Tag Archives: onpremises

Breaking down the Exchange Online vs. on-premises choice

We all know the cloud is there, but how does an organization determine if a move from an on-premises platform is the right one?

Many companies currently using Exchange Server cannot escape from the siren call of the cloud. Untold numbers of organizations will weigh the pros and cons of Exchange Online vs. on-premises Exchange Server. There are many reasons to move to the cloud, just as there are ones to stay put.

Whether the cloud is better requires some deeper analysis. I’ve spent most of the last eight years migrating organizations of every size to Office 365. Over that time, I’ve grown familiar with the motivations to move to the cloud, as well as the ones to maintain the status quo.

This article will dig into the Exchange Online vs. on-premises Exchange Server debate and examine the differences between the two offerings, as well as which has the advantage in certain areas.

Is Exchange Online less expensive?

In many cases, the first selling point of Exchange Online is the cost. Since Exchange Online and Exchange on premises are very different, it’s difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison. To get started, you must look at several factors.

The first factor to weigh is how long you plan to keep your on-premises servers. If you upgrade your on-premises servers every three years, then it’s likely those costs will exceed the payments for Exchange Online. If you plan to keep your on-premises Exchange servers for 10 years, then you’ll likely pay considerably less than Exchange Online.

There are a number of costs associated with on-premises Exchange, such as hardware, electricity, data center space and repair costs. Due to all of these factors, the real answer is a lot more complicated than the de facto response from Microsoft that the cloud is always cheaper. Of course, it’s to the vendor’s benefit to get as many companies signed up for an Office 365 subscription as possible.

Is Exchange Online more reliable?

Just as there are several ways to look at the question of cost, it’s also difficult to determine reliability in the Exchange Online vs. on-premises equation.

Microsoft touts its 99.9% uptime guarantee for Office 365. Upon closer inspection, does that assurance hold up?

Open any Office 365 tenant at any time and look at the service health dashboard. Every tenant I check has items marked in red almost every day, but those customers still pay for the full subscription. I’m not saying Office 365 has a lot of downtime, but that 99.9% uptime guarantee is more gray than it is black and white.

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What are the perks and drawbacks
of a switch to hosted email?

As for on-premises Exchange, there is no way to evaluate the overall reliability of Exchange Server. I’ve seen organizations that almost never have problems, while others experience numerous major outages. I don’t think Office 365 is more reliable than on-premises Exchange, but my expectation is data loss is less likely with Exchange Online.

Exchange Server is a very complicated and difficult product to manage. Unless you have some very talented Exchange admins, Exchange Online is the more stable choice.

Do you get newer features with Exchange Online?

In this area, there is no doubt which platform has the advantage. Due to its nature as a cloud service, Exchange Online gets new features well before on-premises Exchange. Not only that, but there are many features that are exclusive to Exchange Online. For a company that wants all the latest and greatest features, the clear choice is Exchange Online.

Every organization has specific needs it must consider, and quite often the traditional on-premises mail system does the job.

However, there is a downside to the constant stream of new features. It can take time for both users and administrators to recover from the culture shock that sets in after the migration to Exchange Online when they realize the feature set changes constantly. There is always something new to learn. Many workers prefer to come into work without spending time to learn about new features in the email system.

What’s the final verdict?

Now that you’ve gone through the Exchange Online vs. on-premises deliberation, which is better? With the sheer number of factors to consider, there is no definitive answer.

Every organization has specific needs it must consider, and quite often the traditional on-premises mail system does the job. For example, a company that relies on public folders might see some difficulties migrating that feature to Exchange Online and decide to stay with the on-premises Exchange.

It’s no secret Microsoft wants its customers to move to the company’s cloud services, but they continue to develop on-premises versions of their software.

Microsoft plans to release Exchange 2019 later this year. When that offering arrives, take the time to evaluate all the features in that release and determine whether it’s worth moving to the cloud. For some organizations, on-premises email might continue to be a better fit.

The Microsoft Cloud can save customers 93 percent and more in energy and carbon efficiency

New report outlines how businesses moving from on-premises datacenters to the Microsoft Cloud can achieve sustainable innovation

REDMOND, Wash. — May 17, 2018 — A new report issued Thursday by Microsoft Corp. in partnership with WSP shows significant energy and carbon emissions reduction potential from the Microsoft Cloud when compared with on-premises datacenters. These gains, as much as 93 percent more energy efficient and as high as 98 percent more carbon efficient, are due to Microsoft’s extensive investments in IT efficiency from chip-to-datacenter infrastructure, as well as renewable energy.

