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Microsoft Office 365: Exchange Online Implementation and Migration

By Loryan Strant , David Greve , David Greve
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  1. Free Chapter
    Getting Started
About this book
Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of the most trusted communications and collaboration products in a single desktop suite for businesses of all sizes. Microsoft Exchange Online gives you access to enterprise class email, calendar, and contacts from virtually anywhere, at any time, on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices."Microsoft Office 365: Exchange Online Implementation and Migration" is a practical hands-on tutorial that shows small businesses to enterprises how to implement and migrate to Exchange Online in Office 365. This book also places an emphasis on setting up a Hybrid and migrating from Exchange on-premise to Exchange Online. "Microsoft Office 365: Exchange Online Implementation and Migration" will show small businesses to enterprises the steps to implement and migrate to Exchange Online in Office 365. The book starts by providing an overview of the Office 365 plans available and how to make a decision on what plan fits your organization. The book then dives into topics such as the Office 365 Admin Portal, integration options for professionals and small businesses, integration options for enterprises, preparing for a simple migration, performing a simple migration, and preparing for a hybrid deployment and migration amongst others.
Publication date:
May 2012
Publisher
Packt
Pages
268
ISBN
9781849685863

 

Chapter 1. Getting Started

Welcome to the world of Office 365—a new way of increasing productivity by harnessing the power of the cloud.

By reading this chapter you will learn what plans are available for your business, how to decide which option to take, and how to get your Office 365 subscription underway.

Throughout this chapter, we hope to provide you with guidance on how to determine your requirements. We will provide you with information on the choices and the decisions you will need to make. We will also provide you with examples of real world customers on Office 365.

Let's begin by looking at the different options available under Office 365.

  • Office 365 plans

  • Office 365 for Small Businesses and Professionals – considerations and limitations

  • Office 365 for Enterprises

  • When to use a plan and when to pick à la carte

  • Options to start your subscription

  • The sign-up process

 

Office 365 plans


At the heart of Office 365 are two essential subscription paths a customer can go through:

  • Office 365 for Small Businesses and Professionals

  • Office 365 for Enterprises

(There is also Office 365 for education which is similar in the feature listing and plans to the enterprise offering, however it is licensed in a way not covered in this book.)

The main difference between the two subscription types is that under the small business and professionals plan, the subscription provides high value but no licensing flexibility. There are also several other limitations which are addressed further in this chapter.

There are a number of different ways to purchase these:

  • Directly on the Office 365 administration portal

  • From a syndication partner (for example, a telecommunications provider that resells Office 365)

  • From a Microsoft licensing reseller (for example, an IT company that supplies Microsoft Open Business or Open Value licenses)

  • From a Microsoft Large Account Reseller for those with School/Campus/Select/Enterprise agreements

Navigating the Microsoft licensing maze can be challenging; most people can get quite confused by all the various plans and licensing models.

The best approach is to write down what features and functionality you want for your organization, including your people plans for the next three years. Having this information, you can then look at the Office 365 subscription plans and make the right decisions. If you're still lost, you may need to work with a Microsoft partner who specializes in Office 365 to help you make the right licensing choice.

 

Office 365 for Small Businesses and Professionals—considerations and limitations


The Office 365 plan for Small Businesses and Professionals provides amazing value and functionality for small and growing organizations. It includes Exchange Online Plan 1, SharePoint Online Plan 1, Lync Online Plan 2, and Office Web Apps. To learn more about the various individual plans, follow this link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/online-services.aspx#fbid=zJh_251OGc5.

For many businesses it will provide far more functionality than they may ever utilize, however there are some key limitations that must be considered prior to purchase.

Phone / ticketed support by Microsoft not included

Support is only available via the Office 365 community site. Some syndication partners however may offer level 1 support as part of the subscription (for example, Telstra in Australia).

User count limited and no way to upgrade to an E Plan

There is a hard limit of 50 users in the small business plan and there is no way around it. If you ever need to go above 50—the entire organization would have to be completely migrated out of Office 365 and back in to a new tenant.

SharePoint limitations

While the SharePoint functionality of the small business plan is relatively on par with the enterprise capabilities there are a few key limitations that may require you to move up plans.

Only two site collections are possible—one for private or intranet use and one for the public facing website. This is generally not a concern for most organizations under 50 in size, however it can potentially be an issue for organizations that may have separation of business units and security groups.

Additional storage cannot be purchased. The default storage allocation for SharePoint Online is 10 GB as a base platform plus 500 MB contributed for every user. So if you have 50 users the maximum amount of storage you could possibly have in your site collection is 35 GB (10 GB + (50 x 0.5 GB).

