Blog

New Exchange Server 2013 Deployment Assistant Available

Audience: Exchange/Office 365 for Enterprises Administrators Author: Robert Mazzoli, Senior Technical Writer, Exchange   We’re happy to announce that the Exchange Server 2013 Deployment Assistant has been released and includes support for configuring new Exchange 2013 installations, configuring hybrid deployments using Exchange Server 2013, and migrating your existing on-premises Exchange organizations completely to Office 365.    Check out the full announcement at the Exchange Team blog here .   For those of you not familiar with the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant , it’s a free web-based tool that asks you a small set of simple questions and then, based on your answers, creates a customized checklist with instructions to deploy or configure Exchange 2013. Instead of trying to find what you need in the Exchange library, the Deployment Assistant gives you exactly the right information you need to complete your task.  

New Exchange Server 2013 Deployment Assistant Available

Audience: Exchange/Office 365 for Enterprises Administrators Author: Robert Mazzoli, Senior Technical Writer, Exchange   We’re happy to announce that the Exchange Server 2013 Deployment Assistant has been released and includes support for configuring new Exchange 2013 installations, configuring hybrid deployments using Exchange Server 2013, and migrating your existing on-premises Exchange organizations completely to Office 365.    Check out the full announcement at the Exchange Team blog here .   For those of you not familiar with the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant , it’s a free web-based tool that asks you a small set of simple questions and then, based on your answers, creates a customized checklist with instructions to deploy or configure Exchange 2013. Instead of trying to find what you need in the Exchange library, the Deployment Assistant gives you exactly the right information you need to complete your task.  

Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Series: Client Deployment Options

Author: Jeremy_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. Office 365 ProPlus offers flexible software delivery options to suit organizations of all sizes and desktop service architectures. From small businesses where users often install their own software, to large enterprises where hundreds of applications are centrally delivered by the IT department to every user, Office 365 ProPlus installation adapts to your processes and workflows. Install Office 365 ProPlus from the Internet Self-installation of Office 365 ProPlus allows users to install Office on their personal PCs directly from www.office365.com . After the administrator has created the user account, the user can log in to the Office 365 service and install Office 365 ProPlus. Users will need to be local administrators on their PCs when self-installing and the installation will always be the most up-to-date Office build and be enabled to receive automatic updates. When the user initiates the installation, a small setup file (roughly 400 KB) is downloaded and run from the local PC the filename (for example: Setup.X86.en-us_ProPlusRetail_56f7d927-5bf8-435e-a240-9eaeef2f53c5_.exe) contains the installation parameters and what is loaded from the content delivery network site ( http://officecdn.microsoft.com/ ) where Office installation files are stored. Software installation page in Office 365 Self-installation may be appropriate in certain organizations where users have administrative privileges and are expected to install their own software. Self-installation rights may also be provided in well-managed organizations where users by definition cannot install software on managed computers, but are given access to Office 365 ProPlus installation on home or personal PCs. Administrators may also centrally disable the right for user self-installation, but this is a global control within the Office 365 Admin Portal and will apply to all users in the tenant. Process for managed self-installation or home and personal device installation in a managed environment In the process flow above, the IT administrator may optionally define Office configurations using local configuration management tools like Group Policy prior to publishing self-installation steps to end users. End users will be responsible for installing any required add-ins, dependent applications or standardized Office templates if needed and in the self-installation scenario, users are by default configured to receive automatic monthly updates from the Office 365 service. Automated Deployments using Software Distribution Infrastructure Most large organizations use enterprise software distribution or image-based deployment automation to install software on behalf of their users. Office 365 ProPlus enables these tools and processes to install Office either from the network or with support from the Office 365 online service. As with the download process the Office Deployment Tool uses setup.exe to install and configure Office 365 ProPlus. These tools are designed with flexibility in mind so an administrator can point the setup engine at local, network or Web-based file sources. The configuration XML file governs the installation process to determine what products, architectures, languages, and versions are installed and from which sources. It also allows the administrator to suppress installation and first run experiences, accept licensing agreements on behalf of the user, determine where installation logs are stored, enable or disable automatic software updates and configure where Office looks for updates. Process for on-premises software delivery of Office 365 ProPlus With these tools you can follow classic enterprise software distribution approaches where software installation files are installed via local cache or directly from the management or distribution point. New to Office 365 ProPlus is the ability to distribute just the setup.exe file and instruct that Office Click-to-Run packages are installed from the Office 365 online service ( http://officecdn.microsoft.com/ ). This is a great scenario in off-LAN situations when VPN connectivity to a management point is slower than the target machine’s connection to the Internet. Because installations are usually much faster than with previous MSI-based packages, deploying Office pre-installed in a custom Windows image will not save as much time as with previous Office releases and it allows you to pre-cache Office Click-to-Run builds with multiple language support within a captured Windows image (WIM) file, then use scripting automation or your favorite task sequencing engine to install Office directly from the local file source within the WIM file. It is also recommended to install Office native to the language of the operating system as opposed to using language packs atop the EN-US installation of Office, but both options are still possible with Office 365 ProPlus and Click-to-Run. The configuration XML file governs both what is downloaded and how Office Click-to-Run is applied to the target computer. The controls relevant to using setup.exe /configure are the following. Option Description Sample Syntax Add Parent control to determine source, architecture, product and languages to download. From local folder:               From local network:               Remove Used to uninstall Office products.                                 Product Multiple products may be nested under the control and multiple languages may be nested under the control. Office 365 ProPlus      SourcePath Location where the Office is installed from. If SourcePath is unspecified, setup will first look for installation source in the local folder and if not present it will look to the CDN source. OfficeClientEdition Determines the architecture of the product to download, 32 or 64 bit. Note: 32-bit is still the recommended architecture for new Office versions. Cross-architecture installations are not permitted; if a 32-bit Office version is already installed on a system, the 64-bit Click-to-Run package will not install and vice versa.   Or: OfficeClientEdition=”32″ OfficeClientEdition=”64″ Language Language determines the language DAT files to be downloaded with the Click-to-Run package. Updates Configures automatic updating behavior. Updates may be either from the public Office 365 service, local location, local file share or private http:// site. To use a local file share: To use the CDN:   

