Microsoft Enterprise Technologies http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft Perficient is proud to be partnered with Microsoft Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:43:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Copyright © Microsoft Community 2011 gserafini@gmail.com (Microsoft Enterprise Technologies) gserafini@gmail.com (Microsoft Enterprise Technologies) 1440 http://www.perficient.com/About/~/media/Images/About/perficient_logo_small.jpg Microsoft Enterprise Technologies http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft 144 144 Perficient is proud to be partnered with Microsoft Microsoft Enterprise Technologies Microsoft Enterprise Technologies gserafini@gmail.com no no Pros and Cons of Cross Site Publishing http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/23885/ http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/23885/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:00:33 +0000 http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/?p=23885 Confused when to use cross site publishing? When does it bring you the most value? Or how does it fit in your content strategy and information architecture?sharepoint-logo

Cross site publishing has been around since the launch of SharePoint 2013. I’ve seen various implementations and variations of it over the years but never surprised when I see the reasons behind those implementations. Many a times it’s the coolness factor of utilizing this framework. I have had the honors (ha) of being an early adopter of this framework and during last few years have been exposed with the nuts and bolts of this feature. In this article, I’ll share my thoughts on why and when to use or not use cross site publishing with real world scenarios. Before we being let’s see what cross site publishing really is and how it works. According to TechNet, It lets you create and maintain content in one or more authoring site collections, and publish this content across one or more publishing site collections, by using Search Web Parts. Cross-site publishing (XSP) lets you store and maintain content in one or more authoring site collections, and display this content in one or more publishing site collections

Do you know what your problem is?

Understand your content authors and understand the process which brings the most value to your corporate publishing. This and the next two sections will help you decide if XSP is for you.

What scenarios does it fit?XSP

  • It makes a great candidate when you have articles which are tagged and categorized with topics. It allows you to separate content authoring from the display templates and page layouts used in the article presentation. So instead of ending up with hundreds of exponentially growing  unique pages in a Pages library, the publishing site will contain only two dynamic pages: the CatalogCategory page and the CatalogItem page.
  • If you are in a situation where your content authors need an environment to get a head start while you develop and construct the publishing portal, then XSP is a great candidate for you.

What scenarios are NOT a good fit?

This is where it gets interesting.

  • If you can’t double or even triple your upfront design, architecture, and setup time in your build phase, then it is not for you.
  • If you don’t love managed navigation and term sets, this is not for you. It adds extra complexity to your design by not allowing you to have one term for multiple categories. You will need to define a new term for each new product/article category.
  • If you have multiple content authors in multiple geographical locations and no time for training, this approach is not for you.  The tendency to look for content in libraries is hard to overcome. Also, when managed navigation is in play, vanity URLs can make it difficult to track down source content.
  • Moving from DEV to TEST to PROD is extra effort. You’ll need to recreate all your catalogs or create a PowerShell script to do that.
  • If you use a analytics product and wish to track unique visitors, and track page visits, it can get tricky and the product may not support this architecture. Check with your analytics vendor before implementing cross site publishing or possibly do a proof of concept.
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O365 & Azure: PIH’s New Tools in the Fight for Global Health http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/o365-azure-pihs-new-tools-in-fight-for-global-health/ http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/o365-azure-pihs-new-tools-in-fight-for-global-health/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:14:45 +0000 http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/?p=23750 Partners in Health’s mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in healthcare. By establishing long-term relationships with sister organizations based in settings of poverty, Partners In Health (PIH) strives to achieve two overarching goals: to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need and to serve as an antidote to despair.

PIH draws on the resources of the world’s leading medical and academic institutions to expand access to high-quality care for poor and marginalized patients throughout the world. The root of their mission is both medical and moral, based on solidarity rather than charity alone.

Chris Sweeney / Partners In Health

Chris Sweeney / Partners In Health

Perficient is assisting PIH with their migration to Microsoft’s Office 365 (O365) solution. O365 will allow users to access their email from anywhere in the world on any computer or mobile device with access to the Internet. OneDrive for O365 will enhance collaboration between all PIH users, both domestically and internationally. The platform will provide PIH with a reliable and secure communication toolbox, including storage and collaboration tools. Deployment of O365 across PIH sites in Africa, Haiti, Russia, and the U.S. will enable PIH’s mission to provide a preferential option for the poor in healthcare  and will be an important tool to enhance communication as they respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The current Ebola outbreak is a global challenge and will require collaboration from many players. PIH, which has said it is “radically invitational” and is seeking partners to help respond, recently explained in a blog post that it is

working alongside two outstanding grassroots organizations—Last Mile Health in Liberia and Wellbody Alliance in Sierra Leone. These longtime PIH partners are already working to train health workers, identify sick patients, and deliver quality care. As the epidemic advances, these groups need support to provide comprehensive prevention, care, and treatment.”

