterprise to be enabled for the tenant.

Is there a document that describes the specific usage analytics that will be available in this release? If there is not (yet) then will it track views? View-to-completion (or something similar)?

In v1, we only offer view counts and it is already in the portal. We have plans to support more analytics depending on users’ feedback.

Is there a way to customize UI look and feel? What about custom features like tagging a video? Can we enforce metadata addition on upload as with all other 365 files?

Not at this time, but please add your feedback here: https://office365video.uservoice.com/forums/273864-general/suggestions/6737667-allow-custom-metadata-fields

Is there official guidance on migrating from other video services like YouTube to Office 365 video?

At this stage it would be a manual process. We are working on prioritizing the backlog and two items that are related to your question that we would consider for the future:

1) Ability to bring in YouTube, Vimeo, etc and have them “playable” and searchable in our user interface, but to actually not move the file.

2) Enable bulk upload so you can introduce a lot of new files (think of event capture where you have 300 sessions recorded), and then be able to apply basic metadata about all.

The space that shows used in SharePoint admin of a channel, is that the space of the files that we upload or the space of the transcoded/converted files takes up?

We are storing the original file in SharePoint for later retrieval purpose.

Can we dump the ingested source and just retain the delivery viable transcodes to manage tenant storage costs.

For now our work flow picks up from the uploaded video, which as you can infer then triggers the copy to be sent to Azure Media Services. We certainly will take this into planning meetings to best understand the impacts, benefits, pros, cons etc. Right now we are keeping the original video file in SPO and it counts against your quota. We are doing this to put a bit of a cap on it, but are open to feedback.

Does deletion of the ingested master therefore trigger deletion of transcodes. It simply defines our need to manage upload behaviors to avoid unnecessary storage costs.

Yes, delete from Office 365 Video UI does delete both SPO stored copy and versions in Azure used for adaptive smooth streaming playback.

Can I integrate this to on-prem intranet (sp13)? Will there be an app/webpart?

We are considering hybrid option with on-prem in the future but don’t have any committed plans. If we did it, the idea would be that you can link up your on-prem SharePoint with a video portal in the cloud. We haven’t addressed this yet in the service but are discouraging people from using the existing video features in SPO and want to avoid people having mass amounts of people watch videos directly from SPO.

What are the REST / OfficeGraph API endpoints to pull the videos for a specific channel? Is this documented anywhere yet?

The REST APIs for O365 video is public already but not documented yet. We have that on our list to do. The API has the ability to do just about everything on the video portal, get channels, get videos, upload videos, get/set settings, etc.

The apis are off the /portals/hub site collection…

/portals/hub/_api/VideoService/Channels

We also have an api off the root site collection to find the url to the hub…

/_api/videoservice.discover

We are testing and uploaded five videos so far, but only one is actually viewable by everyone. For the people who uploaded the video, they can normally view their own video. Is this normal?

Videos don’t show up on the rest of the portal until search indexes them. You can only see them in “My Videos” until search picks them up.  It should be indexed normally within 15 minutes, however in extreme cases it could be longer.

 Step 1 is you upload a video to the channel. The video is preserved in SharePoint database. You will see the video in “My Video” tab, which renders using SharePoint database.

Step 2 is behind-the-scene: search crawls SharePoint database periodically (ideally every 15 minutes) to update search database with the updated list of videos. We render “Popular” and “Newest” tab based on search database. They should show all videos uploaded to the channel with a delay (because of the periodical crawl). Thus, ideally, you should be able to “spotlight” all videos uploaded to a channel within a couple of minutes. However, search performance is not as good as we are expecting. That’s maybe why you see a longer delay here.

We do have a bug where videos with certain file extensions (.mov and others) won’t be able to be indexed. We checked in a fix a while back but search DB upgraders haven’t run yet.

How long after upload is a video first available at upload point and subsequently how long before the video is globally viable through Azure Media Services?

We are at about 1-2x the length of the video as a rule of thumb. SP has to upload it to Azure and then Azure has to notify SP its done transcoding. At that point you can play it from the “My videos” pivot in a channel. You still have to wait for search indexing before it shows up in rest of the video portal.

Is there any way to include ‘legacy’ videos that we already have scattered about in our tenant or do we have to ‘move’ them all to the new Video hub/channels?

Hello Jim, this would need to be a manual process. The reason being is so that they are processed by Azure, making them much better for playback.