“The world is producing more data than ever, making our infrastructure decisions about how to power this digital transformation incredibly important,” said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer, Microsoft. “Today’s report confirms what we’ve long believed — that investing in sustainability is good for business, good for customers and good for the planet.”

Specifically, the report found that cloud investments made by Microsoft in IT operational efficiency, IT equipment efficiency, datacenter infrastructure efficiency and renewable electricity were responsible for the environmental benefits. These efficiencies translate into both energy and carbon savings for Microsoft and customers using Microsoft Cloud services.

Microsoft Cloud services achieve energy and emissions reductions in comparison with every on-premises deployment scenario assessed — Microsoft Azure Cloud Compute, Azure Storage, Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.

With more regions than any other cloud provider, Microsoft provides cloud services to customers around the world. As customers across all industries move to the cloud, sustainability and environmental responsibility are key factors in their choice of cloud provider.

“Schneider Electric chose the Microsoft Cloud to power our numerous cloud-based offerings, and it has helped us achieve our goal of becoming a global leader in sustainable energy management,” said Michael MacKenzie, vice president, EcoStruxure Technology Platform – IoT & Digital Offers, Schneider Electric. “The fact that Microsoft shares our sustainability values and focus on decreasing environmental impact makes the company a natural partner for us.”

“When organizations choose low-carbon cloud computing, they are taking an important step forward on sustainability,” said Lance Pierce, president of CDP North America. “Sustainable digital transformation, powered by a cleaner cloud, enables the creation of a sustainable and thriving economy that works for people and planet in the long term.”

Learn more about the Microsoft’s investments and approach to sustainability in the cloud at https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/?p=58951. The report can be found in full at “The Carbon Benefits of Cloud Computing: A Study on the Microsoft Cloud.”

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications, (425) 638-7777,

rrt@we-worldwide.com 

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

 

The post The Microsoft Cloud can save customers 93 percent and more in energy and carbon efficiency appeared first on Stories.

The Best Infrastructure Management Services of 2018

IT management suites have evolved beyond on-premises equipment, spanning to virtualized cloud infrastructure, cloud services, mobile devices, and even Internet of Things mechanisms. We test the top network infrastructure management services to see how well they can handle their rapidly evolving mission.

SAP defends S/4HANA HCM upgrade amid questions

SAP’s new plan to extend on-premises ERP human capital management support from 2025 to 2030 is raising eyebrows. That’s because maintaining on-premises systems means migrating to S/4HANA HCM, which complicates the decision-making for on-premises users.

The upgrade won’t be available until 2023, and the license for the S/4HANA HCM only runs until “at least” 2030. This doesn’t prevent the vendor from extending support, but users, for now, don’t know.

SAP said it has about 14,000 on-premises HCM customers, with about 80% outside of North America.

SAP believes the S/4HANA HCM migration is best for these users, arguing that the upgrade cost will be offset by the benefits of the in-memory system.

But cloud-based SAP SuccessFactors remains the ultimate HCM upgrade path for its users. This means uncertainty about whether on-premises systems will continue.

“The important thing is that the intention for this is to make life easier for our customers so that they can run their business in the best possible way,” said Amy Wilson, an SAP product manager, in an interview. “It’s not something that we’ve concocted for any other purpose other than this is what our customers are asking for. We care about them, and we empathize with them,” she said.

But there are questions. “Simply extending support for the existing R/3 SAP HCM would probably be very difficult, especially as support has already been extended from 2020 to 2025,” said Paul Cooper, chairman of the U.K. and Ireland SAP User Group, in a statement in response to questions from TechTarget.

“At this stage, it is far enough out for SAP to be encouraging users to move to S/4, rather than extending the deadline further,” Cooper said.

User-group surveys “highlighted that many users have concerns regarding the integration of legacy [SAP HR] and new apps [SuccessFactors] with S/4HANA, so the S/4 HCM announcement does begin to help address this to an extent,” Cooper said.

But Cooper said the announcement also raises issues.