Why will Office 365 have an impact?

Enabling a global collaboration and communication platform will allow PIH to share information seamlessly with colleagues, partners and all involved in the fight against disease in developing countries while helping to further PIH’s ability to deliver community based care.  Cloud based storage means that documents can be accessed at any time from any device in any setting, including those where bandwidth is limited.

Identity Management using Microsoft AzureAzure Diagram

Perficient has architected PIH’s cloud identity management by deploying several components in Azure including the following:

• O365 Directory Synchronization Server: to synchronize PIH user information with O365
• End User and O365 Management Server: to provide remote technical leads around the world with the capability to manage end users in their respective countries
• Domain Controllers: to provide geographic resiliency for Active Directory

The use of Azure will take PIH out of the server management business and allow them to focus on delivering healthcare.

Global Rollout of Office 365

Perficient and PIH have completed a rollout of Office 365 Exchange Online to the PIH domestic users and are in the process of initiating an international pilot with Haiti and Rwanda. In future blog posts we’ll showcase the impact Office 365 is having on PIH’s capability to collaborate globally and the positive effects this is providing to PIH’s most remote locations.

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The CIO’s Guide to Understanding Microsoft Cloud Services http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/the-cios-guide-to-understanding-microsoft-cloud-services/ http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/the-cios-guide-to-understanding-microsoft-cloud-services/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:34:43 +0000 http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/?p=23867 Over the last few years, the software market has changed shape. According to Joanne Correia, research vice president at Gartner, the cloud is the main driver behind that change.

Given this, over the same time period, azureit makes sense to see Microsoft moving its core business functions to the cloud (and the other major software vendors doing the same). While this is hardly a revelation, if you haven’t yet taken a hard look at the cloud, and what it has to offer your business – now is probably a good time.

Perficient recently published a new white paper, “The CIO’s Guide to Understanding Microsoft Cloud Services,” for executives who are examining Microsoft’s cloud service offerings (Azure, Office 365, Project Online, TFS Online, Dynamics CRM Online) as a way to contain and scale back exploding IT costs and become more nimble.

The guide begins by reviewing some common terms and concepts before diving into deeper cloud-related concepts. It goes on to discuss the changing datacenter and then evaluates both Azure and Office 365, in terms of capabilities as well as security, privacy and compliance. Finally, the guide includes steps to get you started with Microsoft cloud services.

To learn more about Microsoft’s cloud-based services, and see how your organization can benefit from Azure and Office 365, download the new guide from our Microsoft cloud experts.

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IBM and Microsoft Announce Cloud Partnership http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/ibm-and-microsoft-announce-cloud-partnership/ http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/ibm-and-microsoft-announce-cloud-partnership/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:00:29 +0000 http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/?p=23861 Yesterday, IBM and Microsoft announced a cloud partnership that will bolster both company’s cloud offerings. We have a larger write up on the details and my initial take on it over in the Portal and Social Blog. From what we can tell, both IBM and Microsoft are excited about the opportunity. While many view them as competitors, in reality, the overlap wasn’t as large as other companies. The ability to share capabilities where there are gaps and the ability to fill holes in each others cloud offering makes sense. Here’s an overview:

  • Microsoft Azure will be able to host
    • WebSphere Middleware like MQ and WebSphere Liberty (lightweight and mobile friendly java app server)
    • DB2
    • Everything will be certified and supported by IBM. This includes support for images within Hyper-V
  • IBM will be able to host
    • Windows Server
    • SQL Server

Here’s a bit on my take as well:

While the IBM and Microsoft news is new, the partnership approach among legacy software vendors is not new. (See Oracle, Salesforce, Microsoft news)  The article correctly states the pressure being put upon both Microsoft and IBM by the likes of Amazon and Google. Yes, Microsoft has poured billions into a strong Office 365 SaaS offering and in Azure. Yes, Azure is worth more than a billion dollars to Microsoft right now. IBM bought Softlayer which is known for being an easy to use and manage IaaS / PaaS play. IBM is also in the process of putting every piece of software they own on Softlayer.  If there’s a cloud play  at IBM, it’s going on Softlayer.

