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A few days ago the public beta of Office 365 was announced - one of the most important software releases from Microsoft in decades. For those unfamiliar with Office 365 let’s just take a moment to gain an understanding of the offering before we dive into what’s available in there for IT professionals. If you know what it is skip the next paragraph.
Office 365 is summed up by the folks in marketing with the strapline, “Everything Microsoft knows about productivity” which I think is very accurate. It is NOT a new version of Microsoft Office. It is Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Lync running in the public cloud, meaning that we at Microsoft manage the servers to a 99.9% uptime service level from our own datacentres around the globe. There’s more though, it’s also Microsoft Office running in the cloud and Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus to install on your computers in some editions. The service is provided on a monthly subscription basis. For more information about the pricing and plans take a look at the Office 365 site. The pricing is why this is an uber important release for Microsoft. It moves Microsoft Office to a pay monthly option which frankly is huge…the whole capex to opex thing.
What’s in it for the IT pro though, what makes it tick and click for you? Well there’s a hefty helping of Powershell to keep you happy, there’s new technology to get to grips with in the form of Directory syncronisation and the excitement of federating your Active Directory safely over the internet. The icing on the cake comes in the form of SharePoint goodness which, although it’s mainly for developers is probably a place all you SharePoint heads will love digging about. So let’s take a look.
The first thing you’ll want to do is grab hold of some exciting word docs on the services within Office 365, so head to the service descriptions download (as it happens I’ll be taking these with me on holiday to read).
Next you’ll want to break open a PowerShell window and try some commands, there are lots (about 260 or so) but some of the goodness hidden within includes: Configuring Exchange Online mailbox sizes and limits, specify the email message format used for external recipients, requesting a Directory Service quota increase there are tons more things besides, but here’s a handy search of the KB to help you in your discovery.
Next we need to get you thinking about some of the key infrastructure stuff you’ll need to do, so how about learning all about ADFS as a primer? In fact you might prefer to learn it from Planky, our friendly UK Evangelist who not only understands ADFS but can also explain PKI to anyone in a way you’ll understand. To be honest you’ll probably benefit from a total understanding of how Exchange Online, part of Office 365, can co-exist with Exchange 2003. The 2007 and 2010 docs are coming but we are still in beta!
If you’re a SharePoint head you’re probably going to want to wrap your mind around a training kit and luckily MSDN already has materials materialising. There’s a training kit available that’s a thoroughly good read for anyone planning on doing anything deep with SharePoint.
Finally (and good for us all) are the skills you’ll need to rollout the full version of Office 365 which comes courtesy of a new TechCenter on TechNet, however the skills will be very familiar to anyone who’s rolled out Office 2010. It is the same product you know.
So there you have it, a whole bunch of handy resources to get you started on a journey with the beta, all you need to do now is visit the website and signup for the Office 365 Beta to start playing! If you want to know more, though, we are doing some in-depth stuff at Tech.Days 2011, so register to attend the Public Cloud for IT Professionals event @ TechDays, 25th May, London. Also check out the Office 365 Community and Office 365 Blog and Office 365 Wikis.
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Almost time for the weekend for those of us lucky enough to benefit from UK Bank Holidays. Before you head off on a last minute Easter egg hunt, find out what we’ve been talking about on the blog this week.
See you next week!
Are you looking forward to the Easter break a bit too much? Maybe it’s time for a change. Take a look at MSemploy’s top job picks for this week.
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This week on Tech.Days online we covered Managing the Cloud, if you missed it you can watch the recording here.
Coming up next on 3 May is Deployment with the Microsoft Desktop Optimisaton Pack (MDOP). We will help you understand how MDOP helps Windows 7 deployment and management with practical uses. Sign up here.
You can see what else is coming up in the Tech.Days online series here.
In the latest TechNet newsletter we told you about the latest Tech.Days 2011 updates, reminded you about our special TechNet Subscriptions offer and talked about Windows Home Server RTM. Want to hear the news first-hand?Sign up now to get your very own copy, direct to your inbox every second Thursday.
You may have read our first edition on cost; well here is the second with a few more case studies to show you how Windows 7 has enabled businesses to save money. We have also pulled out some more great resources that may be useful for you.
Orby – “Deploying Windows 7 Enterprise at companies with a distributed IT infrastructure like ours makes the job of the IT department much easier. We’re reducing technical support spending while increasing security.” Mikhail Kudashev, IT Director, Orby. Case study.
Smartodds – “We rolled out Windows 7 to all 50 of our workstations as soon as it was released. We’ve seen a phenomenal performance improvement across all our applications as a result, with no need to replace existing computers, creating hardware savings of 90%.” Daniel Bryk, IT Manager, Smartodds. Case study.
Dean Close School, cutting-edge learning solutions have potential to save school £25,000. Case study.
Lodge Park Technology College, will save £6,000 to £10,000 a year with virtualised systems that reduce the need to replace older hardware. Full case study Case study.
Read about the cost saving enabled by Microsoft technology including the Windows 7 feature such as DirectAccess, enabling users to remain connected to the corporate network whenever they are connected to the Internet, and without having to use a VPN. This seamless and ubiquitous access method has resulted both significant end user and business benefits for Microsoft.
Read this white paper to find out how Windows Server 2008 R2 helps optimise IT and save you money.
Check out the other posts in our Business Insights series.
Since we’re giving the usual TechNet newsletter a little rest over Easter, I’m telling you about this fortnight’s great TechNet On feature here on the blog instead. This time we’re talking all things Lync, and there’s a heap of technical info covering what you should know and why, and deployment. Find out why Lync is great and get started with planning and deployment below.
The concept of unified communications, delivered in Lync Server 2010, enables workers to use the same communications platform, regardless of device or location, while presence and coauthoring capabilities facilitate collaboration.
Planning for and deploying the unified communications platform is made easier with the wealth of documentation and tools. Lean how to get started with Lync Server 2010.
Today on TechDays online it’s all about Managing the Cloud. When Microsoft says it's all in it means that all of its solutions will be integrated into the cloud. Microsoft management toolset, System Center, is no exception to this and this will be available in a number of ways: including Intune to manage PCs, Atlanta to manage SQL Server and Operations Manager management packs top report on. Join in and sign up here.