I created a channel and cannot delete it and now errors out but still appears as a selectable channel. Why?

It is deleted in SharePoint DB but search indexing has a delay so you still see it in the channel list. However, if you click it, it shouldn’t exist anymore. We do need to design the deletion UI clearer.

Will the “Videos” search vertical in SharePoint’s Enterprise Search Center template crawl the videos that are uploaded to Office 365 Video? In other words…can I find videos in Office 365 Video from SharePoint Search by default, or do customizations need to be done, or is it not possible at this time?

Yes. Search from the Office 365 Video portal is scoped to videos within the portal. If you search outside the video portal, from the search center, then yes, the videos from Office 365 Video will also appear. And extra credit, Office 365 Videos also appear in people’s Delve view, now with a new video card layout.

Users will need to visit the video portal to view the video, right? Or will there be a web part to embed a video within other sites in SharePoint Online?

Correct. From enterprise search clicking the video will bring you to the player page of the video portal. We know embed into the rest of SharePoint will be important. It’s at the top of our backlog along with better mobile playback. You will be able to on-hover playback the video from Search Center search results page, click the “…” of the video in results and hover over, it’ll start playing.

Can you include a link to a video direct in a mail like you can do with OneDrive now?

If you are in the portal, you can grab the link and share it in an email just as you would with OneDrive. Note that the recipient has to be internal. It’s a great ask for the future. We have worked hard on the ability to easily share inline via Yammer (Yammer Conversations fly out per player page). And the ease of adding a video from the Outlook side of the house is very palatable. We’re working on new experiences to create new pages in SharePoint, and grabbing a video and including it in a new entity is in the works. We then would need to connect with Outlook to review how we might get into their picker, like OneDrive does for “Smart Attachments.”

Created two channels this morning but neither one of them ended up in the channel tab. The direct link works but forgot to copy the first one so don’t know how to get to it again. Do I need to worry about the SharePoint site it creates, as it has no space or resources? And there was a standard channel from the beginning and what site is that connected to? What about duplicate names?

We will look at the duplicate name issues. We made a change recently to that part of the code and may have introduced some bugs. Unfortunately the channels don’t show up in the channel page until they have been indexed by search. This sometimes can take a while. If you don’t see channels show up after a while let us know, but they should show up in the list after search indexes them.

We provision a “Community” channel out of the box so people can upload to that right away. It’s the /portals/community/ site collection.

Among my channels there is one called Point Publishing that I have not created. Does anyone know why?

There is nothing special about it. We just automatically created a “Community” channel with open permissions so people could start uploading videos right away. Our translation on the channel name aren’t great. Sorry. It will delete the corresponding site collection when you delete the channel.

Can you specify which are the open permission versus the permissions automatically assigned to newly created channels?

When you make a new channel we set the permission to be as follows:

Can Edit – Person who created the channel.

Can View – Everyone except external

For the pre-provisioned Community Channel we set the permissions to let everyone have Can edit…

Can Edit – Everyone except external

Can View – Everyone except external

If you have Can Edit permissions it means you can upload to the channel, set permissions on the channel, spotlight videos, delete the channel.

Will there be a way to grant users the ability to upload videos to a channel without giving them all the rights encompassed by the Edit permissions? I’d like to create a channel for user-submitted videos without giving uploaders the ability to blow away the channel.

We tried to simplify the permissions model and ended up on just the two “can edit” and “can view”. If you can edit the channel you can upload and you can do all the channel admin operations. We could consider adding a 3rd permission level for “Contributors” or “Uploaders”.

If global-admin can’t access every channel – regardless of permissions – then how do we monitor them?

This was by design, but maybe we should revisit that. How do you normally handle this in general? Do you always just trust your admins and assume they will do the right thing and not look at what they likely shouldn’t? The thought was that if you wanted a truly private channel you wouldn’t want global tenant admin to have access.

Is there a way to set this portal to allow anonymous access resembling a public facing site for all to see without having to log in. I set the external and anonymous settings alright but wondering if it can be set as a public tenant?

Right now this is not for public consumption. It’s meant for internal users within an organization.

We don’t have a billing model or plan for how we’d pay for public use. We built O365 Video to be used internally in an organization, not to setup an external public facing video service.