“However, without seeing the product and more information on its scope, it is difficult to judge the complexity of the migration,” Cooper said. “Projects of this nature are time-consuming, resource-hungry and, therefore, they can be disruptive to an organization. The question for a lot of organizations will be, are they prepared to buy and license ‘on-premises’ software that only has a potential life of seven years and won’t be available until 2023?”

Wilson said the upgrade to S/4HANA HCM should be “nondisruptive.”

It’s not something that we’ve concocted for any other purpose other than this is what our customers are asking for.
Amy Wilsonproduct manager at SAP

“In the on-premises world, there’s technical upgrades and then there’s functional upgrades. When you’re talking about a technical upgrade, there is some work to do and some testing and that sort of thing, but it’s more similar to a cloud update,” Wilson said.

SAP’s plan has drawn sharp criticism from Jarret Pazahanick, an SAP HCM consultant who is managing partner of EIC Experts, based in Houston. He also has a large following on his Global SAP and SuccessFactors LinkedIn groups.

Pazahanick said he believes SAP should have extended its support beyond 2025 for its HCM customers.

SAP’s action is “not customer-centric,” Pazahanick said in an email responding to TechTarget questions.

“They are asking loyal maintenance paying customers to wait at least five years [2023] to upgrade to a new SAP HCM on-premises ‘sidecar’ offering and take full ownership of the migration cost and risk associated with that,” Pazahanick said.

There is no native HCM in S/4HANA, hence the “sidecar” meaning. SAP HCM for S/4HANA will run on a separate instance, but tightly integrated with S/4HANA. SAP said it has the tools and services to support this approach.

“All SAP had to do was make an announcement of, ‘We will support SAP HCM and customers until 2030 on their current offering,’ which would have been simple, clear and, ultimately, what some portion of their customer base wants,” Pazahanick said.

Prepare for an upgrade to Exchange 2016 with these pointers

As a new version of Exchange Server draws near, an enterprise with an on-premises messaging platform must decide…

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if it will upgrade, migrate to the cloud or wait until the next major release of Exchange.

Many organizations that choose to stay on premises generally make this determination due to business requirements or to prolong a significant investment in infrastructure. Some enterprises might hold off on an upgrade to Exchange 2016 since Exchange 2019 isn’t far off — Microsoft says to expect a final release at the end of 2018.

If a business recently moved to Exchange 2013, it may prefer to stay on premises until this new version arrives. But the tradeoff is the company must wait a bit longer to get more modern features and enhanced security capabilities that can benefit the organization now.

But the choice to upgrade also brings challenges. Administrators must prepare their environment, their teams and end users for the substantial change.

So, what are some areas IT must prepare for when they consider an upgrade to Exchange 2016 from a legacy version? And, once the upgrade is done, what can they do to ensure they can adequately support the platform?

Plan and define the Exchange 2016 requirements

Whenever administrators look to upgrade the messaging platform, they should right-size for the latest Exchange environment to ensure the new version functions appropriately, and can accommodate changes and growth. Administrators can use several online resources, but most rely on a useful calculator from Microsoft. The Excel template, named the Exchange Server Role Requirements Calculator, offers IT a way to quickly assess the numerous requirements around the following critical areas:

  • Role requirements
  • Volume requirements
  • Backup requirements
  • Replication requirements
  • Storage design
  • Distribution
  • Activation scenarios

Get ready for the new Exchange Server

After designing the environment in the design phase, IT can then build it with the latest updates and patches on all the servers. Microsoft recommends either Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016 as the server OS for Exchange 2016.

Make sure to update the .NET Framework; it is a crucial component of Exchange 2016 that determines the performance and reliability of Exchange functions.

If responsiveness is an issue after the upgrade to Exchange 2016, administrators will need to dig through the usual suspects. Check the storage and networking hardware configurations, power settings for the CPU or network interfaces, and review the sizing and architecture of the Exchange environment.

Keep up with monitoring and health checks

Once the business completes its upgrade to Exchange 2016, admins must keep the new environment healthy with regular maintenance. This doesn’t require expensive software — just due diligence. Many admins stick with simple tools, such as Paul Cunningham’s Health Report for an Exchange Server PowerShell script, System Monitor (Perfmon) counters and other utilities to keep an eye on Exchange logs and monitor the overall health of the system.

