Tag Archives: move

Check Office 365 usage reports for user adoption insights

Administrators who move from Exchange Server to Exchange Online — or the full Office 365 suite — must learn new tools to manage these cloud services.

Many Exchange administrators spend a good amount of time managing and maintaining the messaging system, but very few monitor the overall usage of email and its components. They may inadvertently ignore low adoption rates and other issues experienced by users. Microsoft helps administrators generate a multitude of Office 365 usage reports to review and share with their teams to find ways to improve usage. These reports give the IT team access to information to address any questions or concerns around their security and end users’ adoption to their managers or business leaders.

For those who might have opted to move to Exchange Online or the Office 365 suite, one of the benefits of having their email stored in Microsoft’s cloud is the other services included with a subscription. A company that switches its email to Office 365 can also benefit from other cloud services, such as OneDrive, Skype for Business, Teams, SharePoint and Forms. One specific perk related to Exchange Online is administrators get visibility with usage reporting that was almost nonexistent in Exchange Server.

Office 365 usage reports bring clarity

When an organization moves its mail to an online host, many managers and leaders will want to know if their teams have adopted the new services and at what capacity. Usage reporting helps an organization determine the value of the switch to the cloud and provides insights such as:

  • what users need help with if they have a low adoption rate compared to other services;
  • the volume of email and interactions by users to see who are the biggest consumers of those workloads;
  • statistics on compliance to confirm users observe company policies; and
  • statistics on app usability across different platforms.

Interactive Microsoft Office 365 usage analytics in Power BI

One specific perk related to Exchange Online is administrators get visibility with usage reporting that was almost nonexistent in Exchange Server.

This report is available via a content pack in Power BI, which is Microsoft’s data visualization and reporting platform. This feature connects directly to the cloud offering’s back end, extracts the pertinent data and generates Office 365 usage reports in the form of interactive dashboards that are separated by workload, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Yammer and OneDrive.

Administrators do not need to be data experts or have extensive experience with report generation. The content pack simplifies the data collection work by offering several report templates, including a product usage report for a detailed look at the user activity in each service and a communication report, which pinpoints a user’s favorite service to stay in contact with.

Administrators can access the reports from mobile devices or the Power BI portal to share them with business leaders to highlight the overall adoption rate of the different Office 365 workloads.

Email activity reveals user patterns

Another standard report accessible from the Office 365 admin portal is the email activity report.

Exchange email activity report
Administrators can track the trends related to email on Exchange Online.

This page resides under the Reports section and shows the email volume summaries of each Exchange Online licensed user over several periods: seven, 30, 90 or 180 days. These activity reports show the amount of email read, sent and received over a particular period. If a user is receiving a lot of email but is not responding or reading much of it, it can indicate a need for additional training.

This report includes the option to export the results in a comma separated file to import into a spreadsheet for further inspection.

MyAnalytics reporting for individual email behaviors

For users who want an analysis of their work habits related to email and time management, Microsoft offers a feature called MyAnalytics, which reports on their patterns with Exchange Online. MyAnalytics measures time spent checking email throughout the day and how much focus time a user has. MyAnalytics offers suggestions on ways employees can be more efficient and productive with their time on the job to avoid burnout.

MyAnalytics reports are accessible from Office 365 Delve or can be delivered via email weekly.

Security & Compliance Center reports

One area where an Exchange administrator can never rest is security, considering most data breaches occur through a phishing attempt.

Exchange Online admins can see the threats targeting their users through the Security & Compliance Center. The reports identify the different types of attacks and potential data leaks affecting the organization. Some reports include details on the campaigns that target the leaders of the organization, spoof detection, spam detection as well as possible data leakage when sensitive information is sent outside the network. To access the dashboards, go to the Reports > Dashboard section in the Security & Compliance Center.

Administrators with some programming skills and more advanced needs can generate customized reports with the Graph API to pull raw data for more detailed information. For example, administrators can pull out granular statistics from Office 365 about the different ways users are retrieving email from Outlook, such as a Windows browser or the Android app.

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Cisco’s acquisition of Acacia bolsters service provider offerings

Cisco plans to acquire Acacia Communications for $2.6 billion, a move that would make Cisco a direct supplier of packet-optical transport systems for carrier networks and organizations that connect data centers across hundreds of miles.

Cisco announced the pending purchase on Tuesday in a joint statement with Acacia, based in Maynard, Mass. The companies expect to close the Cisco acquisition in the first half of next year.