Can an external user (without the need of an O365 account) use a link provided by the organization, to access essentially a FTP site to upload their videos to that would then be available for viewing by the organizationally department that set up the “share”, and published the link to the external user?

We do not support external users on the Office 365 Video portal, or any channel that gets created since these, too, are site collections of their own. It is under consideration for the future, and dependent on us being able to recoup costs from the service when a free person consumes compute and playback resources.

For an external audience, is Azure media services is still the best path to take?

Certainly. Azure Media Services supports a number of custom approaches. They are a world class service that has powered the Olympics in 2012 and 2014, powers NBC.com video playback, Xbox used them for launch, etc. It’s why we were excited to partner with them for this offering to Office 365 customers.

Are there plans to make the video service available to view (but not contribute) for kiosk licensed users?

Our business planning team is certainly aware of this ask, and in concept if they were to be enabled in the future, a kiosk worker would most likely remain a consumer as we have the Kiosk plan defined today (able to view, but is not enabled to upload or be an channel owner).

Any guidelines on the use of this service compared to SharePoint media asset libraries?

Yes… We would like encourage people to use O365 video instead of the existing SP media asset libraries. Asset libraries only do progress download of the videos that you uploaded. So people have to download the full sized video. We’ve had instances where lots of people watching the same video at the same time at an organization have caused big issues. O365 Video is adaptive streaming so you only get a size of video that your bandwidth can handle. And it is streamed out of Azure Media services and has no impact on SPO farms. When you use the video portal you get all the power of Azure Media Services. The overall experience for your users will be much better with the video portal.

Can the Video portal can be turned off?

There’s a good all up admin article here. Enable/disable is outlined at the end of the article: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Manage-your-Office-….

 

Future Plans

 

Will there be embed code or links available for individual videos or channels so they can be surfaced on other site pages?

This is a feature request we are getting. It is currently not supported in v1 but is our top priority moving forward. We are looking at much smarter and finer integration with SPO pages.

Will the ability to add other metadata columns be available? Such as Publish Date (for uploading historical videos) or Enterprise Keywords?

Right now, only video title and video description are configurable metadata. However, we are actively looking at supporting more metadata.

Are any metrics coming soon to the application?

We’ve heard this from many customers and it’s on the list. We know analytics will be important. Feel free to add this to user voice and vote it up.

Will the “cloud video” content type be available for other site collections outside of the video portal?

Right now it will only be available to the Video portal channels. We are looking in the future how to integrate this back into the rest of SharePoint and OneDrive for Business but don’t have any committed plans at this time.

What about video to be embedded in the page of content (text and interactive content), so my audience doesn’t need to visit another site?

It is a very legit feature request and it is in top of backlog. We are actively looking into the solution.

Could be integration with eternal video resources like YouTube?

We are looking at doing that. It’s not top on our list but it’s on our list. We’d eventually like to be able to grab an embed from YouTube or Vimeo, etc. and have that show up like any other video in the channel.

Is there a webpart coming so the spotlight videos could be shown dynamically on our Intranet site?

This is one of our top things to work on. We’d like to be able to support embed to other SPO sites.

Any plans to add thumbnail capability?

Yes we’d like to add “choose your own thumbs” in the future. Right now it’s on the middle of our list, but feel free to add this to user voice and vote it up.

Any plans to customize the layout of the spotlight template?

This is in the original designs but ended up needing to cut it to get out sooner. We don’t have plans right now to add it. But add it to user voice and vote it up.

Is there a plan for a player studio, of sorts where customization of playback skin for branding can be added?

We really aren’t considering customized player options at this time.

Is there a way to embed a channel or video in a SharePoint Site? Either O365 or on-prem server version?

Not yet. Up vote that request here: https://office365video.uservoice.caom/forums/273864-general/s…

ETA on an iOS app?

We’ll share more as we solidify our plans. No specific ETA yet.

How will the new Office Sway comes into play with the O365 Video?

Nothing to share at this point, however it is something to look for in the future.

Are there any plans to support synchronized PowerPoint slides and video playback?

We will have Office Mix integration soon, read more here: http://blogs.office.com/2014/11/18/office-mix-office-365-video/. Help us record/vote the feature requests on our User Voice site: http://aka.ms/O365VideoFeedback. That way we can actively re-ordering our backlog according to user requests.

Do you have plans to include Cortana?

Good feedback. Cortana would be smart as an office assistant. Audio-to-text and associated search-ability are in our backlog.