However, both Microsoft and IBM have a problem. What do you do when a client says they have Java apps on Linux or some .net apps on C#? What do you do when SQL Server or DB2 is involved? Well, you could order up another cloud service that supports either of those options or you partner with your sometimes nemesis to put together a more comprehensive offering. Obviously, Microsoft and IBM have chosen the latter.

Head on over to the post for a little more detail.

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Power BI Primer – 4 part series http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/power-bi-primer-4-part-series/ http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/power-bi-primer-4-part-series/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:54:14 +0000 http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/?p=23829 In previous posts we’ve discussed how to introduce advanced analytics into your BI platform and along the way we introduced several new technologies. These technologies range from self-service query tools to cloud-based visualizations. Even though the previous scenario was based on the Healthcare industry, the concepts and technologies can be applied across all industries.

But how do you get started exploring these new technologies? Use this 4 part series as your guide:

Video 1 – Introduction to Power BI

Video 2 – Administration and Permissions in Power BI

Video 3 – Data Exploration and Visualization in Power BI

Video 4 – Data Management Gateway for Power BI

Also, don’t forget to register below for our upcoming webinar on implementing hybrid architectures in your organization!

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Introducing the Yammer Share Button http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/introducing-the-yammer-share-button/ http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/introducing-the-yammer-share-button/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:08:32 +0000 http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/?p=23823 We’ve all seen the social media buttons on websites or blogs that are used to share content to another site. If you are unfamiliar, check out the buttons to the right of this blog post.

Today, Microsoft has introduced this functionality for Yammer! Read the full announcement here.

ShareIconMarquee_FINALbYou can now share useful web content directly with your network. All you need to do is embed some simple code into your website to enable the sharing. It does not require any advanced skills or developer application registration with Yammer, so you will be able to get up to speed very quickly.

Check out the full details on the Yammer Developer site.

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Office 365 – How to Stay Informed of Changes http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/office-365-how-to-stay-informed-of-changes/ http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/office-365-how-to-stay-informed-of-changes/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:00:42 +0000 http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/?p=23773 As a consultant in our Office 365 practice, part of my role includes keeping up with the constant changes and features being added to the service by Microsoft.

When I worked with on-premises versions of Exchange and Lync, it was fairly easy to keep on top of things. You knew when changes came as they arrived in the form of an update that you or your client had to install. Office 365 - How to Stay Informed of  ChangesOutside of major service packs, you generally just had bug fixes with the occasional minor feature added in between. While the update release cadence has increased in recent years, each version of Exchange still receives only a couple of major service packs before the next version is released.

Office 365 is often referred to as “evergreen” meaning that it’s always the latest and greatest; it feels at times that there are changes occurring weekly. Trying to consume all the information about changes across the various workloads can be like drinking from a fire hose and you can quickly start to feel overwhelmed. Below are some sources that I use to stay aware of these changes and methods I use to sort through the information.

We live in a time where the amount of information available at your fingertips is endless and the general expectation is that it should all disseminated in near real-time. As a result, I find it becomes important to be tactical in the information sources you use, otherwise you’re just overloaded.

How to Follow

Most of my sources have RSS feeds and that’s what I use whenever possible. If you’re not familiar with RSS, it’s that little orange square with the circular bands (you’ll probably see one to the left of this post). While I’ve read some reports that RSS usage is on the decline, I find it incredibly useful for what I use it for.

There are an endless number of RSS clients out there, including Outlook. Given the amount of data, I like to have it available on my mobile devices so it’s always available. When I have a few minutes standing in line somewhere, I’ll pop open the app and go through a few feeds, “starring” the items I might want to dig into deeper later or share with my team.

I’ve tried at least a dozen mobile applications but have used “Feeddler Pro” (iOS) for the past several years. The way it and a few others work is they connect to a back end RSS feed aggregator site. I used “Google Reader” as this source up until it was shut down and now I use “The Old Reader” which is basically just a barebones aggregator supported by Feeddler. With the combination of Feeddler and the aggregator service, posts that I read on the website, phone or tablet all stay in sync.

