In preparing for this version of my blog, I went back and read the April 2020 version in which I talked about Microsoft introducing or renaming their Microsoft 365 product line. I started off that blog making light of the “Bizzaro World” I lived in at the time. The Covid-19 Pandemic was just in full swing with the 30 days to stop the spread shutdown in full effect. All our lives have been fundamentally changed as we navigate through the daily effects the Pandemic continues to bring, truly a “Bizzaro World”.
Also, in that blog, I discussed how Microsoft is pushing its customers to the cloud by making some features in their cloud version of software not available in the on-premises version of software.
Microsoft states in their Office 2019 for Windows FAQ…
“Office 2019 (for both Windows and Mac) is a one-time purchase and does not receive feature updates after you purchase it. It includes a meaningful subset of features that are found in Microsoft 365, but it’s not part of Microsoft 365. Office 2019 will receive quality and security updates as required.”
In September 2020, Microsoft announced they would be ending the Open License program at the end of 2021. For those that might not be familiar with the Open Programs, there are three:
“Simplifying the purchase experience for our customers is a core element of making it easier to do business with Microsoft. It requires a change in the way we’ve engaged with you, and in how you buy and manage your software licenses and subscriptions for online services.”
“In September 2020, we announced changes to the Microsoft Open License program with the introduction of perpetual software license purchases through the new commerce experience. If you’re a small or midsized customer, you can now buy software licenses from partners participating in the Cloud Solution Provider program. As a result, we’ll be ending purchases through the Open License program on December 31, 2021. If you have a small or midsize organization with little or no IT resources, Microsoft partners can provide expertise and services and build unique solutions with the latest Microsoft services and offers.”
Previously, Open License purchases were made through CSP Partners, such as Zunesis. The CSP model was designed for the partner to add value to its customers’ cloud experience via support, billing flexibility and advice. The customer effectively has a pay as you go consumption arrangement through the partner, rather than directly with Microsoft.
CSP has numerous benefits to customers. One is Flexibility. This is where you pay for what you use and have the ability to add/remove licenses on a monthly basis. Other features include Monthly Billing, no upfront costs, benefit from the Partner’s Licensing expertise, and discounts off MSRP to name a few.
It means these as-needed software purchases without SA will be subscription-based purchases through Microsoft’s Cloud.
Does this mean you have to “move” to the cloud?
No, you get all the features you are used to, with the flexibility of the CSP program. The software is downloaded and installed the same way it always was.
In fact, it could be argued that licensing through CSP has better benefits than SA.
There are several options for purchasing Office via CSP, some include online services, some are software only. Plans start as low as $5 per month. Each one of these plans include always up to date software. When updates are released, the user is prompted to install them. A few examples:
Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server can be purchase through CSP. These licenses can be used both on-premises and in Azure, saving 40% in Azure using the Hybrid Benefit and save more as there is no need for Client Access Licenses in Azure. Customers are billed monthly for the CSP licenses, even though the server purchases are annual.
Microsoft continues to push customers toward their cloud offerings. There are a lot of combinations when looking at Microsoft Licensing through CSP. A CSP Partner can assist in finding the most cost-effective solution for your organization.
It is probably no surprise to anyone reading this that the move to Hybrid Cloud is picking up pace. IT organizations are moving data and workloads offsite for protection or to expand resource capacity more dynamically without increasing their capital spend. Of course, protection and capital management are just a couple of examples. The reasons and use cases for the growth of Hybrid Cloud are evolving nearly as fast as the technology that makes the hybrid infrastructure more viable than ever before.
As a storage focused Solution Architect, my perspective is data-centric. I look for ways to get data to the cloud most efficiently. My interests are motivated by how we use, migrate, and protect that data once it’s there. I need to answer questions about presenting the data to applications and compute resources, how to migrate it from one Cloud provider to another, and how to restore it back to on-premise resources.
Management of data in a hybrid environment is facilitated by an increasing number of solutions today. This week, I’d like to highlight three cloud-based data solutions from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Two of the HPE solutions I’ll be summarizing here are part of an HPE Cloud Suite. Those solutions include HPE Cloud Volumes Block and HPE Cloud Volumes Backup. The third solution has been around for some time and is not officially considered part of the Suite. However, I think it is important as a consideration in an overall Data in the Cloud strategy. That third solution is HPE Cloud Bank Storage.