Use the right tools to troubleshoot other problems

Even with thorough planning and a flawless upgrade to Exchange 2016, administrators might face some issues or challenges with the system after deployment. Be prepared to troubleshoot any problems that could arise by gaining an understanding of PowerShell and Log Parser, and any Exchange-specific utilities that identify the source of errors or email issues.

Dig Deeper on Microsoft Exchange Server 2016

Understand Azure VM boot diagnostics

There are several tools you can use to troubleshoot and get to the root cause of VM issues in on-premises Hyper-V…

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$(“.errorMessageInput”).each(function() {
if ($(this).hasClass(“hidden”)) {
$(this).removeClass(“errorMessageInput hidden”).addClass(“sign-up-error-msg hidden”);
} else {
$(this).removeClass(“errorMessageInput”).addClass(“sign-up-error-msg”);
}
});
}

/**
* when validation function is called, replace “errorMessageInput” with “sign-up-error-msg”
* before return
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function validateThis(v, form) {
var validateReturn = urValidation.validate(v, form);
renameErrorMsgClass();
return validateReturn;
}

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hosts. When it comes to troubleshooting issues for VMs deployed in a cloud environment, such as Microsoft Azure public cloud, you need to rely on the troubleshooting mechanisms provided by the cloud vendor. For example, you might not be able to see the boot output of an Azure VM, as the VM is operating in a cloud. If any of the Azure VMs fail to boot, you might want to see what’s going on during the boot process that’s causing the failure. Similarly, you might want to capture screenshots to see the current state of the Azure VM.

Microsoft added support for the VM boot diagnostics extension, which enables debugging to troubleshoot VM boot-related issues and also help in capturing screenshots of the current state of the VM. There are two features provided as part of the VM boot diagnostics extension: console output and screenshots. Both features are available for Windows, as well as Linux Azure VMs.

By default, Azure VM boot diagnostics isn’t enabled for VMs. There are two ways to enable the VM boot diagnostics extension: Azure Portal and PowerShell. You might want to use the PowerShell method if you need to enable the diagnostics extension for multiple VMs.

Enable boot diagnostics for Azure VMs using Azure Portal

To enable diagnostics extension using Azure Portal and when creating a new Azure VM, follow the steps outlined below:

  1. When creating a new Azure VM, select Azure Resource Manager from the deployment model. Note that the Azure classic model won’t have the VM boot diagnostics option. VM boot diagnostics can only be enabled for an existing VM deployed using the Resource Manager model.
  2. After entering the VM’s basic settings, enable Diagnostics in the Monitoring section as shown below:
    Enable Azure VM boot diagnostics
    Enable VM boot diagnostics for a new Azure VM.


  3. Once Diagnostics is enabled, Azure will capture boot logging data and provide screenshots.

Enable boot diagnostics for Azure VMs using PowerShell

Microsoft also provides necessary PowerShell support to manage Azure resources, including enabling VM boot diagnostics for Azure VMs. To enable or disable VM boot diagnostics using PowerShell, use the Set-AzureRMVMBootDiagnostics PowerShell cmdlet. Execute the PowerShell commands below to enable VM boot diagnostics for a VM:

$ThisVM = Get-AzureRMVM –ResourceGroupName “ResourceGroup1” –Name “SQLVM”

Set-AzureRMVMBootDiagnostics –VM $ThisVM –Enable –ResourceGroupName “ResourceGroup1” –StorageAccountName “StorageAccountName”

If you need to enable diagnostics for all Azure VMs, here is the PowerShell script that can help:

$TheseVMs = Get-AzureRMVM *

ForEach ($ThisVMNow in $TheseVMs)

{

Set-AzureRMVMBootDiagnostics –VM $ThisVMNow –Enable

}

Check and download boot diagnostics data for Azure VMs

Once the Diagnostics extension is enabled, Azure will capture boot logs and provide screenshots. From Azure Portal, navigate to the VM for which you want to see the console output, click on All Settings, and then click on Boot Diagnostics. Clicking on Boot Diagnostics will show the current console output of the VM. From here, you can download the log file to the local machine.

