Partner Technical Services Blog

A worldwide group of consultants who focus on helping Microsoft Partners succeed throughout the business cycle.

Partner Technical Services Blog

  • Activating Your Azure Benefits (Free Stuff!)

    If you haven’t yet activated your Microsoft Azure Internal Use Rights benefits, what are you waiting for?  You can get started using Azure today.  This short video will show you how to activate your benefits for free monthly credits as well as some resources that can help you get started.

  • New: Azure Cost Estimator Tool

    Have you ever wondered what it would cost to run a traditional on premise or virtualized machine in Azure? If you are like me, you’ve tried many different ways to accurately baseline the server utilization and translate that to the proper instance size and utilization in Azure.

    I have some good news for you. There is a new tool, Microsoft Azure (Iaas) Cost Estimator Tool, that will help you do this work faster and more accurately.  It takes just a minute to download and can be run quickly.

    The tool supports

    1. Microsoft technologies (Hyper-V, SCVMM)
    2. VMware technologies (vCenter, ESXi)
    3. Physical environments (Windows, Linux)

    Here is the download page with full specs and details on the tool:

    Note: No data is sent to Microsoft at any time. All report and profile information resides on the machine where the tool is installed.

  • Webinars for Windows Phone Developers

    Now that Microsoft and Nokia have come together we’re excited to offer Windows Phone developers the opportunity to learn from our experts in developing Windows Phone apps.  More details and registration links are included below.

    Debugging your Direct3D apps for Windows Phone 8.1

    10 June, 16.00 London time

    Rob Caplan and James Dailey, Microsoft           

    With the release of Windows Phone 8.1 the Visual Studio team has added advanced graphics debugging tools from Windows and Windows Store apps to Windows Phone 8.1. You can now inspect how each pixel your Direct3D scene has been created. This new tool is perfect for debugging complex shader bugs and strange performance issues in your app. In this session we will walk you through using these new graphics debugging tools. We will take you step by step and show you how to use the tools to debug issues with your shader. We will also show you techniques that you can use with these tools to track down and eliminate performance problems in your app.

    Developing Universal Apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services

    17 June, 16:00 London time

    Matthew Small and Jeff Sanders, Microsoft

    Universal Apps and Windows Azure Mobile Services are a perfect combination to create apps that connect to the same cloud data quickly and easily while sharing common code.  In this session will cover the basics of creating a Mobile Service locally using a .NET backend and debugging techniques.  We then will connect our Phone and Tablet to the Mobile Service and use shared code in Windows 8.1 Universal Apps utilizing MVVM techniques.

    Optimizing Windows Phone Apps using Performance and Diagnostics Tools

    24 June, 16:00 London time        

    Bret Bentzinger and Prashant Phadke, Microsoft

    In this session we will show how to best utilize the Windows Phone API's to minimize battery drain while utilizing the maximum benefits of having multiple cores on your Phone. We will use a sample application, along with the new Performance and Diagnostic tools, to illustrate the difference in battery consumption for a synchronous operation versus utilizing multiple CPU’s in an asynchronous operation.

  • Building Apps for Windows Phone 8.1

    If you're an app developer who wants to design and build Windows Phone 8.1 apps using XAML and C#, check out this course, taught by experts who have years of experience developing (and writing about the process). The sessions focus on how to create apps for Windows Phone 8.1 in Visual Studio and how to create universal app projects that share a high percentage of code and that target both Windows and Windows Phone.

    Get tips and tricks on maximizing your app compatibility and optimizing your code. Find out about new features, and learn how to program the many new Windows Runtime APIs that are available to both Windows Store apps and to Windows Silverlight apps. You can even get code samples. Watch now to make your apps world-ready!

    Source for all the demos can be found here.

    Full course outline:

  • Windows Store App Development Training Videos (German Versions)

    Recently we’ve released several short training videos around building Windows Store apps. As a part of this process we’re now taking some of the most popular and offering them in additional languages. Today we’re excited to bring you the first videos in the German series.

    Erzeugen einer Live Kachel für eine Windows Store App in weniger als 10 Minuten

    Apps für verschieden Fenstergrößen entwerfen

    Tipps und Tricks um Benachrichtigungen in Windows Store Apps zu verwenden

    Verwenden von Visual Studio Templates um Windows Store Apps zu entwickeln

    Windows App Certification Kit

  • Windows Store App Development Training Videos (French Versions)

    Recently we’ve released several short training videos around building Windows Store apps. As a part of this process we’re now taking some of the most popular and offering them in additional languages. Today we’re excited to bring you the first two in the French series.

    Construire une Vignette pour votre Application Windows Store en moins de 10 minutes

    Windows App Certification Kit - French

  • DataTemplated Controls in Windows Apps

    In this video, one of our support experts will explain a method by which you can get a reference to controls which are created at runtime inside a DataTemplate which is bound to a datasource.  These controls are difficult to find because they cannot be referred to by direct name.