We are unhappy with the delete process, are there plans for a better tool?

Yes, we are aware that this is sub-optimal right now.

Is there an ETA on fix for this? http://www.benstegink.com/office-365-video-portal-major-bug-…

We have a script that we will be running against effect tenants this week (or a long as the script takes to run) to resolve this issue. If your tenant has this issue is should be fixed soon. [UPDATE: this is now complete].

Will the non-Enterprise plans (standard Business, etc) ever see this feature?

At this time it’s an enterprise only offering, also for Education and Government, with GCC coming soon early next year. The reality of this solution is that it’s embedded into the overall cost of the Office 365 E, A, G investments. The business modeling as of yet does not enable us to recoup per projections of costs for Business, Kiosk, standalone or external users. We are working on ways we can reduce overall costs so that we can pass the value onto to new Office 365 plans/users.

 

 

Source: Office 365 community network

Dream Team 2014: Connecting Salesforce and SharePoint

By now, it’s old news that Salesforce is connecting to files stored in Microsoft’s SharePoint Online service, the portals-and-collaboration piece of Office 365.  The official announcement may have been made this morning, but it hit the channel months ago and was unveiled with much fanfare when  it was previewed at Dreamforce 2014 this fall.  Since then, our Perficient team has been doing a lot of thinking about this integration, how and when to use it, and what it means.

Configuring Files Connect to Use Documents From SharePoint

One of the values of having award-winning national practices for both the Salesforce and Microsoft platforms is the chance to work with talented colleagues across technology stacks.  The result was this case study by Bob Graham, which gives a great overview of how we used Files Connect from Salesforce to access documents stored in SharePoint Online.  After collaborating with peers in our Salesforce team, Bob took the time to write this helpful piece up.  In it, he walks you through the steps he took to plan, connect, and ultimately leverage files stored in SharePoint within the Salesforce user experience.  It really is as easy as it looks.

The Greater Implications

“Okay, Perficient,” you might say now, “that’s how you make it work– but what does it mean?”  The obvious answer is the surprising amount of collaboration being shown between the direct actors engaged here– Microsoft and Salesforce– and that’s covered well over at TechCrunch.  It’s fascinating that of all the cloud-based file systems Salesforce could have partnered with for this, the first one in the line was actually Microsoft.

In a macro sense, it’s perfectly rational– the world is growing smaller and more connected, and the days of the one-vendor ecosystem are long dead.  Sure, Microsoft has a competing CRM platform (Dynamics) and Salesforce has its own portal solution (Communities), but as much as anything, this announcement is an acknowledgement that neither company is the market leader in those secondary spaces.  This is two giants connecting like to like– the dominant platforms for CRM and file-sharing, respectively– and making it easier for customers to choose best-of-breed cloud solutions over monolithic enterprise architectures focused on vendor rationalization.

That’s kind of a big deal, wouldn’t you say?

Office 365 – 300 Days of Mainstream Support Left for Outlook 2010

Let’s pause for a minute and mark October 13, 2015 on our calendars; this is the final day of mainstream support for Outlook 2010.

This is especially relevant to Exchange Online users as the system requirements for Office 365 state that it is designed to work with “any version of Microsoft Office in mainstream support”. While Microsoft does not actively block you from connecting to Office 365 with legacy versions or client applications, the text around older versions includes phrases like “does not recommend”, “limited support” and “quality of user experience will diminish over time”.

The “evergreen” nature of Office 365 means that the “server-side” of the service architecture is always being updated and improved; in some cases, these new features are only available to users running the most current client applications.

Knowing that we have 300 days to plan and execute the upgrade of our Outlook 2010 installations, below are some options that are available to us.
Read the rest of this post »

Getting Started with Power BI, pt. 3

Last week, I posted part two of our Power BI Primer series discussing administration of Power BI Sites and user permissions.  Today, we’re bringing you Part Three.

If you are an Office365 customer, then you have almost certainly heard about (if not seen) Power BI.

The cloud-based analytics and collaboration platform from Microsoft has some pretty amazing features, and really extends the Microsoft BI platform not only into the cloud but into a more self-service oriented mode.   However, one of the challenges to getting up and running on Power BI has been, well, knowing how to get up and running!

And that’s where we come in.