To download diagnostics log files to your local machine using PowerShell, execute the Get-AzureRMVMBootDiagnosticsData PowerShell cmdlet as shown below:

Get-AzureRMVMBootDiagnosticsData –ResourceGroupName “RSGroup1” –Name “SQLVM” –Windows –LocalPath “C:VMBootDataSQLVM”

Note that when using the PowerShell cmdlet to download diagnostics log files, you need to specify the type of VM you’re running the command against. If the target Azure VM is running Linux, you need to specify -Linux, and if it’s a Windows VM, you need to specify -Windows.

There are a few other things you need to know about the VM boot diagnostics feature. For example, VM boot diagnostics is only available to Azure VMs deployed in Resource Manager. In other words, the Azure classic model doesn’t support the VM boot diagnostics extension. Also, it might take up to 10 minutes before screenshots are available for viewing.

Next Steps

Use Azure to set up performance load tests

Better manage your Azure costs

Take advantage of Azure Container Service

Use the Azure Custom Script Extension for your Azure VMs

It’s easy to execute custom scripts — including PowerShell scripts — in a VM running in on-premises Hyper-V hosts….

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} else {
$(this).removeClass(“errorMessageInput”).addClass(“sign-up-error-msg”);
}
});
}

/**
* when validation function is called, replace “errorMessageInput” with “sign-up-error-msg”
* before return
*/
function validateThis(v, form) {
var validateReturn = urValidation.validate(v, form);
renameErrorMsgClass();
return validateReturn;
}

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* DoC pop-up window js – included in moScripts.js which is not included in responsive page
*/
$(“#inlineRegistration”).on(“click”,”a.consentWindow”, function(e) {
window.open(this.href, “Consent”, “width=500,height=600,scrollbars=1”);
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All you need to do is create a script that the destination VM can support and then run it via PowerShell Direct or copy the script to the VM. Azure also supports executing custom scripts in Azure VMs, but the way you execute them is slightly different.

Azure Custom Script Extension is a plug-in designed to only work with Azure VMs. It can be used to execute scripts stored in an Azure blob container or in a valid URL that’s accessible by Azure Portal and PowerShell command lines. Before you execute scripts inside Azure VMs, you’ll be required to decide the source of the script and resource group name in which the Azure VM is located. If your script is stored in an Azure blob container, you’ll be required to supply the storage account name, storage account key and blob container where the script is located. By executing the command below, you’re executing a script stored in an Azure blob container named VMScripts:

Set-AzureRMVMCustomScriptExtension –ResourceGroupName “RSGroup1” –Location “Central US” –VMName “SQLVM” -StorageAccountName “StorageAccount1” –StorageAccountKey {StorageAccountKeyHere} –FileName “ThisScript.PS1” –ContainerName “VMScripts”

If you have a script available in other locations, such as GitHub, you’ll be required to download the script from GitHub to the Azure VM as it’s shown in the command below:

Set-AzureRMVMCustomScriptExtension –ResourceGroupName “RSGroup1” –VMName “SQLVM” –Name “VMScripts” –FileURI {Complete Script Path here} –Run “ScriptFile.PS1” –Location “Central US”

Azure Custom Script Extension is available for both Azure Windows and Linux VMs. You can execute any PowerShell script in Azure Windows VMs and any Bash scripts in Azure Linux VMs.

Troubleshooting issues

If you face any issues during execution of the scripts, you might want to check execution logs found under C:WindowsAzureLogsPlugins
Microsoft.Compute.CustomScriptExtension in Azure VMs. If the script failed to execute, make sure the script was downloaded to Azure VMs from either a storage blob container or URL. Scripts are downloaded to the C:
PackagesPluginsMicrosoft.Compute.CustomScriptExtension1.*Downloads location in the Azure VM.

You might want to execute custom scripts using Azure Custom Script Extension to support post-deployment configurations, such as configuring OS settings and installing line-of-business applications.

Next Steps

Learn more about Azure Security Center

Solve API problems in Azure

Avoid downtime with Azure availability sets

Dig Deeper on Cloud computing architecture

Have a question for an expert?

Please add a title for your question

Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever’s puzzling you.

UCaaS Magic Quadrant shows maturing, fragmented market

Unified communications as a service now offers capabilities that exceed on-premises unified communications, according to Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant report for UCaaS.