  • Microsoft Azure, Your Customers, Your Future - 4 Week Webcast Series with David Chappell

    If you are a Systems Integrator and are looking at Microsoft Azure to see how this technology may impact your solution offerings, how to go to market with your customers or how the current cloud trends may provide opportunities to transform your business then please join us for this four week series being presented by David Chappell from Chappell & Associates.  We recommend that you attend all four sessions, but they are independent sessions and therefore if you can’t make one you will not lose any context.

    REGISTER TODAY  (click here to register)

    Cost: FREE



    May 21st, 2014 1:00-2:30pm Pacific

    The Microsoft Cloud: Components, Competitors, and Customers - With Microsoft Azure and System Center 2012, Microsoft has the broadest, most cohesive private/public cloud story in the industry. But do you understand this story? Can you explain it in a simple way to your customers? In this session, David Chappell provides a high-level, external perspective on the Microsoft private and public cloud

    May 28th, 2014 1:00-2:30pm Pacific

    Azure for the Enterprise: What and Why - Microsoft Azure provides the right services for enterprises. But what scenarios are most interesting to enterprise leaders, and why? Which of these do most enterprises want to start with, why do they want them, and what are the common objections? In this session, David Chappell walks through these basics, giving you a big-picture introduction to how enterprises are adopting Azure and how you can help them do this.

    June 4th, 2014 1:00-2:30pm Pacific

    Open Source Technologies on Microsoft Azure - This session takes a broad look at the open source offerings that Microsoft Azure provides today and how you may be able to use those open source offerings in your project work for customers. The goal is to give you a big-picture perspective on what the options are and when to use them

    June 11th, 2014 1:00-2:30pm Pacific

    SI’s in the Cloud Era: Embracing the Future - David Chappell provides his perspective on the current changes that are happening in the industry and how a Systems Integration partner may want to look at new ways to transform their business to meet this changing climate.

  • Building and Monetizing a Successful Partner Practice on Microsoft Azure

    Learn how partners build successful cloud practices from IDC analyst Darren Bibby and Microsoft partner Alex Brown, CEO of 10th Magnitude.

    Register to attend this complimentary webinar on Thursday, May 15th, 2014 from 10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M. PDT to learn about:

    • Cloud Strategy
    • How to transact Azure
    • Examples of how to monetize Azure in your business

    Click Here to Register

  • Upcoming Microsoft Azure Training Opportunities

    This new blog post consolidates upcoming Microsoft Azure training opportunities and certification offers:


  • Virtual Drumbeat Office 365


    Come learn the proven best practices for selling Office 365, Virtually!

    The Virtual Drumbeat Sales day, April 18th, provides partners in sales and pre-sales technical roles with best practice sales training for Office 365.  Selling Office 365 requires a new way of selling, come hear about it.  In addition to sharing Microsoft best practices, programs, and selling tools, we will also present insights into the cloud services market and the opportunity for partners who invest in growing an Office 365 practice.  

    You will also have the opportunity to interact and learn from your industry peers and representatives from Microsoft.

    Date: April 18th, 2014
    Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm PST


    Sales Professionals
    Pre – Sales Technical

    There is no charge for this exclusive training, however we will be imposing a no-show fee of $39 (USD) if you register, but do not cancel your registration within fourteen (14) business days before the start of the first event.

    Space is limited. RSVP today!

    Session Descriptions

    Session 01 The Office 365 Enterprise Partner Opportunity

    The new Office represents a once-in-a-generation shift in technology and a new era of partner opportunity.  Microsoft Is front-running the industry transformation to the cloud and Office 365 is leading the charge.  Learn more about our investments in the new Office and how we have created new partner opportunities across the customer lifecycle.

    Session 02 Office 365 What to Sell

    Office 365 is Microsoft’s fastest growing business ever to the tune of $1 billion and counting.  And, three out of four enterprise customers work with a partner to deploy their Office 365 service.  Are you one of these partners?  Learn more about the benefits of becoming a recognized Office 365 Cloud Deployment partner and what it takes to be one. 

    Session 03 How to Sell Office 365

    Microsoft's Office 365 is advantageously built on a set of cloud principles that form how we position Office 365 to customers.  Become familiar with these principles and learn how to showcase the value of Office 365 cloud services across a breadth of real customer scenarios.  

    Session 04 Google Compete

    The proliferation of devices, broadening workplace demographics and a transformative shift to the cloud are all trends impacting the way we work.  Office 365 clearly addresses all of these trends and is backed by a sales process that has helped grow a $1B business.  Learn how to sell to customers using the Customer Decision Framework, a sales process that enables partners to make the shift from traditional software selling to successfully sell Office 365 in the cloud. 

    Session 05 Selling with the Customer Immersion Experience 

    The Microsoft Customer Immersion Experience (CIE) is a hands-on introduction to Windows 8 and the new Office.  For partners, it is an effective sales tool that provides customers with an opportunity to experience these powerful new productivity solutions for themselves.  Learn how the CIE simplifies customer conversations and provides business decision-makers with an opportunity to experience the full Office stack to accelerate sales and close revenue.