Another limitation is that SSL certificates are not provided or supported, meaning that any traffic between your device and your SharePoint Online site is unencrypted.

Active Directory Synchronization is not supported

If you run an Active Directory environment in your office—you cannot replicate the user accounts to Office 365, and that user and password management will be done separately. Replicating your user's accounts to Office 365 enables you to simplify the overall management of your environment and provisioning of users. Often at times, this is less of an issue for small businesses.

Largely this also means that Active Directory Federation Services (leveraging on-premise Active Directory credentials) is not supported; however this is usually out of the realm of small businesses.

However, if your organization runs Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 Essentials—there is an add-on pack that integrates with Office 365 and synchronizes users and passwords.

No access to Forefront Online Protection for the Exchange (FOPE) console

For small businesses, no access to the Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) console may not be a great concern, however the FOPE console is the rich management and reporting functionality that allows organizations to understand and manage their e-mail security.

Limited license choice

For customers using the Office 365 for Small Businesses plan—there is no ability to mix and match individual licenses.

Doesn't include e-mail archiving

Unlike the enterprise plans, Office 365 for small businesses does not allow for the addition of a mailbox archive on top of the existing 25 GB mailbox. What is possible however is to segment the existing mailbox into an archive area (for example, 5 GB of your 25 GB) which is only available when online with Outlook or via Outlook Web App.

Doesn't support the Blackberry Enterprise Server

If customers using Office 365 for small businesses use BlackBerry smartphones then the only option available is to use the BlackBerry Individual Service (BIS) for synchronization of e-mails wirelessly. This does not support synchronization of calendar and contact items as the BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) does under the Office 365 for Enterprises plan.

 

Office 365 for Enterprises


While the plan for small businesses is a fixed license choice, the enterprise license—while also offering feature bundles, allows for much greater licensing flexibility.

The key bundles available range from plans E1—E4, as well as K1 and K2 for lighter users, which are broken down as follows:

Bundle

Features

E1

Exchange Online Plan 1

SharePoint Online Plan 1

Lync Online Plan 2

BlackBerry Enterprise Server

E2

Same as E1 plus

Office Web Apps

E3

Same as E2 plus

Office Professional Plus 2010

E4

Same as E3 plus

Lync Online Voice

K1

Exchange Online Kiosk

SharePoint Online Plan 1

Office Web Apps (read only)

K2

Same as K1 but Office Web Apps is fully functional

Individual components can also be purchased:

  • Exchange Online Plan 1

  • Exchange Online Plan 2

  • Exchange Online Archiving

  • Exchange Online Kiosk

  • SharePoint Online Plan 1

  • SharePoint Online Plan 2

  • SharePoint Online Additional Storage

  • SharePoint Online Partner Access License

  • Lync Online Plan 1

  • Lync Online Plan 2

  • Office Web Apps with SharePoint Online Plan 1

  • Office Web Apps with SharePoint Online Plan 1

  • Office Professional Plus 2010

 

When to use a plan and when to pick à la carte


Now that you know a bit more about the small business and enterprise subscription levels, let's delve deeper into helping you make a choice between them.

The enterprise plans contain a similar feature set to the small business plan, but are able to go above and beyond the limitations of the small business plan.

Some key benefits are:

  • None of the limitations to the small business plan apply

  • No limit on the amount of users

  • Ability to mix and match license types

Let's look at some scenarios where you might choose one subscription type over the other:

Scenario

Plan choice

Professional services firm of 6 people:

Planning to grow to 30 people within 3 years

small business

Start-up recruitment firm of 10 people:

planning to grow to 70 within 2 years

Enterprise:

E2

Established audio engineering company of 27 users:

Have been operating for 9 years

No growth plans

small business

Architectural firm of 12 people:

Have been operating for 6 years

No growth plans

Need storage space for drawings

Enterprise:

E1

SharePoint Additional Storage

Call center company with 40 staff:

10 in the office all day, 5 remote workers

25 shift-based call center staff who don't have their own PCs and simply need access to e-mail and the company intranet

Enterprise:

E1 (15)

K1 (25)

Franchise coffee house with 40 staff:

30 staff at head office

10 franchise managers

Want to perform Business Intelligence with SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise on-premise, let franchise managers access the reports

Enterprise:

E1 (10)

E3 (30)

Medical services with 120 staff:

Exchange 2010 on-premise

Using other intranet system

15 staff require video conferencing

Enterprise:

Lync Online Plan 2 (15)

Hospitality services company with 700 staff:

Exchange 2003 on-premise

300 staff at head office

400 staff spread across 8 offices

Legacy phone system, want IM and presence, video conferencing for management

SharePoint on-premise, heavily integrated with CRM and other systems

Enterprise:

Exchange Online Plan 1 (700)

Lync Online Plan 1 (600)

Lync Online Plan 2 (100)

Financial services company of 5,000 staff nationwide

Lotus Notes

25 percent of workforce is permanently mobile

10 percent of workforce primarily limited to Line of Business Application

Has Enterprise Agreement which includes Office

Enterprise:

E1 (4,500)

K2 (500)

Automotive manufacturer of 30,000 staff globally

GroupWise

IBM WebSphere for intranet

Cisco CallManager telephony with Unified Comms

30 percent of workforce is factory-based

Has Enterprise Agreement which includes Office

Enterprise:

Exchange Online Plan 1 (17,000)

Exchange Online Plan 2 (3,000)

Exchange Online Kiosk (10,000)

As you can see there are quite a number of choices and scenarios available to organizations of all types and sizes. Making the correct choice involves identifying the requirements and which options address them.

 

Options to start your subscription


There are many ways to get started with an Office 365 subscription. Some of those ways include:

  • Working with Microsoft on a license agreement (through a licensing reseller)

  • Working with a Microsoft deployment partner

  • Signing up for the service directly

Working with Microsoft on a license agreement (through a licensing reseller)

The chances are you are only working with Microsoft if you have a large set, or a combination of licenses, you need to purchase. An example of this would be if you are an enterprise customer seeking specific contract requirements and a combination of licenses, outside of Office 365, in a suite for your users. Specific contract requirements and suites of licenses are typically sold as Enterprise Agreements (EA). The benefit of an EA is that it allows an organization to leverage a number of Microsoft products, for a single per seat cost. If you are an EA customer or plan to be one, the sign-up process is different. When you sign up for an EA, you will typically receive an e-mail with two options:

  • The first option is to attach your license to an existing Office 365 trial account

  • The second option is to create a new account with your licenses assigned

If you already purchased licenses in an existing account, it may be difficult for you to have Microsoft attach licenses to this account. Microsoft may ask you to recreate an account, in this scenario.

Working with a Microsoft deployment partner

If you are working with a Microsoft deployment partner, there is a good possibility the Microsoft deployment partner will be able to help you through this process. A Microsoft deployment partner has the ability to send you a customized link. This link can be a trial or a set of licenses to be purchased. The benefits of a Microsoft deployment partner sending you a link are twofold. The partner can help ensure you have the right licenses and the partner obtains benefits while being associated with your subscription. Those benefits include subscription notifications for changes/upgrades and there are financial benefits. The notifications/changes are of benefit, as the partner can work closely with your organization to ensure you are prepared for the upcoming changes. The financial benefits a partner receives are specifically related to the partner being an advisor for your subscription.

Signing up for the service directly

The last option is to sign up for the service directly. The chances are you are taking this approach if you are not signing an EA or are not working with a Microsoft deployment partner, and are planning to trial, or move to, this service on your own. Often at times, organizations sign up for the service ahead of working with a partner or Microsoft on licensing. If you have signed up for a trial service, but plan to work with a partner or Microsoft, it is recommended not to purchase licenses until you have requested their advise on how to proceed. The impacts of purchasing a license prior to engaging Microsoft or a partner can mean reallocating enabled accounts or a delay in how soon Microsoft can apply the EA licenses.

In all cases, we'll leverage the Office 365 admin portal https://portal.microsoftonline.com/Admin in a similar method. Before we get started with the Office 365 admin portal, we need to sign up for the service.

 

The sign-up process


We recently learned about the various subscription options. Now it's time to sign up for the service. In the following steps, we are simply going to sign up for a trial based subscription.

This will allow us the flexibility to choose how we add licenses in the near future:

  1. To get started, let's head over to the Office 365 site. Simply go to www.office365.com and find the FREE TRIAL link. You now have a decision to make. Does the P plan fit your organization or do you have more than 50 users or plan to grow to more than 50 users in the near future? If your answer is yes, then you need to head over to the E plan trial. In this example, we will sign up for the E plan:

  2. Once you have clicked on FREE TRIAL your next page will be a Sign up page. This page will require you to enter your business information. You will also be selecting your subscription name (your subscription name may sometimes be referred to as your tenant name). This name is important for a few reasons, as follows:

    • Your SharePoint service has your subscription name (for example, pointbridgelab.sharepoint.com)

    • It will be your default e-mail address or account name for your users, until you add your own vanity domains

    • You will reference this name for support concerns

    • Associating your Enterprise Agreement licenses to your subscription

    The subscription name is important, but your long term users may never see it, if you apply a vanity name. (a vanity domain is a simple name to mask a more complex domain behind it.) During the sign up portion, you will have an opportunity to check to see if your subscription name is free. If your name is taken, try a few others until you find the name that fits your organization:

    Email address is also a very important field. The e-mail address you add on this page will be the default e-mail address that receives messages from Office 365. In addition, subscription information and errors that may occur with your integration components will be sent to this address. Ensure you add an e-mail address that you plan to monitor.