Gartner’s 2017 UCaaS Magic Quadrant indicated the market has matured to the point where large enterprises, especially those with global locations, should seriously consider UCaaS products, said Daniel O’Connell, a Gartner analyst and co-author of the report.

“It’s no longer an SMB-only play,” he said. “UCaaS is something to consider for all organizations.”

UCaaS platforms include voice and telephony, conferencing, messaging, presence, desktop and mobile clients, and communication app integrations, such as contact center, team collaboration and business analytics.

All the vendors in Gartner’s report target midsize enterprises — between 1,000 to 5,000 employees — with a track record of customer success. Some midsize enterprises deploy UCaaS for the features and capabilities, user experience and flexibility of the cloud. Other companies deploy UCaaS to cut costs by consolidating communications to a single vendor, according to the UCaaS Magic Quadrant.

Large enterprises with more than 5,000 employees have traditionally shunned cloud-based UC in favor of on-premises deployments. But, more recently, cloud UC adoption has grown, as enterprises are becoming concerned that on-premises investments could be obsolete in a few years, compared with cloud deployments, the report found.

O’Connell said many UCaaS platforms today are global and support locations in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

It’s no longer an SMB-only play. UCaaS is something to consider for all organizations.
Daniel O’Connellanalyst at Gartner

According to the report, enterprises can buy UCaaS platforms from four types of providers:

  • Communications service providers. These are legacy network services providers, such as Verizon, AT&T and Orange Business Services, which historically focus on voice and data services. They support UCaaS with UC stacks from vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco and BroadSoft.
  • Technology vendors. BroadSoft, Google, Microsoft and Mitel are technology vendors that offer UCaaS platforms that are sold directly to end users.
  • Application specialists. These providers include 8×8, Fuze and RingCentral. They are both the platform and service provider for UCaaS.
  • Value-added service providers. These providers include Masergy and West. They offer UCaaS by running UC technology from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco and BroadSoft in their own data centers and complementing UCaaS with their own value-added services, such as security, integration capabilities and network services.

Organizations should also look at UCaaS providers’ ability to support mobile services. “That’s where iPhone or Android devices can be the primary handset,” he said.

BroadSoft, Masergy debut on UCaaS Magic Quadrant

This year, UCaaS provider BroadSoft debuted on the report because of its BroadCloud platform, which is sold to enterprises primarily via channel partners under the BroadSoft Business brand that launched in November 2016. Historically, BroadSoft has sold its UCaaS platform, BroadWorks, to service providers, including Verizon, AT&T, Masergy and Orange. But the BroadCloud platform is controlled by BroadSoft, rather than embedded in other providers’ networks.

“They run the platform in data centers they control,” O’Connell said. “And they typically have channels sell it.”

This is why BroadSoft ranked in the UCaaS Magic Quadrant, while similar vendors, such as Cisco, which provide UCaaS platforms to other providers, did not.

O’Connell said Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution is sold to partners — such as Verizon, AT&T, BT and Orange — and is embedded in their networks. Because Cisco’s partners run the platform, the vendor is not eligible for the UCaaS Magic Quadrant. But that could change with Cisco Spark.

“The next cloud wave of Cisco is Spark,” he said. As Cisco Spark evolves into more of a UCaaS offering, the vendor could see itself on a future report. “They’re putting a lot of investment and building a PBX capability, as well.”

Masergy also debuted on this year’s UCaaS Magic Quadrant, as the vendor matured in terms of revenue, global reach and customer size, O’Connell said.

Shifting the UCaaS ranks

O’Connell said the UCaaS market is seeing traction from vendors like AT&T, Verizon, BT and Orange. Verizon was named a market leader, driven by the vendor’s investment in its One Talk mobility platform.

“It’s pretty innovative and has a lot of potential,” he said. The service, currently available only in the U.S., connects office phones to mobile devices and is based on BroadSoft’s PBX environment.

AT&T, named a challenger in the report, has a UCaaS platform based on its Integrated Cloud architecture, which the vendor can package in a software-defined network or network functions virtualization environment, O’Connell said.

“It does look interesting, assuming they can scale this and put it out,” he said. “They can combine with not just cloud UC, but integrated routers or firewalls.”

Orange was named a market leader, as the vendor is well-positioned for midsize and large enterprises with multinational locations. UCaaS is a core business for Orange.