Cisco offers Acacia’s packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) with networking gear it sells today to carriers, cloud service providers and the largest enterprises. Cisco rivals Juniper Networks and Huawei are also Acacia customers, and analysts expect them to eventually turn to other P-OTS suppliers, such as Ciena, Inphi and Nokia.

“If I’m a Juniper or a Huawei, why would I buy from Cisco?” said Rajesh Ghai, an analyst at IDC.

Bill Gartner, general manager of Cisco's optical systems groupBill Gartner

Nevertheless, Acacia customers can expect from Cisco the same level of support that they receive today and equal access to products, said Bill Gartner, general manager of the vendor’s optical systems group.

“If we’re going to make this successful, we have to make sure that we’re providing the technology to third parties that they want to consume at the time they want to consume it and at the right performance and price point,” Gartner said. “I don’t think we could make this successful more broadly if we give Cisco preference on any of those parameters.”

Reasoning behind Cisco acquisition

Cisco has agreed to acquire Acacia because the company’s optical interconnect technology will let Cisco help customers design networks that can keep pace with the projected increase in data traffic. Cisco has predicted that annual global IP traffic will increase from 1.5 zettabytes in 2017 to 4.8 zettabytes by 2022. Contributors to the traffic surge include internet growth, video content delivery and emerging next-generation wireless technology to support more demanding business applications.

Today, Cisco’s proprietary optical transport technology ends in the data center, where analysts expect port speeds of 100 Gbps and 400 Gbps to become commonplace over the next couple of years. To meet that emerging demand, Cisco this year completed the $660 million acquisition of silicon photonics company Luxtera.

With Acacia, Cisco will also own the optical technology for service providers that need high-speed connections for metropolitan area networks or data centers as far as 1,500 miles apart.

“Our optics business today is primarily addressing what’s happening inside the data center — short-reach optics,” Gartner said during a conference call with financial analysts. “We don’t have a portfolio today that addresses what happens outside the data center for pluggables.”

Acacia’s portfolio includes pluggables, which are optical modular transceivers that vendors can sell as a plugin for a router or switch. The pluggable architecture, which is in its infancy, promises to simplify upgrading and repairing transceivers in networking gear.

John Burke, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill., said Acacia could help Cisco “stay dominant in large data center markets long term,” while also providing some technical advantages over Arista, Juniper and Huawei.

“I suspect it will also give a boost to some smaller optical companies and trigger at least one more acquisition — perhaps by Arista,” Burke said.

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For Trade – My 2017 iMac (Loaded) for your LG UltraFine 5k x 2 or 4k x 3 displays (or one or two plus cash).

Hello all,

Recently upgraded my on the move 2013 13″ Retina MacBook Pro to a 2017 15″ Retina MacBook Pro (2.9GHZ i7, 16GB Ram, 512GB storage, Radeon Pro 560) and the iMac didn’t get that much use before and now it pretty much has no use as with the screen being larger than my previous I’m quite happy with it being my main machine.

I the iMac specs are as follows:

  • 27″ 5K display
  • 4.2 up to 4.5GHZ i7
  • 8GB Ram (ordered the base amount as was going to upgrade myself saving £££ from apple to never got around to it)
  • 512GB Flash Storage
  • Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB VRAM
  • Magic Mouse 2 and Apple keyboard
  • Have the original Apple Box etc and the computer is in perfect working order (photos to follow).
  • It was bought on the 10/08/17 so just out of warranty but is in perfect working order.

Im ideally looking to trade for two LG UltraFine 5k displays or three 4k displays. If you have less then the monitor plus cash my way. Not looking to trade for anything else.

Price and currency: £1750
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT
Location: South Cumbria, just off Junction 36 on the M6
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Explore the Cubic congestion control provider for Windows

Administrators may not be familiar with the Cubic congestion control provider, but Microsoft’s move to make this the default setting in the Windows networking stack means IT will need to learn how it works and how to manage it.

When Microsoft released Windows Server version 1709 in its Semi-Annual Channel, the company introduced a number of features, such as support for data deduplication in the Resilient File System and support for virtual network encryption.

Microsoft also made the Cubic algorithm the default congestion control provider for that version of Windows Server. The most recent preview builds of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 (Long-Term Servicing Channel) also enable Cubic by default.