For RSS feeds that have more time sensitive and critical information, I’ll add these RSS feeds to Outlook so they get the same attention as my email. I try to keep that list of feeds small otherwise the important data gets lost in the middle of data that is perhaps just interesting.

What to Follow

My Office 365 sources generally include the following:

  • Official Microsoft Sources
  • Blogs
  • Twitter
  • Yammer
  • Podcasts
  • User Groups

Official Microsoft Sources

Office 365 Roadmap: One of the first places you should probably be watching is the Office 365 Roadmap website. This site provides a summary of features that are in a status of “Launched”, “Rolling Out”, “In Development” or “Canceled”. Generally you won’t find specific dates as the updates are rolled out over a period of time but it gives you a good idea of what’s on the horizon.

Microsoft Team Blogs: There’s no shortage of blogs written by various Microsoft employees, my focus is predominately with those by the various product teams.

Here are some of the blogs that I follow:

  • The Exchange Team Blog: Covers both on-premises Exchange and Exchange Online; definitely one of the best and most technical blogs from Microsoft.
  • Office Blogs: This is where you find most of the new functionality announcements when it comes to Office 365. Some other blogs like the former Lync Team Blog were consolidated into this blog so it’s a bit of dumping ground for all products but the site is searchable which helps.
  • Active Directory Documentation Team: Definitely more than just Active Directory, updated pretty regularly with content about AD FS, RMS and DirSync.
  • The Official Microsoft Rights Management: A pretty regularly updated blog about AD RMS and Azure RMS.
  • Active Directory Team Blog: Not surprising but more Azure AD than on-premises AD these days.

DirSync Version History Wiki: The dirsync.exe download changes pretty regularly behind the scenes (about 7 times in the last year) and it can easily go unnoticed unless you’re checking the version number of the installer. The Directory Sync Tool Version Release History Wiki is critical in keeping track of what new features might be available or what issues have been fixed in the latest version. The page has an RSS feed and it’s one I like to keep listed in Outlook.

Office 365 Community Forums: While the Service Health Dashboard in your tenant is the first place to go when suspecting an outage, the Office 365 Community Forums are worth checking out to see if others are experiencing similar symptoms as you.

Microsoft KB Articles: New or updated knowledgebase articles can be found by the associated RSS feed for each product. I find these are a nice “heads up” as to problems that might exist with a particular CU update that I’m looking to install.

Here are the ones that I watch:

If you’re only responsible for a couple of these products in your role, it might be worth promoting these to your Outlook shortlist. For a complete list of Microsoft KB feeds, check out the “RSS Feed Product Index“.

Office 365 IP Address Lists: The Office 365 URLs and IP Address Ranges site maintains a list of IPs used by Office 365. During your Office 365 implementation, it’s possible that you generated firewall rules off this list for things such as the EOP source IPs. Watching this list is important in ensuring issues do not arise from having stale firewall rules. Fortunately, this page has an RSS feed; it’s one that I would recommend adding to Outlook.

Blogs

I’m admittedly a blog junkie and follow way too many; a list here would go on forever. I’ve tried to reduce the list down to people that seem to produce original content or at least post regularly but the list is always growing. Seek out Microsoft MVPs and other industry experts, you’ll learn who is producing good material and who is just repeating posts from elsewhere. There are some people producing some really awesome and original content; hopefully my blog makes your list and you find it helpful.

A quick note to my fellow bloggers: One of the most difficult things is sorting through the massive amount of data available. I understand that producing original content takes more time than many might expect but “reblogging” content that has already been posted by an authoritative source just clutters up everyone’s feeds. I don’t need 100 posts that the next service pack for Exchange was released, I likely already read it on the Exchange Team Blog earlier in the morning. Let’s strive to focus on producing quality original content, not pushing out large quantities of repetitive information.

Twitter

I’ll periodically check #Office365, #MSExchange and #IamMEC to see if anyone has posted anything interesting. Usually it’s a link to a blog I’m already following but sometimes it’s a new one for me to check out. After all, with only 140 characters, you’re pretty limited in the information you can communicate. Occasionally some spam will show up in these feeds and you may have to adjust your search to filter it out but it eventually is blocked.