  3. After you have entered all of your information and proceeded to the next step, your subscription will now be created. You should be presented with a window that asks you to continue to your subscription. The screen will look similar to the following screenshot:

  4. When you click on Continue, you will be redirected to your subscription. Within your subscription, you may notice that not all services are ready. Exchange and Lync are often ready immediately, but you may notice that it will take the SharePoint service around 15 to 60 minutes to become available:

    You can start to tour your subscription now, while waiting for SharePoint to be activated. You will not be able to make any configuration changes in SharePoint, until it is ready. If it takes the SharePoint service more than 24 hours to finish setting up, you should contact Office 365 support through a Service Request. Once the SharePoint service is set up, your sign up process is complete.

 

Summary


Office 365 offers many ways to subscribe and all sorts of licensing combinations. Whether you're a small business or an enterprise, you have a number of ways to get started. The good news is, you can start a trial subscription and always associate your long-term licenses to the trial, leveraging any method. We learned about the licensing available within the service, which should clarify how you proceed. By this time you should be deciding how these licenses fit your organization and whether you are going to sign up directly, work with a Microsoft Deployment Partner, or engage an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft.

As we reflect on the sign-up process, you can see how simplified Microsoft designed the process; Microsoft focused on minimizing many decision points for a trial. The fact is, it is a trial, so why complicate the sign-up process more than it needs to be? Either way, in the end, your team managing and configuring the service will be required to do all of the tweaking and tuning, based on business and technical decisions made within the organization.

In conclusion, you should now be ready to start getting more familiar with the service, configuring it to your specifications, starting the integration process, and finally either migrating or starting to use the service full-time. Before your trial ends, you will need to obtain or assign, the licensing plan that best fits your subscription.

Now that we have established a subscription, in the next chapter we will focus on using the admin portal. We will also start to walk through some key initial configuration steps.

About the Authors
  • Loryan Strant

    Loryan Strant is a fifteen year veteran of web and network technologies. He has spent the last decade and a half building digital relationships for businesses and organizations. Loryan blogs at thecloudmouth.com and writes articles for BoxFreeIT.com.au and a variety of other sites. Loryan is also the founder of leading Australian cloud engineering company Paradyne - helping to deliver innovative solutions through the cloud, enabling businesses to reduce fixed IT costs. He is passionate about enabling people and organizations using technology the right way, enabling them to become more productive. In April 2011, Loryan became the first Microsoft Office 365 MVP in Australia. His passion for technology has also enabled him to deliver the first customers in Australia for Office 365 (commercial & educational) and Windows Intune.

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  • David Greve

    David Greve is a Microsoft Office 365 MVP and Microsoft certified professional with more than 15 years of IT consulting experience, specifically around the design and implementation of Microsoft Solutions ranging from small to enterprise environments. One of David’s current ventures is designing and developing Microsoft Cloud Computing (BPOS and Office 365) solutions with an emphasis on Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online, as well as strategic migration planning in complex business environments. Before directing his focus and concentration to Microsoft Cloud Computing solutions, David worked with Active Directory infrastructure design, on-premise Exchange deployments and migrations, and on-premise SharePoint architecture. David has been working with PointBridge, now Perficient, since 2005 and is currently leading their Office 365 business. PointBridge is an IT consulting firm that specializes in building high-impact business solutions with Microsoft technology. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois with offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Boston, Massachusetts, PointBridge is one of the fastest growing Microsoft partners in the central United States and is a National Systems Integrator (NSI).

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  • David Greve

    David Greve is a Microsoft Office 365 MVP and Microsoft certified professional with more than 15 years of IT consulting experience, specifically around the design and implementation of Microsoft Solutions ranging from small to enterprise environments. One of David’s current ventures is designing and developing Microsoft Cloud Computing (BPOS and Office 365) solutions with an emphasis on Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online, as well as strategic migration planning in complex business environments. Before directing his focus and concentration to Microsoft Cloud Computing solutions, David worked with Active Directory infrastructure design, on-premise Exchange deployments and migrations, and on-premise SharePoint architecture.

    Browse publications by this author