Tag Archives: While

Multi-geo service tackles Office 365 data residency issues

Many modern enterprises have workers in offices spread all over the world. While there are numerous advantages…

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to a multinational organization, the complexities of managing the data generated by a global workforce can vex even the most adept Office 365 administrator.

When the admin creates the Office 365 tenant, the Exchange Online mailboxes reside in a specific geographic region determined by the organization’s billing address. The mailboxes may be replicated to different data centers within that geographic region. To meet data residency requirements, organizations can create multiple Office 365 tenancies in different geographic regions, but this increases overall administrative complexity.

To address these Office 365 data residency needs and streamline how businesses handle them, Microsoft designed what it calls multi-geo capabilities. With multi-geo, organizations that use Exchange Online can store a mailbox in one of multiple geographic regions within a single Office 365 tenancy.

Here is some information on the multi-geo feature and its configuration for Office 365 data residency.

Multi-geo comes with restrictions

As of publication, the multi-geo feature is in a selective preview stage for Exchange Online and OneDrive for Business. Microsoft plans to release it into general availability for those services in the first half of 2018. The company intends to add multi-geo to SharePoint Online with a preview expected in the first half of 2018. Microsoft said it might add this capability to other Office 365 apps, such as Microsoft Teams, but it has not given any timelines.

However, the multi-geo service comes with restrictions. For example, the India and South Korea geographic regions are only available to organizations with licenses and billing addresses there. Other regions, such as France, are not yet available.

Microsoft recommends an organization with questions about the multi-geo feature talk to its Microsoft account team. The company has yet to unveil licensing details for the service.

Multi-geo introduces new terminology

Home geo is the term Microsoft uses for the geographic region where the Office 365 tenancy was created. Regions that the organization adds later are known as satellite geos. The multi-geo feature provisions new mailboxes in the home geo by default, but admins can start them in a satellite geo.

The organization can move existing mailboxes between home and satellite geos. This operation should not adversely affect workers because the mailboxes will remain in the same Office 365 tenancy, and the Autodiscover service automatically locates the user’s mailbox in the background. However, Microsoft said the multi-geo service does not support Exchange public folders, which must reside in the home geo.

Organizations should monitor the Microsoft Office 365 roadmap for changes in support of the multi-geo service.

PowerShell cmdlets adjust regions

In organizations where directory synchronization hasn’t been deployed, administrators can use two PowerShell cmdlets to set configuration parameters for the multi-geo feature.

Admins can use the Set-MsolCompanyAllowedDataLocation cmdlet from the Azure Active Directory (AD) PowerShell module to set up the additional geographic regions in the Office 365 tenant.

The Set-MsolUser cmdlet features a PreferredDataLocation parameter to specify the geographic region that will store the user’s Exchange Online mailbox and OneDrive for Business files. A user account can only have one PreferredDataLocation for those services.

Considerations with directory synchronization

Businesses that have deployed directory synchronization and run a hybrid configuration of Exchange, where some mailboxes are stored on premises and others in Exchange Online, need a new version of Azure AD Connect to support the multi-geo feature. Azure AD Connect synchronizes an on-premises AD user account custom attribute into the PreferredDataLocation attribute in Azure AD.

The admin sets up the geographic region of the user’s Exchange Online mailbox with the AD on-premises custom attribute. After the value is synchronized with Azure AD, Exchange Online uses that setting to place the mailbox in the proper region. This enables admins to adjust settings in on-premises AD accounts to control the geographical region of Exchange Online mailboxes.

Next Steps

Keep Office 365 data secure

Microsoft adds data loss prevention features across services

Back up Office 365 before disaster strikes

Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

It has been a while since I last used it but I’ll dig it out and check, there wasn’t any real damage the last time I had it out. I’m afraid I don’t know about the battery since it has been a number of months since it was last used (although fully charged before it was put away), it didn’t get a lot of use over the years since I purchased it.

Yes, will include the stylus.

Edit – Will try to take some photos tomorrow evening after work

Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

It has been a while since I last used it but I’ll dig it out and check, there wasn’t any real damage the last time I had it out. I’m afraid I don’t know about the battery since it has been a number of months since it was last used (although fully charged before it was put away), it didn’t get a lot of use over the years since I purchased it.

Yes, will include the stylus.

Edit – Will try to take some photos tomorrow evening after work

What’s new in Hyper-V for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update?

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has arrived!  While we’ve been blogging about new features as they appear in Windows Insider builds, many of you have asked for a consolidated list of Hyper-V updates and improvements since Creators Update in April.