Yammer

The latest entry into the social rotation is Yammer. The Office 365 Technical Network on Yammer has groups related to new features in Office 365 and “ninja updates” found by end users that don’t seem to be documented elsewhere. There are over 20,000 participants in this network so the activity is pretty strong. It’s not designed to be a support site but there is a wealth of information regardless.

Podcasts

When I have a full hour to kill while driving or cutting the lawn, I’ll listen to Podcasts from one of two sources:

One podcast that is dedicated to Office 365 is the Office 365 FM podcast. It’s been a couple months since they’ve had a new episode so I hope they’re still active, I’m sure producing such a podcast takes a considerable amount of effort.

Another podcast that I listen to, while not dedicated to Office 365, is The UC Architects podcast. It’s predominate focus is on-premises installations of Exchange and Lync but there is still some Office 365 content from time to time.

User Groups

What better way to share information about Office 365 than talking with other Office 365 users or consultants? Yes, the long lost art of talking to real people, in person (or at least via a Lync call). Unfortunately there is not a user group dedicated to Office 365 locally for me, my understanding is there is a pretty strong presence in Boston, MA and in Sweden. I do participate in the “Office 365 International User Group” which takes place as a monthly Lync call and also participate in my local “Lync Users Group” as well. So ask around if there is a local group for you. …or maybe even start your own!

Other Sources

There are certainly other sources available. I’m told there are a few Facebook pages with good activity but I’m not a big fan of Facebook and don’t tend to frequent them. Microsoft has its “Curah!” site but I’ve yet to get involved there and I’m not sure what kind of adoption it’s really had. LinkedIn also has some groups with decent activity but the advertising and job recruiting posts clutter up the groups too much in my opinion.

Do you have any favorite sources that I should be aware of?

Summary

There’s no shortage of readily available information, the largest challenge is sorting through it. The above is what works for me in my specific role but may be light in some areas important to you. Use this as a starting point and it will likely lead you to additional sources to fill in the gaps.
 
Did you find this article helpful?

Leave a comment below or follow me on Twitter (@JoePalarchio) for additional posts and information on Office 365.


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Microsoft-Salesforce Integrations as Cloud Giants Shake Hands http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/microsoft-salesforce-integrations-as-cloud-giants-shake-hands/ http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/microsoft-salesforce-integrations-as-cloud-giants-shake-hands/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:08:29 +0000 http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/?p=23737 Microsoft and Salesforce has made significant progress to their strategic partnership announced in May. They unveiled new joint solutions—including Salesforce1 for Windows, Salesforce for Office, and Power BI for Office 365 and Excel integrations with Salesforce—at Dreamforce 2014. salesforce1microsoft1

The companies disclosed that in early 2015, they will release a Salesforce1 app for Windows Phone. Alongside, OneDrive will be linked to the Salesforce solutions. In addition, Office will also be incorporated with the Salesforce suite. Through the alliance, Microsoft will gain an opportunity to provide its user-friendly products to Salesforce users. Salesforce, on the other hand, will be able to sell its SaaS product in the more conservative enterprise channels, currently controlled by Microsoft.

The companies plan to integrate Salesforce into Office, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business on the Android and iOS platforms in the first half of 2015. Also, in the first half of 2015, the companies plan to ship a Salesforce app for Outlook. The second half of 2015 will also see a Salesforce1 app for Windows Phone along with a Salesforce app for Excel. Power BI for Office 365 and Excel integrations with Salesforce. With these new integrations, customers will be able to bi-directionally load data to Salesforce and Excel to build reports, visualize information and discover new insights.  Power BI integration with Salesforce is anticipated for the first half of 2015. A Salesforce app for Excel is anticipated for the second half of 2015.

Some key things to note for existing features (live and preview):

  • Linking is in future
  • You can’t post from Salesforce to SharePoint
  • Metadata updates made in Salesforce will stay in Salesforce.
  • Files integration with SharePoint (OneDrive) is now Live
  • Chatter and Search leverages SharePoint metadata and Security
  • Respects security and compliance of SharePoint
  • Files always remain in SharePoint, simply linked to Salesforce
  • Similar integration and experience is missing in SharePoint, but some web parts are available.

Salesforce1 for Outlook (2nd gen)

  • Built in latest integration
  • Does not require installation of client software
  • Works with outlook and OWA (require Exchange 2013 SP1)
  • Within a OWA message launch a Salesforce app. It’ll open up people, opportunities associated, accounts, cases etc. in a modal window. Early 2015 availability
  • Underlying Logic– similar to Delve. Predefined algorithm, will evolve as you go. It tracks each time an email is sent.
  • Pilot on calendar sync in near future.