    Session 06 Pilot and Deploy Customers with Office 365 FastTrack

    Office 365 FastTrack is Microsoft’s new 3-step pilot and deployment process designed so customers experience service value early in the sales cycle with a smooth path from pilot to full deployment within hours and no 'throw away' effort.  Learn how to utilize the Office 365 FastTrack process to get customers up and running quickly to win against the competition.

    Session 07 Office 365 Support and Communications

    Microsoft is strengthening its partner support and communications strategy to better enable our partners to sell, service and support customers.  Learn about new ways to enhance your service offerings and stay connected with the latest developments on Office 365.

    Register Here

  • Windows Store App Development Training Videos (Italian Versions)

    Recently we’ve released several short training videos around building Windows Store apps. As a part of this process we’re now taking some of the most popular and offering them in additional languages. Today we’re excited to bring you the the Italian Series.

    Windows App Certification Kit

    Costrure un Live Tile per la tua Windows Store App in meno di 10 minuti

    Usare i template Visual Studio per crare App Windows Store

    Suggerimenti e trucchi per usare le notifiche nelle App Windows Store

    Creare app che si adattano alle diverse dimensioni delle finestre

  • Migrate from Gmail to Office 365 (video)

    In a recent post (Migrate from Gmail to Office 365 in 7 steps), I shared the steps to migrate from Gmail to Office 365.

    If you are doing a large migration from Gmail to Office 365, you will generally want to use a 3rd party tool that automates the process.  However, if you are migrating a small customer with a few mailboxes, it is quick, easy, (and free!) to do so manually).

    As a picture is worth a thousand words (and a movie shows 30 pictures a second), I thought I would share the process in two short videos.

    As always… if you are a Partner and need assistance migrating mailboxes, ask our experts!

    Part 1


    Part 2

  • Partners - Maximize Your Investment and Use Free Your Azure Credits! We can help you get started.

    Partners, did you know that if you have an MSDN subscription you qualify for free Windows Azure credits each monthMAPS Partners also qualify for $100 in Monthly Credits.  Most Gold and Silver partners quality as well.

    To see if you qualify for Internal Use Rights on Azure follow the steps in this video.

    You might say, “but we don’t work on Azure, so those don’t help us” or, “we’d like to learn Azure, but where do we start?”  There is a common business need you can start addressing that applies to almost everyone.

    Just about every Partner I talk with uses virtual machines in some way.  It might be for demos, lab testing, development work, training, customer support, or many other scenarios.  Most of the folks I talk with also run into challenges with VMs.  See if any of these apply to you:

    • “Our IT staff doesn’t have time to maintain VMs for us.”
    • “We frequently run out of VM capacity on our servers when we are busy and need it the most.”
    • “We want to build a catalog of VMs that we can spin up quickly.”
    • “The developers only use VMs for a short amount of time, but need them daily.”
    • “We want to access our VMs from anywhere.”
    • And the list goes on….

    Why not put those free Azure credits to work and start running some of those VM scenarios on Azure?

    To help you get started, the Partner Services team has put together a new offering called (ready for my burst of creativity?) Labs on Azure.  This offering is an opportunity for you or your team to spend some time 1-1 with one of our consultants.  You’ll learn how to get started in Azure, build a VM in minutes, customize and re-use VMs, upload VMs you might be running on premise today, and how to start automating VM creation through PowerShell. 

    This is a great way to get started on Azure, solve a common challenge, and use a benefit you already have!

    To get started, visit to view your available advisory hours and submit a request.

    Also, if you want some broader training on Azure be sure to check out this learning path.

  • Desarrollo de Windows 8.1 Store Apps en C#

    Windows 8.1 ofrece una oportunidad para los ISV de desarrollo de aplicaciones novedosas y su monetización a través de la Tienda de Windows. Las Store Apps permiten implementar rápidamente soluciones de movilidad que requieren un interfaz táctil y una conectividad permanente a datos. Esta serie de webcasts está pensada en desarrolladores de C# que quieren conocer la nueva funcionalidad disponible para las Store Apps en Windows 8.1

    Hemos compartido el material de este curso en el OneDrive.







    Windows 8.1 para Desarrolladores


    Level 100

    Introducimos la funcionalidad del SS.OO Windows 8.1 de interés para desarrolladores. Comentaremos como las Store Apps integran con el SS.OO., introducimos la Tienda de Windows, las APIs y las herramientas de desarrollo.




    Controles XAML UI


    Level 200

    Presentamos el resumen de los controles XAML básicos para construir el interfaz de usuario: TextBox, RichTextBlock, ProgressRing, RichEditBox, Date y TimePicker, Buttons , Flyouts, Shapes, Paths y Images. También explicaremos la aplicación de estilos a los controles.


    10:00-11:00 GMT+1


    Controles de Listado Modernos


    Level 200

    Presentamos los controles modernos de listados: FlipView, GridView, ListView y SemanticView. También comentamos mejoras de rendimiento en listados que podemos conseguir utilizando virtualización de UI y carga de datos incremental.