Perficient has created a 4-part video series that provides step-by-step instructions for getting your Power BI instance working for you.  From getting your Power BI Site set up, to administering it, and connecting your Power BI workbooks to on-premises data sources — this series has got you covered!

So let’s take a look at Part 3:  Power BI Data Exploration and Visualization

This video jumps into the fun part: exploring and working with data, and building visualizations.  We will dive into pulling data from a primary source into Power Pivot, and also into making reports with Power View

Next time we’ll wrap up this series by talking about bringing things full circle and connecting to an on-premises data source from your O365 Power BI Site.  Cheers!

Azure ML on the forefront of Advanced Analytics

My colleague Sean Roy just put up a great post about Gartner’s predictions for Advanced Analytics in 2015:
http://blogs.perficient.com/enterpriseinformation/2014/12/16/the-industrialization-of-advanced-analytics/

This is of obvious interest to us in the Microsoft universe, as we perennially end up being in the  “happy” part of Gartner’s magic quadrant, and since Microsoft’s ongoing data and analytics story is called out here.  I will assume you can click through and read the post, so I’m not going to repost content.   But I do want to spin off of that mention and make a note of exactly what Azure Machine Learning is, and where it fits into the overall landscape of the Microsoft Data Platform.

Azure ML is a cloud-based Predictive Analytics offering, currently in preview.  It is fully managed from the get-go (meaning no downloads or installs), integrates simply with a basic drag-and-drop interface, and contains algorithms developed by Microsoft for Bing and Xbox  — although it also supports coding with R (the statistics programming language).   Essentially, Azure Machine Learning allows you to create advanced predictive models directly from a browser, and to make them operational with a few clicks.

Once you have established your model, you can collect basically unlimited data in Azure Storage, and easily connect to that data using Azure’s data services such as HDInsight (cloud-based Hadoop), Azure SQL Database (a PaaS model version of SQL Server) , and Azure Virtual Machines running SQL Server 2012/2014.

And then, from the user perspective, any of this data is available for consumption via Power BI both on the desktop and as part of Office 365.  Users can connect to any of those sources directly from Excel, allowing them to use a friendly interface that has been enhanced with some powerful data tools.

This is where we see the vision of the Microsoft Data Platform coming together on the cloud side, with a combination of PaaS and IaaS offerings linking up to provide infrastructure-free Advanced Analytics (including elements of Big Data and Predictive Analytics).   So, while it has been difficult to see it develop in-process, the Microsoft Data Platform becomes more compelling by the day.

 

Windows Server 2003 End of Support Looms – A Webinar Recap

It’s no secret – Microsoft support for Windows Server 2003 ends on July 14, 2015. Clock

Last week, Perficient, AppZero and Cisco teamed up for a webinar, Planning & Preparing for Windows Server 2003 End of Life. During the session, the speakers discussed the options and paths available when moving off Windows Server 2003, including the transition to a cloud model, benefits of Windows Server 2012, virtualization on Cisco UCS, and what exactly AppZero can do for your migrations.

First, Steve Andrews, a senior solutions architect at Perficient, explained exactly what end of support/end of life means: no updates, no compliance, no protection. But, the good news is, for those still on Windows Server 2003, there is the opportunity to transform your datacenter by transitioning to a hybrid cloud model, which Steve reviewed. He then showed attendees how to get started:

  1. Discover & Assess: Catalog and categorize apps and workloads
  2. Target: Identify destinations
  3. Migrate: Make the move

You have a variety of target options, from replacing the server hardware or virtualizing with Hyper-V to a new server, to relocating to a cloud service such as Azure IaaS or decommissioning if no longer in use. Read the rest of this post »

Azure Media Services: Live Streaming Video Experience

Did you watch the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics online? Maybe you caught a bit of the 2014 FIFA World Cup from the office on your laptop? Perhaps you watch an occasional Sunday Night Football game from the in-laws on your tablet. If so, you’ve consumed Azure Media Services Live Channels Media Streaming. ams

This service powers all sorts of public live media streaming services from NBC, the NHL, NFL, FIFA and many other partners. It has been available to us for a while now, in preview mode, and we at Perficient have been unable to discuss it – until now. On Thursday, Microsoft announced the general availability of Live Channels! Here’s a link to Scott Gutherie’s blog.