In the past year, Fuze dropped from the leader to visionary ranking because of customer service issues and complex deployments, O’Connell said. However, he said, the vendor has been “growing nicely,” and revenue is expanding in the 40% range.

ShoreTel, Interoute and Vonage were dropped from this year’s UCaaS Magic Quadrant because the vendors did not meet certain criteria, such as maturity in global markets. Additionally, Mitel is acquiring ShoreTel.

Other market leaders in this year’s report include RingCentral, 8×8, BT and West. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Google were named challengers, and Mitel was named a visionary. 

Tricks to create Office 365 Groups from distribution groups

When an organization moves from an on-premises platform, such as Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business, to…

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/**
* Replace “errorMessageInput” class with “sign-up-error-msg” class
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function renameErrorMsgClass() {
$(“.errorMessageInput”).each(function() {
if ($(this).hasClass(“hidden”)) {
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} else {
$(this).removeClass(“errorMessageInput”).addClass(“sign-up-error-msg”);
}
});
}

/**
* when validation function is called, replace “errorMessageInput” with “sign-up-error-msg”
* before return
*/
function validateThis(v, form) {
var validateReturn = urValidation.validate(v, form);
renameErrorMsgClass();
return validateReturn;
}

/**
* DoC pop-up window js – included in moScripts.js which is not included in responsive page
*/
$(“#inlineRegistration”).on(“click”,”a.consentWindow”, function(e) {
window.open(this.href, “Consent”, “width=500,height=600,scrollbars=1”);
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Office 365, it’s important to analyze existing distribution groups to determine how to migrate to the cloud.

Office 365 Groups is a collaborative service that takes the place of traditional distributions groups. However, administrators must understand how the services differ and use caution when they create Office 365 Groups from the existing distribution groups.

Here are five points an organization should review as it considers what’s involved to convert distribution groups into Office 365 Groups.

Study up on Office 365 Groups

When admins create Office 365 Groups, they install a collaboration service that extends across Office 365 services. In addition to email collaboration, Office 365 Groups provides access to shared resources, such as a mailbox, calendar, document library, team site and planner. Office 365 Groups also forms the foundation for other Office 365 services, such as Microsoft Teams.

When new members join Office 365 Groups, they immediately gain access to the conversation history in a dedicated shared mailbox. In a traditional distribution group, new members cannot access previous conversations and only receive messages from the time they join the group.

Analyze groups and determine migration options

An organization with an existing distribution group structure can convert them to Office 365 Groups and maintain some — or all — of that arrangement. Admins can extend the functionality further with the additional Office 365 Groups features. Evaluate existing distribution groups to determine if they are in use; this is a good time to eliminate any unwanted or unused groups.

Admins can convert a single distribution group when they create Office 365 Groups with a single click in the Office 365 Exchange Administration Center. Microsoft provides conversion scripts to convert multiple distribution groups to Office 365 Groups. Administrators should evaluate the scripts in a nonproduction environment before they create Office 365 Groups.

Understand the migration eligibility status

Microsoft conversion scripts will not work in all instances. Administrators cannot convert distribution groups to Office 365 Groups if any of the following factors exist:

  • They are mastered on premises, such as when synchronized from an on-premises Exchange environment into Office 365 via the Azure Active Directory Connect tool.
  • They have Send on Behalf Of permissions set.
  • They are configured as a moderated group.
  • The distribution group is hidden from the address list.
  • They have nested groups or are nested within other groups.

Microsoft’s conversion scripts include the Get-DlEligibilityList.ps1 script, which determines a group’s migration eligibility status. The script checks all distribution groups in an Office 365 tenant and outputs the eligibility results into a file. The output file will indicate if a distribution group cannot be converted if, for example, it is a closed group. The output file will provide some conversion assistance and show when the administrator can convert a distribution group to an Office 365 Group with an override switch in the conversion script.

Another script, named Convert-DistributionGroupToUnifiedGroup.ps1, uses the output file to perform the conversion.

Hybrid migration obstacles

Microsoft conversion scripts have limits; they cannot convert distribution groups that are mastered on premises in a hybrid configuration to Office 365 Groups.

An organization with an existing distribution group structure can convert them to Office 365 Groups and maintain some — or all — of that arrangement.

