Trusty Office in an improved form? Microsoft promises cost reductions, mobility, flexibility, and outstanding availability of 99.9 percent. In this article our expert Torsten Schaper explains what needs to be taken into consideration when planning cloud and Microsoft Office 365 services. Let’s get started!
Office 365 services, software and additional services
Which Office 365 services will be used?
The first step in considering which Office 365 products and services to use is to decide which services (fig. 2) are useful additions, and which will be deployed as core services.
Do the client systems and the Office version support the selected Office services?
Which client system and Office version are in use? Most COMPAREX customers tend to have Office 2010 with Windows 7. So the pertinent question here is whether this is the ideal solution, or if it would be better to install Office 2013? What are the pros and cons? What needs to be taken into consideration during planning in terms of the client?
How will the use of on premise services (Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business) create dependencies?
- Archive system
- Integration of third-party products such as unified Messaging, CTI, Mail Disclaimer, Monitoring etc.
There must be absolute clarity in terms of any dependencies with other services used on premise. For instance, it is imperative to know in regard to any use of Skype for Business or a mail archive that is only partially migrated to the cloud whether these systems can be connected in future and to what extent there are any dependencies. There may also be dependencies to third-party products. For example, the integration of a central mail disclaimer or monitoring system needs to be well thought-out in advance.
How will software be shared in the company in regard to Office 365 Pro Plus?
Office 365 Pro Plus is an Office version requiring online activation. This way it is no longer necessary for companies to maintain a KMS service. The clients connect directly with the Office 365 service to activate the license. Now while this methodology may sound complex because each client will need an Internet connection, the advantage is that licenses can be assigned flexibly in the Office 365 portal. For instance, licenses can be removed if an employee leaves the company. This ensures that all Office 365 Pro Plus versions and services are immediately withdrawn from the respective user. By the same token, new employees can be quickly assigned the services they need, for example during merger projects.
What is important to consider and include in planning with regard to connections?
It is important at this point to consider connections to the local infrastructure in the event that identity management based on AD Connect Service and optimum ADFS have been implemented as a foundation for using Office 365. For instance, how will data transfer work if the Outlook or Skype for Business client is launched locally, but is intended to connect with an online service?
The following aspects need to be considered here:
- Network bandwidth (Internet, LAN, WAN)
- LAN and WAN latencies
- Provider interfaces to the MS Backbone
- Number of necessary TCP connections
- WEB proxy/exclusion for Office 365 URLs
- Reverse proxy (disclosure of the Exchange infrastructure)
- Firewall exceptions • Internet accesses in outside locations
- DNS name resolution (split DNS)
- SMTP routing