Announcing the new Office 365 Deployment Center

The new Office 365 Deployment Center is the place to find the tools, guidance, and technical resources to help you pilot and deploy Office 365.  With Microsoft’s recommended approach, you can set-up a 25-user pilot quickly and experience the full set of Office 365 service features including the new Office applications.  Then, smoothly move your entire organization into production and add advanced features, when needed.    1.          Pilot the full set of Office 365 features quickly          Send email via your desktop, phone, or tablet.          Share documents and collaborate online with SharePoint Online and Office Web Apps.          Run online meetings and communicate with others using Lync Online.          Create documents with the new Office applications, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, and Lync.   2.         Transition to production smoothly with the same tenant          Transition your pilot users to deployment.          Scale to the rest of your organization.          Migrate email.          Deploy Office 365 ProPlus to all your users.   3.        Add advanced features if and when you need them such as hybrid configurations for Exchange and SharePoint, and single sign-on.   Go to: http://www.deployoffice365.com  and start your pilot today!

Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Series: Office 365 ProPlus Security Considerations

Author: Jeremy_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. Office 365 ProPlus changes the security and data management story from securing end points and activities on the end point to decisions for securely accessing data. In order to enable users to switch from one device to another and resume working with their content, it means that either they log into a remotely hosted environment or that endpoints have access to remotely-stored documents. Office 365 ProPlus optimizes for the best experiences on devices while also providing rich browser-based experiences with Office Web Apps. In either constellation, Office 365 ProPlus does not use a Remote Desktop Protocol-based architecture where the user logs into a remote system and views that from the endpoint. Files and content will move to the consuming device whether viewed through a browser or with rich clients, so securing access to files is a key consideration. If your organization is not quite ready to move email or file storage workloads to Office 365 Enterprise services – with Exchange and SharePoint functionality available – then Office 365 ProPlus may be the best fit because your email services and files will be stored on your premises. The only data Office 365 ProPlus will need to store in the cloud are User Principle Names and related minimum user attributes for handling activation and roaming settings information (primarily HTTP links to files and custom dictionary entries).  Everything else in that case remains in your infrastructure using traditional data management and access models. Securing the Service Some of the primary vectors for Office 365 security have been discussed in this series as they relate to authentication and authorization to Office 365 services and which services are permitted as save-to or open-from locations. For the latter configuration, Office 365 ProPlus and Office Professional Plus 2013 may be managed by new Group Policy settings to optionally restrict storage to SkyDrive or third party cloud storage locations. You may also limit sign-in credentials to Organizational IDs and disable sign-in to personal IDs or disable sign-in altogether. Disabling sign-in completely applies best to Office Professional Plus 2013 installs of Office, where activation is performed via Key Management Service (KMS) or Multiple Activation Key (MAK). Access to files and services may be augmented by Rights Management Services and/or multifactor authentication used in conjunction with Active Directory Federation Services to provide secure authentication and authorization to your organization’s files. Securing Clients Office 365 ProPlus includes enterprise-class security controls and fully-supports Group Policy configuration management. Additional features carried over from Office 2010 include Protected View, Data Execution Prevention (DEP) support, trust locations and documents, Office file validation and file block and ActiveX Kill Bit. For many organizations, the default security settings for Office 365 ProPlus are suitable and for those of you with highly locked-down environments, Group Policy enables thousands of settings via ADMX administration templates to fine-tune Office settings to fit your needs. Securing Office on Demand and Web Apps Office on Demand is a new delivery model allowing users to stream complete Office applications from a SkyDrive Pro location. It enables users to get quick access to Office applications and their files on essentially any Windows 7 or newer PC with an Internet connection – and without ActiveX controls disabled by the admin. But what does this mean for the files accessed via these unmanaged or non-owned PCs? Because the user in this case has access to SkyDrive Pro from the unmanaged PC, Office on Demand works to provide an excellent viewing and editing experience. If that user elects to download a copy and view it in Notepad or a browser, the file has already made it to the local hard drive of the computer. While Office on Demand does enable a more compelling user experience in this case, it doesn’t diminish security if those files were already accessible from that unmanaged computer. Much more to come This post only scratches the surface of security considerations scoped to the client and essentially was written to answer a few very frequently-asked questions I get when presenting Office 365 ProPlus to large organizations. Check out the  Security overview for Office 2013 Preview on TechNet for further information on product and service security as it relates to Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus. Also be sure to download the Office 2013 Preview Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML) for Group Policy management.