Microsoft developed a distribution list migration script, named Hummingbird, to help in this scenario. Hummingbird backs up the on-premises distribution group’s configuration and creates a new Office 365 Group from membership details in the original distribution group.

However, because the original distribution group syncs with Office 365, the tool must avoid duplicate configuration settings, such as email addresses. Consequently, some of the new Office 365 Group’s configuration settings will differ from the original distribution group. Administrators must perform other changes — remove the original distribution list and update the Office 365 Group to use the original email address — manually.

While administrators can build their own scripts to tackle this issue, they should test in a nonproduction environment to ensure success.

Assess governance and user self-service

As part of a move to Office 365, organizations must have a clear process to create Office 365 Groups. By default, users can also create Office 365 Groups through different clients or applications, such as Outlook, Outlook on the Web, SharePoint team sites and Planner. Admins can restrict this through a mixture of Outlook Web Access mailbox policies and Azure Active Directory configuration settings. Carefully evaluate whether to control group creation or deploy a user self-service model.

Admins can configure Office 365 Groups for a consistent naming standard. This is important, particularly in hybrid scenarios where groups created in Office 365 are written back to the on-premises environment. Review the naming policies for current distribution groups and new Office 365 Groups accordingly.

Next Steps

Evaluate Office 365 external access limitations

Use ADFS policies to control access to Office 365

Benefits of a hybrid setup with Office 365

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Office 365 administrators must brush up on cloud skills

Think you know how to manage and support that on-premises Exchange Server? Cloud will make you question your s…

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kills.

As enterprises switch to the Office 365 platform, admins must change how they work and what systems they work in. And this means understanding several areas in which most admins have little to no experience. Here are several must-have skills for Office 365 administrators.

Get familiar with PowerShell

Systems administrators have used PowerShell to manage Microsoft’s applications and operating systems with console commands since its release with Windows Server 2008. Microsoft developed PowerShell to support everything from Windows Server and SharePoint to Exchange Server and Office 365. And Office 365 admins who have only dabbled with PowerShell need to get more comfortable with it, because there are many management tasks that cannot be resolved from the administrative web portal.

Understand licensing tiers

Exchange Online users have several add-ons, such as email security and collaboration features; administrators likely will need to manage different aspects of each. Understand licensing so the organization only purchases what it needs. For example, not all users need the full Microsoft Office productivity suite — assign the less expensive Office 365 Enterprise E1 license or the Exchange Online plan, instead of the more expensive E3 or E5 plans. This helps budget for licensing and avoids unnecessary purchases.

Know your security needs

Microsoft stores hosted email in multiple highly available data centers, and many IT executives think Microsoft backs up email. While Microsoft explicitly states it protects mailboxes from accidental deletion, any deleted message is gone when it is removed from the Deleted Items folder — unless admins apply litigation holds or create other retention policies. Therefore, many new Exchange Online administrators subscribe to Office 365 backup service providers for cloud-to-cloud backups.

Sharpen security skills

Thanks to the rise of cyberattacks and ransomware, Office365 administrators have increased safeguards to protect email — a popular entry point for attacks. Microsoft has many security add-ons to fend off different attacks, including Advanced Security Management, Advanced Threat Protection and Advanced Threat Analytics. Research each service to understand what it covers, how to manage it and then determine if those security components fit your organization’s needs.

Keep the lines of communication open

Many enterprise IT admins hesitated to use Cloud PBX and public switch telephone network features introduced in the Office 365 E5 plan. Few cloud-hosted VoIP vendors could provide the full collaboration stack that includes conferencing, instant messaging, desktop sharing, video and voice. However, more companies have signed on with the E5 plan for calling and conferencing features. Admins who dropped on-premises telephony systems must adapt and manage the cloud version through the Office 365 admin portal.

Take an active role with end users

Office 365 offers so many apps and services — with more arriving at a steady rate — that it’s challenging for IT admins to describe every tool to end users. To address this, be sure IT teams control the flow of new apps and improvements and become proficient with new services before introducing them to end users. This will give end users confidence in the IT team’s ability to support them.

Next Steps

Key Office 365 tasks admins should know

Use the admin portal or PowerShell in Office 365?

Log Parser Studio helps pinpoint Exchange problems

Dig Deeper on MS Office 365

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