Summary:

  • Quick Create includes a gallery (and you can add your own images)
  • Hyper-V has a Default Switch for easy networking
  • It’s easy to revert virtual machines to their start state
  • Host battery state is visible in virtual machines
  • Virtual machines are easier to share

Quick Create virtual machine gallery

The virtual machine gallery in Quick Create makes it easy to find virtual machine images in one convenient location.

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You can also add your own virtual machine images to the Quick Create gallery.  Building a custom gallery takes some time but, once built, makes creating virtual machines easy and consistent.

This blog post walks through adding custom images to the gallery.

For images that aren’t in the gallery, select “Local Installation Source” to create a virtual machine from an .iso or vhd located somewhere in your file system.

Keep in mind, while Quick Create and the virtual machine gallery are convenient, they are not a replacement for the New Virtual Machine wizard in Hyper-V manager.  For more complicated virtual machine configuration, use that.

Default Switch

The switch named “Default Switch” allows virtual machines to share the host’s network connection using NAT (Network Address Translation).  This switch has a few unique attributes:

  1. Virtual machines connected to it will have access to the host’s network whether you’re connected to WIFI, a dock, or Ethernet. It will also work when the host is using VPN
    or proxy.
  2. It’s available as soon as you enable Hyper-V – you won’t lose internet setting it up.
  3. You can’t delete or rename it.
  4. It has the same name and device ID on all Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update Hyper-V hosts.
    Name: Default Switch
    ID: c08cb7b8-9b3c-408e-8e30-5e16a3aeb444

Yes, the default switch does automatically assign an IP to the virtual machine (DNS and DHCP).

I’m really excited to have a always-available network connection for virtual machines on Hyper-V.  The Default Switch offers the best networking experience for virtual machines on a laptop.  If you need highly customized networking, however, continue using Virtual Switch Manager.

Revert! (automatic checkpoints)

This is my personal favorite feature from Fall Creators Update.

For a little bit of background, I mostly use virtual machines to build/run demos and to sandbox simple experiments.  At least once a month, I accidently mess up my virtual machine.  Sometimes I remember to make a checkpoint and I can roll back to a good state.  Most of the time I don’t.  Before automatic checkpoints, I’d have to choose between rebuilding my virtual machine or manually undoing my mistake.

Starting in Fall Creators Update, Hyper-V creates a checkpoint when you start virtual machines.  Say you’re learning about Linux and accidently `rm –rf /*` or update your guest and discover a breaking change, now you can simply revert back to when the virtual machine started.

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Automatic checkpoints are enabled by default on Windows 10 and disabled by default on Windows Server.  They are not useful for everyone.  For people with automation or for those of you worried about the overhead of making a checkpoint, you can disable automatic checkpoints with PowerShell (Set-VM –Name VMwithAutomation –AutomaticCheckpointsEnabled) or in VM settings under “Checkpoints”.

Here’s a link to the original announcement with more information.

Battery pass-through

Virtual machines in Fall Creators Update are aware of the hosts battery state.

imageThis is nice for a few reasons:

  1. You can see how much battery life you have left in a full-screen virtual machine.
  2. The guest operating system knows the battery state and can optimize for low power situations.

Easier virtual machine sharing

Sharing your Hyper-V virtual machines is easier with the new “Share” button. Share packages and compresses your virtual machine so you can move it to another Hyper-V host right from Virtual Machine Connection.

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Share creates a “.vmcz” file with your virtual hard drive (vhd/vhdx) and any state the virtual machine will need to run.  “Share” will not include checkpoints. If you would like to also export your checkpoints, you can use the “Export” tool, or the “Export-VM” PowerShell cmdlet.

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Once you’ve moved your virtual machine to another computer with Hyper-V, double click the “.vmcz” file and the virtual machine will import automatically.

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That’s the list!  As always, please send us feedback via FeedbackHub.

Curious what we’re building next?  Become a Windows Insider – almost everything here has benefited from your early feedback.

Cheers,
Sarah

Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

It has been a while since I last used it but I’ll dig it out and check, there wasn’t any real damage the last time I had it out. I’m afraid I don’t know about the battery since it has been a number of months since it was last used (although fully charged before it was put away), it didn’t get a lot of use over the years since I purchased it.

Yes, will include the stylus.

Edit – Will try to take some photos tomorrow evening after work

Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

It has been a while since I last used it but I’ll dig it out and check, there wasn’t any real damage the last time I had it out. I’m afraid I don’t know about the battery since it has been a number of months since it was last used (although fully charged before it was put away), it didn’t get a lot of use over the years since I purchased it.

Yes, will include the stylus.