New Office 365 launch webcast & Yammer video

In case you have missed the launch webcast last week on February 27th to mark the general availability of the new Office 365, here is the link . In particular I’d like to highlight the Yammer demo that starts at 16:30 and ends at 19:00. Also check out this video released on YouTube that provides and overview of Yammer: Yammer: Transforming the Way We Work

New Office 365 launch webcast & Yammer video

In case you have missed the launch webcast last week on February 27th to mark the general availability of the new Office 365, here is the link . In particular I’d like to highlight the Yammer demo that starts at 16:30 and ends at 19:00. Also check out this video released on YouTube that provides and overview of Yammer: Yammer: Transforming the Way We Work

The new Office: What are your options, what's changed and what's new?

With the availability of the commercial service for the new Office, Wednesday marked the inaugural full episode of the Garage Series for IT Pros show. In this episode, our desktop specialist hosts, Jeremy Chapman and Yoni Kirsh, walk us through the differences between Click-to-Run and MSI-based Office versions, the new IT Pro capabilities, the premise of the new Office including a demo of user-based, multi-device support. Watch as they install and demonstrate a highly-customized Office 2010 co-existing with the new Office, and show side-by-side capability and shared customizations. Tune in at www.microsoft.com/garage .

Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Series: Activation Experiences in Office 365 ProPlus

Author: Jeremy_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. Office 365 ProPlus activation is tied to the users provisioned your organization’s Office 365 tenant. When a user signs in for the first time after product installation, Office 365 ProPlus requests the user to sign in one time activate the installation. Activation Sign In screen Because the Office 365 service handles the activation, there are no product keys to add into your deployment procedures and Key Management Services (KMS) are unnecessary. Activation status can be managed by the Office 365 administrator in order to add or remove users. Changes to the user accounts and activation status are designed to appear at the clients as applications are launched. Apps will automatically look at account status information and if a user has been deprovisioned – the user will be informed that there are no Office licenses assigned to his user account and close the application. Notification window stating that there are no Office licenses available to the user This solves for a key consumerization of IT challenge when users bring in their own devices and expect software to be loaded on otherwise personal devices. With in-house line-of-business applications, the applications can check for access to internal files and respond accordingly. Third party applications – like Office in this case – are more difficult to de-activate, as they tend to have a perpetual activation without any ties to your organization. In the consumerization of IT scenario, you are essentially leasing the software to users while they are employed by your organization. With Office 365, termination of employment along with subsequent service deprovisioning will allow you to de-activate Office installs allocated to that user on his or her personal devices. In cases where the user is offline without access to the Internet, Office 365 ProPlus will remain in an activated state for up to 30 days without Internet connectivity. If the desktop applications go into a de-activated mode due to non-use, applications can be re-activated connecting to the Internet and the Office 365 service. Office 365 ProPlus is built to make the activation and de-activation process easy and manageable, but people using Office 365 ProPlus are anticipated to connect to the Internet frequently to ensure uninterupted service. In cases where computers are always completely offline or only operated within a corporate firewall, Office Professional Plus 2013 is an excellent option. For more in-depth information about Office 365 ProPlus activation, check out the Overview of licensing and activation in Office 365 ProPlus Preview on TechNet.

The Latest on Lync-Skype Connectivity

Last week Microsoft announced that Lync-Skype connectivity for presence, IM, and voice will be available to all Lync users by June. Today a follow-up article was published on the Lync Team Blog that provides additional details, as well as answers to the most frequently asked questions. For the full story, see Lync-Skype Connectivity Arriving by June .