Microsoft added Cubic to Windows Server 2016, as well, but it calls this implementation an experimental feature. Due to this disclaimer, administrators should learn how to manage Cubic if unexpected behavior occurs.

Why Cubic matters in today’s data centers

Congestion control mechanisms improve performance by monitoring packet loss and latency and making adjustments accordingly. TCP/IP limits the size of the congestion window and then gradually increases the window size over time. This process stops when the maximum receive window size is reached or packet loss occurs. However, this method hasn’t aged well with the advent of high-bandwidth networks.

For the last several years, Windows has used Compound TCP as its standard congestion control provider. Compound TCP increases the size of the receive window and the volume of data sent.

Cubic, which has been the default congestion provider for Linux since 2006, is a protocol that improves traffic flow by keeping track of congestion events and dynamically adjusting the congestion window.

A Microsoft blog on the networking features in Windows Server 2019 said Cubic performs better over a high-speed, long-distance network because it accelerates to optimal speed more quickly than Compound TCP.

Enable and disable Cubic with netsh commands

Microsoft added Cubic to later builds of Windows Server 2016. You can use the following PowerShell command to see if Cubic is in your build:

Get-NetTCPSetting| Select-Object SettingName, CcongestionProvider

Technically, Cubic is a TCP/IP add-on. Because PowerShell does not support Cubic yet, admins must enable it in Windows Server 2016 from the command line with the netsh command from an elevated command prompt.

Netsh uses the concepts of contexts and subcontexts to configure many aspects of Windows Server’s networking stack. A context is similar to a mode. For example, the netsh firewall command places netsh in a firewall context, which means that the utility will accept firewall-related commands.

Microsoft added Cubic-related functionality into the netsh interface context. The interface context — abbreviated as INT in some Microsoft documentation — provides commands to manage the TCP/IP protocol.

Prior to Windows Server 2012, admins could make global changes to the TCP/IP stack by referencing the desired setting directly. For example, if an administrator wanted to use the Compound TCP congestion control provider — which was the congestion control provider since Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 — they could use the following command:

netsh int tcp set global congestionprovider=ctcp

Newer versions of Windows Server use netsh and the interface context, but Microsoft made some syntax changes in Windows Server 2012 that carried over to Windows Server 2016. Rather than setting values directly, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2016 use supplemental templates.

In this example, we enable Cubic in Windows Server 2016:

netsh int tcp set supplemental template=internet congestionprovider=cubic

This command launches netsh, switches to the interface context, loads the Internet CongestionProvider template and sets the congestion control provider to Cubic. Similarly, we can switch from the Cubic provider to the default Compound congestion provider with the following command:

netsh int tcp set supplemental template=internet congestionprovider=compound

AT&T revives [email protected] UCaaS deal with RingCentral

In an unexpected move, AT&T will continue supporting and reselling RingCentral’s unified-communications-as-a-service platform as part of a new partnership targeting the large-enterprise market. 

AT&T had informed customers in January 2018 that, within a year, it would no longer support RingCentral’s [email protected], a cloud-based calling and messaging platform the carrier had been selling to small and midsize businesses.

But, this week, the two companies struck a new deal: AT&T will now start selling the UCaaS product to large enterprises, as well as SMBs. Scott Velting, an associate vice president with AT&T, attributed the about-face to “rapidly changing market dynamics and technological advances.”

RingCentral previously purchased AT&T’s customer licenses for [email protected] in an agreement worth up to $26 million. The startup cautioned investors that revenue could be “significantly and adversely affected” if too many of those customers declined to transition from AT&T to RingCentral.

While some of those customers have already migrated, the businesses that have not yet switched will be able to remain on the [email protected] platform through AT&T, RingCentral said.

Leading up to the earlier decision to end the partnership, [email protected] sales had stagnated, with an “immaterial” number of new subscriptions sold in all of 2017, according to RingCentral. Sales through the AT&T channel accounted for 11% of RingCentral’s revenue that year — down from 14% in 2016. 

With the new deal announced this week, the technology behind [email protected] is the same, but RingCentral appears to have developed a more robust strategy for working with service-provider partners like AT&T, said Jeremy Duke, founder and chief analyst at Synergy Research Group, based in Reno, Nevada.

RingCentral is “currently growing at more than the average growth rate for the UCaaS market, and they want to continue that growth,” Duke said. “And they see the AT&T relationship as very important to continue building that momentum.”