Live streaming is a very very cool, and rather difficult to harness technology. There are limitless application possibilities in today’s ever mobile, and connected world for live streaming. And up until now, actually using that technology – at a reasonable price point – was difficult. Read the rest of this post »

Webinar: Hybrid Cloud Storage Solutions – Lower Cost & Complexity

Storage StorSimple_MScomGraphic_590x590_Ais on the mind of many this holiday season. At home, if you are a parent, it’s a question of “Where are we going to store all these overwhelmingly large toys?” At work – it’s more likely to be a data issue.

If local storage is your issue, you probably know one of your options is a hybrid cloud storage appliance (on a side note, wouldn’t it be nice if we could store those toys in the cloud?).

Doing more with less has become the “new normal,” so it only makes sense that the demand for scalable, reliable, and secure cloud solutions is increasing.  One of the biggest challenges facing many of our customers is the tremendous data growth and the amount of storage management work required that data growth requires.

Join us on Tuesday, December 16, at 1 p.m. for a webinar, “Lower Cost & Complexity with Azure and StoreSimple Hybrid Cloud Solutions,” to learn how a hybrid storage appliance such as StorSimple can supply your organization with massive amounts of capacity and added functionality, all the while providing disaster recovery and reducing costs by up to 50%. Perficient Director Adetayo Adegoke will show you how you can seamlessly use a cloud-integrated storage (CiS) product to store commonly used data on premises and put more infrequently accessed data in Azure.

You can also take a look at the white paper, “The CIO’s Guide to Understanding Microsoft Cloud Services,” to learn more about Azure’s capabilities.

To register for the webinar, click here.
Lower Cost & Complexity with Azure and StoreSimple Hybrid Cloud Solutions
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
1:00 p.m. CT

Integrating Lync with Your Avaya Environment – Webinar Recap

lync3For CIOs looking to improve communication and collaboration while reducing costs, Unified Communications is top of mind. Fortunately, Microsoft Lync integrates with a large percentage of existing voice systems, including Avaya. Last week, we held our last Lync focused webinar of the year on Best Practices for Integrating Lync with Your Avaya Environment. Keenan Crockett and Jason Sloan, both Microsoft Certified Masters on the Lync platform, helped attendees understand how to build a strong telephony platform leveraging the power of Lync and backed by Avaya. 

The speakers tackled a number of related topics during the one-hour session, including goals and requirements when planning for this integration, a comparison of Lync 2013 and Avaya Voice components, Avaya integration best practices, and considerations and integration challenges.

Keenan kicked off the webinar by talking about the number of different ways Lync can be integrated into Avaya:

  • Direct SIP (Enteprise Voice)
  • Remote Call Control (CSTA)
  • Client Side Plug-In

He also discussed Lync Mediation Server, which is required for both the Enterprise Voice workload and for PSTN dial-in conferencing workload, and it allows for connectivity to PBX’s, PSTN Gateways, SBCs or SIP Trunk providers. When it came to Avaya integration best practices, the session covered call quality and prioritization planning, audio conferencing planning, and voicemail planning. Jason wrapped up the webinar with an in depth review of the considerations and integration challenges – simultaneous ringing between Lync and Avaya, remote call control, Avaya Agile Communication Environment (ACE), and finally, Lync Call Admission Control (CAC).

This post is merely a summary of the session, which was chock full of information for those looking to integrate the two technologies. You can watch the webinar replay here. Read the rest of this post »

Getting Started With Power BI, pt. 2

Last week, I posted part one of our Power BI Primer series discussing access and basic administration. This week we’re bringing you Part Two.

If you are an Office365 customer, then you have almost certainly heard about (if not seen) Power BI.

The cloud-based analytics and collaboration platform from Microsoft has some pretty amazing features, and really extends the Microsoft BI platform not only into the cloud but into a more self-service oriented mode.   However, one of the challenges to getting up and running on Power BI has been, well, knowing how to get up and running!

And that’s where we come in.

Perficient has created a 4-part video series that provides step-by-step instructions for getting your Power BI instance working for you. From getting your Power BI Site set up, to administering it, and connecting your Power BI workbooks to on-premises data sources — this series has got you covered!

So let’s take a look at Part 2: Power BI Administration and Permissions

This video takes a deeper look at administering Power BI Sites, including user permissions. This will cover some of the details of securing your Office 365 SharePoint Online site, and granting access to users.

Next time, we’ll get into using all aspects of Power BI data exploration and visualization. Cheers!