Edit – Will try to take some photos tomorrow evening after work

Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

It has been a while since I last used it but I’ll dig it out and check, there wasn’t any real damage the last time I had it out. I’m afraid I don’t know about the battery since it has been a number of months since it was last used (although fully charged before it was put away), it didn’t get a lot of use over the years since I purchased it.

Yes, will include the stylus.

Edit – Will try to take some photos tomorrow evening after work

Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

It has been a while since I last used it but I’ll dig it out and check, there wasn’t any real damage the last time I had it out. I’m afraid I don’t know about the battery since it has been a number of months since it was last used (although fully charged before it was put away), it didn’t get a lot of use over the years since I purchased it.

Yes, will include the stylus.

Edit – Will try to take some photos tomorrow evening after work

Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

It has been a while since I last used it but I’ll dig it out and check, there wasn’t any real damage the last time I had it out. I’m afraid I don’t know about the battery since it has been a number of months since it was last used (although fully charged before it was put away), it didn’t get a lot of use over the years since I purchased it.

Yes, will include the stylus.

Edit – Will try to take some photos tomorrow evening after work

Microsoft boasts SQL Server machine learning services

SEATTLE — While SQL Server 2017 continues to get attention for opening up to Linux, many of Microsoft’s database advances revolve around various ways the company is opening up analytics on its flagship database. Case in point: SQL Server machine learning services.

Open source data frameworks and development languages increasingly have become a path to next-level data analytics and machine learning, and SQL Server support is central to this strategy.

The clues are various. Even before 2017, Microsoft brought Apache Spark and the R language into the mix. Earlier this year, the Python language joined R as part of a newly minted Azure Machine Learning developer kit.

The story took a new turn at PASS Summit 2017 last week, as Microsoft featured the capability for Azure Machine Learning users to bring their analytics models into SQL Server 2017 for native T-SQL runtime scoring. An essential element in machine learning, scoring is a way to measure the likely success of machine-generated predictions.

Native T-SQL scoring can process large amounts of data at an average of under 20 milliseconds per row, according to Rohan Kumar, general manager of Microsoft’s database systems group, who spoke at PASS Summit. Native T-SQL scoring takes the form of a stored procedure for prediction that can be used without calling Microsoft’s R runtime, as was the case with SQL Server 2016.

This capability is important because models built and trained to, for example, suggest new products to likely buyers can produce results while the buyers are actually web browsing. As SQL Server machine learning services head in this direction, their use could grow.

Machine learning models

Supporting such scoring in the Microsoft database could make machine learning analytics more a part of operations and less an experimental effort, according to Ginger Grant, advanced analytics consultant for SolidQ and a presenter at the event.

“Traditionally, what has happened is that you’ve had a data science group that sort of sat in the corner creating machine learning models. They then threw that ‘over the wall’ to developers who had to code it in another language,” Grant said in an interview.

“Native T-SQL scoring allows people to modularize their work and environment, so things can be operationally implemented relatively quickly,” she said.

Microsoft’s new SQL Server machine learning services will help with real-time prediction, said Victoria Holt, who also took part in PASS Summit. She is an independent data analytics and platforms architect, as well as a trainer at SQL Relay.

“It is great to be able to leverage machine learning computation in-database,” she said.

This year’s inclusion of Python in the Microsoft Machine Learning workbench is also a step forward, Holt said. But it will take time for such new technologies to spread.

Holt noted that the “addition of Python extends the use of deep learning frameworks in the product. The retrained cognitive models will speed up consumption. But there is significant user training and upgrading that will need to happen before these models are adopted.”

Beyond T-SQL stored procedures

Microsoft’s moves are all about being more welcoming to open source communities.
Jen Stirrupfounder of Data Relish

Microsoft analytics advances discussed at PASS Summit were not limited to T-SQL. The company previewed scale-out features for Azure Analysis Services to improve response time for large query workloads on the cloud.

The company also moved to simplify data preparation for analytics in the cloud by releasing a public preview of Azure Data Factory that includes the ability to run SQL Server Integration Services in ADF.

Growing Microsoft SQL Server 2017 support for Python and R is significant, according to Jen Stirrup, founder of the U.K.-based Data Relish consultancy and PASS Summit board member.

Python is something of a portal to a crop of machine learning services entering the open source sphere almost daily. In Stirrup’s view, deeper support for advanced analytics is the next step for big data, and Microsoft is tuned to that notion.

“The company understands that customers really want to do something with the data,” she said.

“The data is such a key thing. It underpins your applications. Today, that means you have to reach out to software and languages that are not necessarily part of Microsoft’s .NET,” Stirrup continued. “Microsoft’s moves are all about being more welcoming to open source communities.”