RingCentral has more than doubled its revenue over the past three years, from $220 million in 2014 to $501 million last year, according to federal regulatory filings.

“I think this move helps RingCentral in its efforts to move upmarket. We continue to see RingCentral posting strong growth numbers; this expanded partnership should only help,” said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

AT&T partners with several other UCaaS vendors, including Cisco and BroadSoft, which was recently acquired by Cisco. It also has its own cloud communications platform, AT&T Collaborate.

Vendors target large enterprises with UCaaS

While SMBs drove most of the initial growth of the UCaaS market, more and more enterprises are also now buying cloud calling plans.

UCaaS sales in the enterprise market are growing at twice the rate of sales in the SMB market, according to data released last month by Synergy. There are now nearly 8 million UCaaS seats worldwide, a twofold increase since late 2015, the firm said.

As of the second quarter of 2018, RingCentral remains the leader, with an 18% market share, trailed by Mitel at 16%, 8×8 at 13%, Cisco at 7%, and Vonage at 7%, according to Synergy. Mitel recently acquired UCaaS vendor ShoreTel.

Still, UCaaS platforms account for less than 10% of the total PBX market, according to Synergy.

“Our data shows that larger enterprises are still laggards when it comes to adopting UCaaS, but interest continues to grow,” Lazar said.

Windows troubleshooting tools to improve VM performance

Whether virtualized workloads stay on premises or move to the cloud, support for those VMs remains in the data center with the administrator.

When virtualized workloads don’t perform as expected, admins need to roll up their sleeves and break out the Windows troubleshooting tools. Windows has always had some level of built-in diagnostic ability, but it only goes so deep.

Admins need to stay on top of ways to analyze ailing VMs, but they also need to find ways to trim deployments to control resource use and costs for cloud workloads.

VM Fleet adds stress to your storage

VM Fleet tests the performance of your storage infrastructure by simulating virtual workloads. VM Fleet uses PowerShell to create a collection of VMs and run a stress test against the allocated storage.

This process verifies that your storage meets expectations before deploying VMs to production. VM Fleet doesn’t help troubleshoot issues, but it helps confirm the existing performance specifications before you ramp up your infrastructure. After the VMs are in place, you can use VM Fleet to perform controlled tests of storage auto-tiering and other technologies designed to adjust workloads during increased storage I/O.

VM Fleet tests the performance of your storage infrastructure by simulating virtual workloads.

Sysinternals utilities offer deeper insights

Two Windows troubleshooting tools from the Microsoft Sysinternals collection, Process Explorer and Process Monitor, should be staples for any Windows admin.

Process Explorer gives you in-depth detail, including the dynamic link library and memory mapped files loaded by a process. Process Explorer also lets you dig in deep to uncover issues rather than throwing more resources at an application and, thus, masking the underlying problem.

Process Explorer
Process Explorer lets administrators do a technical deep dive into Windows processes that the Task Manager can’t provide.

Process Monitor captures real-time data of process activity, and Registry and file system changes on Windows systems. It also provides detailed information on the process trees.

Administrators can use Process Monitor’s search and filtering functions to help administrator focus on particular events that occur over a longer period of time.

VMMap and RAMMap detail the memory landscape

Another Sysinternals tool called VMMap shows what types of virtual memory is assigned to a process and its committed memory, which is the virtual memory reserved by the operating system. This tool shows where allocated memory is used with a visual presentation.

VMMap measurements
VMMap shows how the operating system maps physical memory and uses memory in the virtual space to help administrators analyze how applications work with memory resources.

VMMap doesn’t check the hypervisor layer, but it does detail virtual memory use provided by the OS. Combined with other tools that view the hypervisor, VMMap gives a complete picture of the applications’ memory usage.

Another tool called RAMMap is similar to VMMap, but it works at the operating system level rather than the process level. Administrators can use both tools to get a complete picture of how applications are getting and using the memory.

BgInfo puts pertinent information on display

BgInfo is a small Sysinternals utility that displays selected system information on the desktop, such as the machine name, IP address, patch version and storage information.

While it’s not difficult to find these settings, making them more visible can help when you log into multiple VMs in a short amount of time. It’s also helpful to avoid installations on the wrong VM or even rebooting the wrong VM.