At Perficient, we have award-winning Microsoft and Salesforce practices, and we are very excited for what this partnership brings to the table. Stay tuned for future updates to this blog as I get my hands on these integrations.

Follow Perficient’s Microsoft blog on Twitter via @Perficient_MSFT

Follow Perficient on LinkedIn here

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Upcoming Webinar: Planning for a Lync 2013 on a Global Scale http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/upcoming-webinar-planning-for-a-lync-2013-on-a-global-scale/ http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/upcoming-webinar-planning-for-a-lync-2013-on-a-global-scale/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/?p=23702 At Perficient, we communicate via Lync 2013. As an end user, I can’t say enough about the ability to use it from anywhere I have internet access to take calls, instant message colleagues, customers and partners, and to hold meetings with content sharing and video. Webinar_1Using Lync 2013 is a simple, easy process for me, whether from my computer or my phone, but I know that’s due in part to our implementation team spending the necessary time planning the solution design and preparing to implement.

When it comes to planning for a global Lync deployment, there is a lot more to take into consideration to get your core Lync Server 2013 infrastructure ready to support voice, video and content sharing capabilities. It’s important that you understand the impacts Lync Server 2013 can have on the global IT infrastructure’s network, security, telephony and virtualization.

To understand how to get “Lync Ready,” join Perficient’s Microsoft Certified Masters Jason Sloan and Keenan Crockett on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 1 p.m. CT for a webinar, How to Plan for a Lync Deployment on a Global Scale. They’ll cover topics like high-level server and pool design and placement, importance of the edge servers, the hardware vs. virtualized debate, and ultimately a high-level understanding of the impact Lync has on your network.

If you’d like to learn more about the topic, I recommend taking a look at a white paper that Jason recently authored, “The CIO’s Guide to a Lync Server 2013 Global Deployment.” You can download it here. In the guide, Jason addresses two key areas often overlooked by organizations during the planning stage: impact to server infrastructure and the impact to the network.

To register for the webinar, click here.
How to Plan for a Lync Deployment on a Global Scale
Thursday, October 30, 2014
1:00 p.m. CT

 

 

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Office 365 – Understanding Archiving in Lync Online http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/office-365-understanding-archiving-in-lync-online/ http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2014/10/office-365-understanding-archiving-in-lync-online/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:00:44 +0000 http://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/?p=23641 Understanding the archiving feature in Lync Online can be a bit confusing. Unlike an on-premises installation of Lync Server 2013, there is no option for storing archived data in SQL and thus the only option is integration with Microsoft Exchange.

Office 365 - Understanding Archiving in Lync OnlineWhile having only one option might sound like this should be easier to understand, a Lync Online user’s mailbox can fall into a number of categories depending on whether the mailbox is located on-premises or in Exchange Online. If the mailbox is located in the cloud, the mailbox licensing and archiving settings become relevant to its ability to retain Lync Online archive data.

Complicating the situation is that several articles and even Lync Online policies refer to “Conversation History” as “Archiving” when in fact they are completely separate concepts. With this article, I hope to clear up some of this confusion.

Conversation History vs Archiving

To start, I think it’s important to clarify the difference between the “Conversation History” and “Archiving” features.

Conversation History is dependent upon the Lync client’s integration with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange Web Services (EWS). This integration allows messages to be placed in the “Conversation History” folder in the user’s mailbox if selected to do so in the Lync client and if allowed by policy. The content that is retained is fairly limited and is basically the content of your IMs; there is no meeting content such as whiteboard data or file uploads saved here. Since this is a client side integration, if the connection breaks for some reason, the data might not be saved in the Conversation History folder.

Archiving uses the In-Place Hold functionality of the user’s mailbox to store retained data in the hidden “Recoverable Items” folder of the mailbox; this folder is not visible to the user and is accessed via the eDiscovery tools in Exchange. Archiving in Lync Online is considered “user-level archiving” meaning it is enabled/disabled at the user level, there is no option to enable it globally in the Lync Admin Center within Office 365. The content retained by Archiving includes whiteboard data and file uploads however it will not retain peer-to-peer file transfers, conferencing annotations, audio or video.