    10:00-11:00 GMT+1


    Lenguaje de Diseño de Store Apps


    Level 100

    Presentamos los principios del diseño de las Store Apps. El propósito es ayudar al desarrollador a aplicar el diseño para conseguir que el aplicativo tenga una marca (brand) distinta y se perciba como una parte integral de Windows 8.1. Explicamos los 4 pilares de diseño: Principles, Personality, Patterns and Platform.


    10:00-11:00 GMT+1


    Navegación, Comandos, Ventanas y Layout


    Level 200

    Comentamos el mecanismo de navegación entre las páginas y como implementar comandos con CommandBar. Finalmente, explicamos cómo adaptar el layout del interfaz de usuario a los cambios en el tamaño de ventanas que contienen el aplicativo.


    10:00-10:40 GMT+1


    Controles WebView y RenderTargetBitMap


    Level 200

    Explicamos cómo integrar el contenido HTML en la App utilizando control WebView. También comentamos como generar una imagen en variedad de formatos desde una rama del árbol visual de XAML y compartirlo con otros aplicativos utilizando RenderTargetBitMap


    10:00-11:00 GMT+1


    APIs de Windows Store

    Level 200


    Esta presentación está enfocada en las APIs de Tienda de Windows y el diseño de la aplicación para monetizarla. Explicamos los modelos disponibles (add-funded, trial, in-app purchase, consumables), como gestionar el cambio de licencia del aplicativo y habilitar la funcionalidad correspondiente. Además comentaremos el proceso de publicación del aplicativo en la Tienda de Windows.


    10:00-10:40 GMT+1


    Integrando con los Contactos y Calendario

    Level 200


    En esta presentación explicamos cómo integrar con las app estándar de Windows 8.1: Contactos y Calendario utilizando el API de contrato. Conseguiremos que el aplicativo que necesita gestionar datos de sobre personas o citas puede acceder a la información que gestionan estos apps.

    Podéis encontrar videos adicionales sobre el desarrollo de Store Apps en XAML y C# en inglés en:

    “Designing Your XAML UI with Blend Jump Start”

    “XAML Deep Dive for Windows & Windows Phone Apps Jump Start”

    "Windows Store App Development Essentials with C# Refresh"

    "Advanced Windows Store App Development Using C# Refresh"

    También hemos liberado el Update 2 de Visual Studio 2013 que puedes descargar de

    “Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Update 2”

  • Ask the Experts… any time

    I just sat through an “Ask the Experts” session on Exchange Online migrations at the Microsoft Exchange Conference, and there were some great questions asked. It got me to thinking… what do YOU do when you have a question?

    Search Bing/Google? Read TechNet or MSDN?  Read the Office 365 Service Descriptions? The Office 365 Deployment Guide? Stack Exchange?  Save up the question for SharePoint Conference or MEC or TechEd?  Those are all excellent resources.  Many teams within Microsoft write blogs to share tips/tricks/issues so they can be found later.  Definitely use them to find an answer if you can.

    For that matter, take advantage of the excellent training on Microsoft Virtual Academy or Ignite or  from a Microsoft Learning Partner. We even have some great videos over on the MSPartnerTech YouTube channel. However, training tends to cover our products working as designed, in a vanilla environment.  Out in the real world, things are much trickier, which is why we depend on our Partners for technical/industry/integration expertise. 

    That means our Partners hit some super interesting scenarios… “For a mailbox that was originally created on Exchange 2003, I cannot enable an archive once the user is moved to the cloud… am I doing something wrong or did I hit a bug?” “I am trying to move 30,000 mailboxes to the cloud, and when we did a few test migrations, I am only able to move mailboxes at  0.5 GB/hr. At that rate, it will take a year to move to the cloud. How can I speed up the migration?” “How can I move SharePoint list items from on-premises to SharePoint Online without changing the “modified” date?

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could get ahold of someone at Microsoft that had seen that scenario before and had an answer or a workaround or a pointer to documentation? Someone that could track down an answer from the thousands of smart people within Microsoft that may have hit that edge case before?  Some way to “Ask the Expert” when you have a problem, rather than waiting for a conference that takes place once a year?

    Let me point you to resources for our partners that let you “Ask an Expert” when you need it most… when you are planning for or carrying out a project:

    All Partners:

    Partner Support Communities – Unlimited no-charge support for both technical and program (questions about your membership, benefits, etc).  SLA’s vary by your membership level.

    Office 365 Partner Yammer Community – This is a Yammer group maintained by the Office 365 Partner team. There are no guaranteed answers or SLA, but it is a great place to collaborate with the Product team and other partners.

    Silver/Gold Competency Partners

    Partners with a Silver competency have access to 20 advisory hours a year, and Partners with a Gold competency have access to 50 advisory hours a year.  This is the Bat Phone to speak directly with a Partner Technical Consultant about your technical issue. There are many things a Partner Technical Consultant can help you out with (deployment planning, design review, and more). Submit your request via and a consultant will call you directly.