For Sale – HP Officejet Pro 6970 plus 7 Genuine Ink Cartridges

Following a move of office, I’m selling the following items:-

1. HP Officejet Pro 6970 All in One Printer, Scanner, Fax, Copier. Approximately 6 months old and boxed in original packaging. Great condition. Will come with the following ink, 1 large capacity Black and 6 normal capacity colour (2 of each colour) plus the cartridges that are currently in the printer. All genuine HP Ink.

Price: £120 delivered for the bundle.

2. Creative Gigaworks T20 Series II speakers. In great condition, are a few years old now but working perfectly. Have really only been used to office teleconferences etc and very occasional background music. Boxed in original packaging.

Price: £30 delivered. SOLD

3. Panasonic KX-TG8061E Cordless Telephone and Answering machine – in white. Great condition again. Not in original box (unless I can find it in the garage at home!).

Price: £12.50 delivered.

Price and currency: £various
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT
Location: Saltash
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – HP Officejet Pro 6970 plus 7 Genuine Ink Cartridges

Following a move of office, I’m selling the following items:-

1. HP Officejet Pro 6970 All in One Printer, Scanner, Fax, Copier. Approximately 6 months old and boxed in original packaging. Great condition. Will come with the following ink, 1 large capacity Black and 6 normal capacity colour (2 of each colour) plus the cartridges that are currently in the printer. All genuine HP Ink.

Price: £120 delivered for the bundle.

2. Creative Gigaworks T20 Series II speakers. In great condition, are a few years old now but working perfectly. Have really only been used to office teleconferences etc and very occasional background music. Boxed in original packaging.

Price: £30 delivered. SOLD

3. Panasonic KX-TG8061E Cordless Telephone and Answering machine – in white. Great condition again. Not in original box (unless I can find it in the garage at home!).

Price: £12.50 delivered.

Price and currency: £various
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT
Location: Saltash
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

StorageCraft update adds converged appliance, data protection

In a move that was hinted at earlier this year, the latest StorageCraft update revamps the OneBlox and ShadowProtect products into the new OneXafe and ShadowXafe. More than just a name change, both products bring significant changes, bringing together primary, secondary and cloud storage, and the means to back them up onto a single platform.

With OneXafe, the StorageCraft update integrates the OneBlox scale-out storage appliance with the company’s backup and data protection software. StorageCraft acquired object storage vendor Exablox in 2017 for its OneBlox platform.

“We’ve taken the technology and the products we bought through the Exablox acquisition, which is mainly the scale-out storage for primary and secondary markets, and tightly integrating that with the data protection technologies from StorageCraft,” said Shridar Subramanian, vice president of marketing and product management at StorageCraft Technology Corp.

OneXafe will come in HDD-equipped 4400-series models, which start at $14,000 for 144 TB, and all-flash 5400-series models, which start at $38,000 for 38 TB. They will be available later this year.

The StorageCraft update revamps ShadowProtect as well, with the new ShadowXafe. This data protection software product is tightly integrated with the company’s existing cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) offering and boasts a near-instant recovery from physical or virtual machines. ShadowXafe’s features also include agentless support for virtual environments, service-level agreement-driven backup policy orchestration, and the ability to recover to dissimilar physical or virtual environments. The ShadowXafe software is currently available.

Screenshot of ShadowXafe dashboard
ShadowXafe’s dashboard

Although ShadowXafe makes up the data protection component of the total OneXafe package, both products can be purchased independently. ShadowXafe is hardware-agnostic and can be deployed to any system, and OneXafe without ShadowXafe is essentially a OneBlox appliance with hardware upgrades.

Render of OneXafe 4400 Series and 5410
OneXafe 4400 Series and 5410

Targeting the midsize enterprise, the StorageCraft update was designed to be easy to deploy. “We’ve made something that’s easy to manage and something that does primary, secondary and data protection,” Subramanian said.

With other vendors, IT administrators would have to pick out those three components piecemeal and then figure out how to build a backup infrastructure with them, effectively becoming “pseudo-system integrators,” according to Subramanian. “With our system, they don’t have to worry about any of those things. They can just put these solutions in play. It is a plug-and-play model, and they can grow capacity and protection capabilities as the need arises,” he said.

According to Amita Potnis, research manager at IDC, StorageCraft has had a history of enticing the midsize market with its object storage, which scales better than file-based systems.

“Generally speaking, when using a file-based storage environment, they probably will not have the ability to scale to the extent that an object store does,” she said. “I think having the ability to scale dramatically, and easily, and affordably, it would help midsize customers especially.”