How to Enable Archiving in Lync Online

Now that we’ve established that Archiving uses the mailbox’s In-Place Hold feature, enabling Lync Online Archiving really becomes an Exchange task. If your organization separates Lync and Exchange management, it’s time to phone (or IM) your Exchange friend.

In Exchange Online, mailboxes can be placed on In-Place Hold using the Exchange Admin Center or via remote PowerShell. Before doing so, you’ll need to add yourself to the “Discovery Management” role in Exchange Online.

These links cover the process of placing a mailbox on In-Place Hold and selecting the “Lync Items” content:

Create or remove an In-Place Hold
New-MailboxSearch
Archive Lync conversations and meeting content to Exchange

A few things to know about In-Place Hold:

  • The Exchange Admin Center is limited to 500 mailboxes per hold whereas PowerShell allows up to 10,000 mailboxes. If you need to place more mailboxes on hold, multiple holds will need to be created.
  • In-Place Hold requires that the user is licensed with an E3, E4 or other license combination that allows for mailbox archiving (E1 does not allow for archiving on its own).
  • The “Recoverable Items” folder of a mailbox technically has a quota of 30 GB; this is separate from the normal 50 GB mailbox quota. This value can be increased by opening a support ticket. According to the Office 365 Roadmap, the quota is scheduled to be increased to 100 GB.

Accessing Archived Data

Now that we’re archiving Lync content, how can we access it? There are essentially two ways to access the data, both performed via the Exchange Admin Center: the eDiscovery search results of the In-Place Hold can be copied to a discovery mailbox or they can be exported to a PST.

Other Items of Importance

Below are a few other items of note related to Lync Online Archiving:

In-Place Hold Criteria
For some organizations, the desire is that Lync conversation data is not archived. While these organizations may have retention policies around email messages, it’s not uncommon for Lync conversation data to be treated differently. For these organizations, it is important that they do not select “Include All Content” when placing a mailbox on In-Place Hold; they will need to “Filter Based on Criteria” and select all message types except “Lync Items”.

Litigation Hold vs In-Place Hold
In-Place Hold was introduced with Exchange 2013 and “Wave 15” of Office 365; prior to that we had the feature “Litigation Hold”. Litigation Hold still exists today and is used by some organizations, especially those that have a requirement to place all mailboxes on hold. One of the main differences between Litigation Hold and In-Place Hold is that Litigation Hold places all mailbox data on hold. Despite this, this article states that a mailbox on Litigation Hold will not retain Lync archive data: Litigation Hold and In-Place Hold in Exchange 2013 and Exchange Online. My testing, however, has shown that this is not the case and that Litigation Hold does in fact retain Lync archive data. For organizations that are not expecting or do not want to retain Lync archive data, this could be an issue.

Archiving != Archiving
While Lync Online does not allow you to create client policies, there are a number of pre-defined policies that can be assigned to users. The names assigned to these policies are a bit misleading as they use the word “archiving” when they really mean “conversation history”. Even the property set by the client policy is ambiguous as setting the property “EnableIMAutoArchiving” to “False” disables “Conversation History”, not “Archiving”.

Meeting Content Retention
Completely independent of the Lync archiving is the retention period for Lync Online uploaded meeting content. Meeting content is retained for 15 days after the last person leaves the meeting with the exception of “Meet Now” meetings that retain data for 8 hours after the meeting end time.

On-Premises Mailboxes
If your mailbox is not located in Exchange Online, archive data cannot be retained for a Lync Online user. Conversation History will still continue to work.

Mobile Clients
The Microsoft documentation on the Lync Mobile Clients indicates that they do not support archiving. My experience, at least with the iOS client, is that IMs from mobile clients are in fact archived in Lync Online. Of course the article refers to “client-side archiving” so it’s not clear if we’re talking about “conversation history” or “archiving”.

Summary

  • Conversation History and Archiving are different in the content they retain and the accessibility by the end-user.
  • The task of archiving Lync Online data is really an Exchange task and is controlled through the In-Place Hold feature.
  • In-Place Holds or Litigation Holds placed on a mailbox could inadvertently archive Lync Online data if the hold criteria is not configured appropriately.
  • On-Premises mailboxes cannot be configured to store Lync Online archive data.
  • Lync Mobile Clients may archive IMs despite the documentation.

 
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