    Cloud Accelerate/Cloud Deployment Program Partners

    The Cloud Partner Support team is available to Cloud Accelerate and Cloud Deployment Program Partners via the Microsoft Online Portal (MOP) and via phone submission for severity A (critical) issues. Note: Cloud Accelerate partners must submit MOP issues on their partner Individual Use Rights (IUR) tenant to ensure routing to the correct Support team.   A quick reference guide with SLA’s, best practices, escalation resources, etc is available here: Cloud Partner Support Quick Reference Guide

  • Take advantage of your Office 365 Internal Use Rights

    In the past, MPN Partners with the Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate had access to Internal Use Rights for Office 365.  Now, however, all partners with a Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS) as well as Partners with a Silver or Gold competency all have access to free Internal Use Rights licenses for Office 365.  This gives you an opportunity to try out the service, so you can speak from experience when you discuss the benefits with your customers.  It also means that someone else takes care of running your servers so that you can spend more time working and less time patching and troubleshooting.

    I wanted to share a few resources to help get you started.  First, the page with all the information you need on your Internal Use Rights licenses, how to access them, how to earn more licenses, and how to activate your partner features is available at:

    In the following video, York Hutton walks through the Internal Use Rights (IUR) core benefits, discussing how they now give partners the power of choice to mix and match online services and on-premises software licenses. Microsoft partners can choose between work-alike solutions for productivity, demonstration, development, testing, and internal training purposes.

    In this video, York walks through the process of activating your IUR benefits, whether you are using them for the first time, or transitioning from a previous license grant:

    A few additional resources:
    KB2887467: Support Article: What are my internal use rights benefits?

    Office 365 partner features how-to guide (Learn about partner features available to help you sell to and manage your customers, including how to offer and use delegated administration, and how to send quotes and trials.)

    If you have program questions (how do I get my license, where is my key, how do I sign up for MAPS or renew my membership?) visit the Partner Membership Community

    If you have technical questions (why am I getting an error message when migrating my mailboxes? how do I resolve a DirSync error about an invalid attribute?), visit the Partner Online Services community.

    If you have a Silver or Gold competency, you have access to 20 and 50 (respectively) hours of advisory services consultation with a Partner Technical Consultant.  These consultants are a great resource to help plan for a deployment (even if it is an internal deployment). Submit an advisory request via:

    All partners holding current internal-use software licenses available through a cloud program must make the transition so that they are in alignment with the new internal-use software license process and entitlements, which are available to Action Pack subscribers or competency partners, prior to June 30, 2014, or your internal-use software licenses will expire.
    Download the instructions to transition to the new system

  • Windows Store App Development Training Videos (Turkish Versions)

    Recently we’ve released several short training videos around building Windows Store apps.  As a part of this process we’re now taking some of the most popular and offering them in additional languages.  Last week we launched the Spanish series.  Today we’re launching the Turkish series.

    Windows Store uygulamanız için 10 dakikadan az bir süre içinde Live Tile oluşturun

    Farklı ekran boyutları için Windows Store uygulamaları tasarlama

    Windows App Certification Kit (Turkish)

    Windows Store uygulamaları tasarlamak için Visual Studio şablonlarını kullanma

    Windows Store uygulamalarında bildirimleri kullanmak için ipuçları

  • Windows Store App Development Training Videos (Portuguese Versions)

    Recently we’ve released several short training videos around building Windows Store apps.  As a part of this process we’re now taking some of the most popular and offering them in additional languages.  Last week we launched the Spanish series.  Today we’re launching the Portuguese versions.

    Construir um Live Tile para a sua aplicação da Windows Store em menos de 10 minutos

    Construir uma aplicação para diferentes tamanhos de janela

    Windows App Certification Kit (Portuguese)

    Dicas e truques para utilizar notificações em aplicações da Windows Store

    Windows Store uygulamalarında bildirimleri kullanmak için ipuçları

    Como utilizar o Visual Studio para criar Windows Store Apps


  • Windows Store App Development Training Videos (Spanish Versions)

    Recently we’ve released several short training videos around building Windows Store apps.  As a part of this process we’re now taking some of the most popular and offering them in additional languages.  In the coming weeks we’ll bring you French, German, Portuguese, and Turkish as a start.

    Today we’re excited to bring the first five in Spanish.

    Desarrollo de Windows 8.1 Store Apps en C#

    Certificación de Store Apps

    Plantillas de Proyecto de Visual Studio para Store Apps

    Consejos y Trucos para Implementación de Notificaciones en Store Apps

    Como Adaptar Store Apps a los Tamaños de Ventana

    Como Implementar Live Tile del Store App en menos de 10 minutos

  • Microsoft Virtual Academy Presents: "Building Blocks" a pre //build event

    What do @geektrainer and @bitchwhocodes have in common?

    They both have awesome Twitter handles! And they’re both sharing their experience and insights in our upcoming “Building Blocks” Jump Start series. These entertaining and inspiring technology experts are teaming up with other seasoned pros, including @codefoster and @mlunes90, for three lively days of deep dives to help you gear up for next month’s //build conference. Whether you’re a web, app, C#, .NET, or JavaScript developer, you’re sure to stretch your dev muscles before the //build workout.

    We start the series on March 26 with “Initialize(),” which focuses on various paradigms comparing JavaScript and C# side by side on the Microsoft platform. We continue on March 27 with “Construct(),” where you learn how to create great layout and style with XAML and HTML5. And we wrap on March 28 with “Extend(),” a session on successful mobile app and smart device strategies.

    Sign up for one, two, or all three sessions, and be sure to bring questions for the Q&A!

    Register now! Building Blocks series:

    Initialize(), Wednesday, March 26, 9:00am‒5pm PDT

    Construct(), Thursday, March 27, 9:00am‒5pm PDT

    Extend(), Friday, March 28, 9:00am‒5pm PDT
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

  • How to fix the ACS Error ACS50008 in Windows Azure

    This video shows how to fix the Error ACS50008 in the context of Windows Azure Access Control Service.

    This error usually is displayed as an Inner Message like this:

    An error occurred while processing your request.
    HTTP Error Code: 401
    Message: ACS20001: An error occurred while processing a WS-Federation sign-in response.
    Inner Message: ACS5008:SAML token is invalid.
    Trace ID: 903f515f-3196-40c9-a334-71277700aca6
    Timestamp: 2014-03-02 10:16:16Z


    How to fix Error ACS50008

    ACS Error Codes

    ACS Documentation

  • Automatically Collect Windows Azure Storage Analytic Logs

    This video shows you how to automatically collect Windows Azure Storage Analytic logs. Storage Analytics are key to diagnosing issues with blob, table and queue storage. You can run the Windows Azure Storage Analytics Diagnostics package (.DiagCab) to automatically collect the logs previously generated.

    Before using this package, you will need to enable Windows Azure Storage Analytics.


    Download .DiagCab

    How to use .DiagCab

    Storage Analytics Video

    Storage Analytics Documentation

    Storage Analytics Billing

    Storage Analytics Log Format

    Storage Analytics Logging - How to Enable and Where to Find the logs.


    This package will only work on a Windows 7 or later, or Windows Server 2008 R2 or later computer. You will need to have Microsoft Excel installed on the machine where you run this package in order to see the charts.

  • Troubleshooting and Debugging Windows Azure Web Sites

    The Tech Support team for Windows Azure has put together an excellent series of short videos for those of you working with Windows Azure Web Sites.  The links are below.

    Diagnostics in Windows Azure Web Sites

    Remote Debugging in Windows Azure Web Sites

    Failed Request Tracing

    Application Logging and Crashes

    To be notified of future videos in the Azure Troubleshooting series, subscribe to the Channel 9 series.

  • Migrate from Gmail to Office 365 in 7 steps

    If you are doing a large migration from Gmail to Office 365, you will generally want to use a 3rd party tool that automates the process.  However, if you are migrating a small customer with a few mailboxes, it is quick, easy, (and free!) to do so manually).

    Here is how:

    What do you need to know before you begin?

    This guide covers migrating from Gmail to Office 365 and will take about an hour to complete.

    For more information on deploying Office 365, see the first article in the series at Office 365 Midsize Business Quick Deployment Guide and also watch the YouTube video at Office 365 Midsize Business Quick Deployment Guide video.

    Before you begin the Gmail to Office 365 migration, you need to know or have at hand a few key pieces of information:

    1. Your Google apps and Office 365 administrator account and password.
    2. The URLs to access the Google admin console, the Office 365 admin center, and the Exchange admin center. If you don't have them, don’t worry—they are covered later in this document.
    3. The user names and passwords of the Gmail mailboxes you want to migrate.
    4. How to create MX records at your Internet service provider.


    If you’re using Office 365 Midsize Business with the Microsoft Open License or the Open Value program, go to the get started with Office 365 page and create an Office 365 account first. After you’ve created the account, return to this document and begin Step 1: Sign in to the Gmail Admin console and Office 365 admin center.

    What Gmail information is migrated?

    1. Email is migrated, and this is covered in Step 5: Migrate a Gmail mailbox.

    2. Gmail contacts are migrated and imported by using a CSV file. This topic is covered in Step 6: Migrate Gmail contacts.

    3. Gmail calendar items are imported by exporting Google Calendar to an iCal file. This is covered in Step 7: Migrate Gmail calendar.

    Okay, let’s get started.

    Step 1: Sign in to the Gmail Admin console and Office 365 admin center


    Sign in to the Google Admin console

    1. By using your Google Apps administrative credentials, sign in to

    2. After you’re signed in, choose Users and verify the list of users you want to migrate to Office 365.


    Sign in to the Office 365 admin center or the Exchange admin center
    1. By using your Office 365 administrative credentials, sign in to

    2. After you’re signed in, you will be directed to the Office 365 admin center page.

    3. To go to the Exchange admin center, click the drop-down arrow next to the Admin name in the ribbon bar.


    4. From the list, select Exchange.

    5. Select Office 365 to return to the Office 365 admin center page.

    Step 2: Create Office 365 mailboxes for Gmail users you want to migrate

    One of the most important tasks in preparing to migrate Gmail to Office 365 is first creating an Office 365 mailbox for each Gmail mailbox you want to migrate. Fortunately, creating an Office 365 mailbox is easy. You simply create a new user account and assign the Exchange Online Plan license to the user. Refer to your list of Gmail mailboxes you want to migrate, and complete the following steps to create corresponding Office 365 mailboxes.

    To create an Office 365 mailbox for each user you want to migrate from Gmail

    1. From the Office 365 admin center, click users and groups > active users.

    2. Click the plus icon (+) to add a new user account. You can also create multiple user accounts at the same time by clicking the Bulk add icon, as shown in the following figure.


    • Click Assign role > Set user location, and then click Next.
    • On the Assign licenses page, ensure that Exchange Online Plan 1 or Exchange Online Plan 2 is selected. This helps ensure that the user account being created will have access to email.


    • On the Send results in email page, type an email address where you will receive the temporary password for the user.

      The newly created user name and password appear on the Results page and are also sent to the administrator via email.

    • Lastly, send the email message with the user name and temporary password information to each user.

    Step 3: Create a Gmail migration file

    The migration file, a comma-separated values (CSV) file, contains the list of Gmail accounts that will be migrated to Office 365. Each row of the file contains the email address of an Office 365 mailbox and the corresponding user name and password of the Gmail account that will be migrated.

    The CSV file can easily be created by using Microsoft Excel.


    Create the Gmail migration file

    1. On your local computer, open Excel 2013 or Excel 2010.

    2. Using the preceding figure as a template, create the migration file.

    3. Column A lists the Office 365 mailbox.

    4. Column B lists the Gmail user name.

    5. Column C lists the password for the Gmail user in Column B.

    6. Save the file as a CSV file type, and then close the program.

    Step 4: Verify that Office 365 can communicate with Gmail

    As part of the migration process, Office 365 must verify that it can communicate with Gmail. It’s very important to successfully connect to the Gmail server before continuing. If you do experience any problems performing this step, see Troubleshooting the Gmail connection to resolve the issue.

    Test the connection to the Gmail server

    1. Go to the Exchange admin center.

    2. Select migration > More > migration endpoints.

    3. Choose + and then select IMAP.

    4. Set IMAP server to, and leave the remaining settings as they are.

    5. Choose Next.


    • When you reach the new migration endpoint page, this verifies that Office 365 can connect to the Gmail server.


    • Enter a name for the connection and choose new to create the migration endpoint. The preceding figure uses Gmail-migration as the name of the migration endpoint.

    • The migration endpoints page appears and displays the endpoint you just created.


    Step 5: Migrate a Gmail mailbox

    When you migrate your Gmail mailbox to Office 365, only the items in your inbox or other mail folders are migrated. The steps for migrating your contacts and calendar items are covered in later steps.

    Migrate messages from Gmail to Office 365

    1. Go to the Exchange admin center.

    2. Navigate to Recipients > Migration.

    3. Click the plus icon (+), and choose Migrate to Exchange Online.

    4. Choose IMAP migration.

    5. Choose Browse, and specify the file created in Step 3: Create a Gmail migration file.

    6. On the Start the batch page, select Automatically start the batch. The status field will initially be set to Created, as shown below.

    7. The status will change to Syncing and then to Synced after the Gmail messages have been synchronized with Office 365.

    Step 6: Migrate Gmail contacts

    You migrate your contacts from Gmail to Office 365 by first exporting the list of contacts to a comma-separated values (CSV) file and then importing that file into Office 365.

    Export Gmail contacts to a CSV file

    1. Using your Google Apps administrative credentials, sign in to the Google admin console..

    2. Choose Contacts > More > Export.

    3. Choose All contacts > Outlook CSV format > Export.

    4. Select a location to save your file.


    When you export Gmail contacts to a CSV file, you must choose the Outlook CSV format to successfully import the Gmail contacts into Office 365.

    Import Gmail contacts into Office 365

    1. Using your Office 365 administrative credentials, sign in to the Office 365 admin center.

    2. Choose People > Settings > Import contacts.

    3. Select the Gmail CSV file you saved in Step 3: Create a Gmail migration file, and choose Next.

    4. After the Gmail contacts have been successfully imported into Office 365, choose finish.

    Step 7: Migrate Gmail calendar

    You migrate calendar items from Gmail to Office 365 by using a two-step process. First, you export the Gmail calendar items as an iCal file. Once the iCal file is saved, you use Microsoft Outlook to import the calendar items into the Outlook Calendar. You cannot import the iCal file directly into Outlook Web Access.


    There are third-party tools available that simplify the task of moving Gmail calendar items and contacts to Office 365 and Microsoft Outlook. An Internet search for “Gmail to Office 365 migration tools” lists some of these tools.

    Export your Gmail calendar to an iCal file

    1. Using your Google Apps administrative credentials, sign in to

    2. Choose Calendar > My calendars > Settings > Export calendars.

    3. Select a location to save your file. Gmail saves the iCal file as a compressed file. Be sure to decompress the file before proceeding to the next step.

    Import your Gmail calendar into Microsoft Outlook
    1. Set up Microsoft Outlook to access Office 365. For guidance, see Set up email in Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013.

    2. Choose Import > Comma Separated Values (Windows) > Next.

    3. Select the iCalendar file you saved in the previous step..

    4. Choose Outlook’s calendar > Finish. You should now see the Gmail calendar items within the Outlook calendar.

    Verify Gmail migration completed successfully

    Now that you have migrated Gmail messages, contacts, and calendar items to Office 365, you can use Outlook Web App, which comes with Office 365, to verify that Gmail migrated successfully.

    Verify Gmail migrated successfully using Outlook Web App

    1. Open the email message sent by the Office 365 administrator that includes your temporary password.

    2. Go to the sign-in page

    3. Sign in with the user name and temporary password.

    4. Update your password, and set your time zone.


      It’s very important that you select the correct time zone to ensure your calendar and email settings are correct.

    5. When Outlook Web App opens, send an email message to the Office 365 administrator to verify that you can send email.

    6. Choose the Outlook icon, and verify that the Gmail messages have been migrated.

    7. Choose the People icon, and verify that the Gmail contacts have been migrated.

    8. Choose the Calendar icon, and verify that the Gmail calendar items have been migrated.


      You cannot import Gmail calendar items directly into Outlook Web App. However, you can view the items using Outlook Web App after they have been imported by Microsoft Outlook.

    Next steps after migrating Gmail to Office 365

    Well, you’ve reached the end of migrating Gmail to Office 365. At this stage, email is flowing to both Gmail and Office 365 mailboxes. Many administrators choose to keep both the Gmail and Office 365 mailboxes running in parallel for a period of time. There’s nothing wrong with this approach. The limitation is that email is updated to Office 365 from Gmail once every 24 hours. To remove this limitation and direct Gmail messages directly to Office 365, follow the procedure below.

    Route all future Gmail messages to Office 365

    1. Sign in to your DNS hosting provider’s website.

    2. Select your domain.

    3. Find the page where you can edit DNS records for your domain.

    4. Open a new browser window, and sign in to the Office 365 website using your Office 365 administrative credentials.

    5. Choose domains > your company domain > View DNS Settings > View DNS records.

    6. In the Exchange Online section, in the MX row, copy the Priority, Host Name, and Points to Address.


    1. Return to your DNS hosting provider’s website, and use this information to create a new MX record.

    2. Set the priority of the MX record to the highest value available, typically 0, and save the record.

    For detailed instructions for creating MX records to point to Office 365, see the article Create DNS records for Office 365 when you manage your DNS records.

    For information about creating an MX record, see Find your domain registrar or DNS hosting provider.


    Typically, it takes about 15 minutes for DNS changes to take effect. However, it can take up to 72 hours for a changed record to propagate throughout the DNS system.

    See the following list of resources to further your exploration of Office 365:

    • Join the Office 365 Yammer group to discuss the latest news about Office 365. Sign up on the Office 365 Yammer page to get started.
    • The Office 365 community site posts the latest developments and information related to Office 365. It includes a discussion area where site members can post questions and answers.

    Troubleshooting the Gmail connection

    The information in this article covers troubleshooting Step 4: Verify that Office 365 can communicate with Gmail. If you successfully created a connection to Gmail from Office 365, you can skip this topic. However, if you were not successful connecting to Gmail from Office 365, perform the following steps.

    Test the connection to the Gmail server

    1. Open Windows PowerShell as an administrator on your computer.

    2. From the Windows PowerShell command window, run Get-ExecutionPolicy.

      The Get-ExecutionPolicy cmdlet tells you which of the four execution policies (policies that determine which Windows PowerShell scripts, if any, will run on your computer) is set. In the next step, we’ll change this setting to remotesigned.

    3. From the Windows PowerShell command window, run Set-ExecutionPolicy remotesigned.

    4. Next, run the following command:

      $session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri "" -Credential $cred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
    5. When prompted to enter your Windows PowerShell credentials, enter your Office 365 administrator credentials.

    6. Next, run Import-PSSession $session.

      This command provides access so you can test the connection between Gmail and Office 365.

    7. To see a list of Office 365 mailboxes configured on Office 365, run Get-Mailbox. This is just a quick test to verify that we are communicating with Office 365.

    8. Finally, to test the connection between Gmail and Office 365, run the following command:

      Test-MigrationServerAvailability -IMAP -RemoteServer -Port 993 -Security SSL

      You should see Success appear in the Result row. If you see any errors, verify you have entered the command correctly.


    9. Now that you’ve verified that Office 365 can connect to Gmail, it’s important to disconnect from Office 365. To do that, from the Windows PowerShell command window, run Exit.

    10. Troubleshooting is now complete. Return to Step 4: Verify that Office 365 can communicate with Gmail.