As I mentioned before, the HPE Cloud Volumes Suite consists of a pair of enterprise-class, on-demand data services from HPE that provide Block and Backup storage on an HPE Cloud platform. Each of these services leverage technologies from HPE that can also be found in their on-premise solutions. Cloud Block utilizes Nimble Storage and Cloud Backup utilizes the StoreOnce Catalyst Store.
Together, these services can provide an on-premise experience. But, to be clear, you don’t need to have Nimble or StoreOnce on-premise in order to use these HPE data services. The idea behind Cloud Volumes is to provide access to your data from anywhere and allow you to move data between workloads across the major cloud providers that include Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
The HPE Cloud Volumes Suite is a pay-as-you-go service. You only pay for what you use. Because your data is on an HPE platform, you don’t need to worry about egress fees as you would with the other cloud providers. However, because the HPE platform has data locality beside the other service providers, you can present your data to compute resources located on the other platforms. This means you can move data between the other cloud services providers quickly and without additional charges. The result is the elimination of cloud provider lock-in.
So, let’s take a quick look at each of the Suite data services.
This service provides enterprise cloud-based Block storage to use for volumes that will connect to workloads running in Azure, AWS, and GCP. The storage is located on HPE’s cloud platform but with data locality near the cloud provider(s) of your choice. Because HPE Cloud Volume Block is separate from the workload platform, you can migrate data from one provider to the other without egress charges; the data doesn’t change its location, only the workloads change locations.
As mentioned earlier, HPE Cloud Volumes Block uses HPE Nimble technology and all the features you’d expect on that array platform. And, as with HPE Nimble on-premises solutions, you can expect six 9’s (99.9999%) availability with HPE Cloud Volumes Block. While the management interface is different than the on-premise Nimble Array, the ease of provisioning volumes still exists.
Using the HPE Cloud Volumes Portal, you can choose your Workload Cloud Provider, Cloud Application, Volume Type, Performance Characteristics, Size and Application Hosts to which you will present volumes. And, of course, you can specify snapshot schedules, whether to encrypt the volume, cloning, etc.
Features of HPE Cloud Volume Block include:
So, what are your workload requirements? Test/Dev? Production? HPE Cloud Volumes Block is suited for either of these use cases.
As the name implies, this part of the HPE Cloud Volumes Suite provides a cloud-based backup target. We are all familiar with the 3-2-1 backup/recovery strategy where you maintain 3 copies of your data on 2 types of media with 1 copy off-site. HPE Cloud Volumes Backup fulfills the off-site part of that strategy.
The HPE Cloud Volumes Backup service integrates with some of today’s leading backup ISV’s, including Commvault, Veeam, and Veritas. There is also support for MicroFocus Data Protector. What this means is that you can start using Cloud Volumes Backup immediately if you already use one of these ISV backup/recovery solutions. In addition to the ISV’s mentioned, Cloud Volumes Backup integrates with HPE RMC (Recovery Manager Central) for protection directly from on-premise HPE Primera, HPE 3PAR, and HPE Nimble. But, to be clear, if you are using a supported backup/recovery software solution, you can protect data on any storage array supported by the ISV.
One of the goals for any backup/recovery strategy these days is to provide an extra layer of protection from a Ransomware attack. After all, it is reported that there is a ransomware attack happening every 40 seconds. To provide protection from ransomware, HPE Cloud Volumes Backup incorporates the HPE Catalyst protocol. This protocol creates data Stores that are not directly accessible by the OS, making the backup images invisible and inaccessible to ransomware.
With high-profile reports of data loss and increasing levels of government legislation for data security, companies are seeking to encrypt their data. With Cloud Volumes Backup, data is encrypted in-flight and at rest. Data on the wire travels under an AES-protected SSH tunnel to HPE Cloud Volumes Backup. Data at rest can be encrypted with 256-bit AES-encryption.
And, in case you were wondering, HPE Cloud Volumes Backup offers built-in multitenant security. Backup volumes created by one user are not visible to others, even if they are stored on the same device. Management or provisioning access, as well as data access, is also multitenant.
In addition to security, you are also likely concerned about being able to assure the integrity of the data you are trying to protect. The reliability of your backed-up data sets is critical. It would be a disaster to restore your data from a backup location only to find it is corrupt. HPE Cloud Volumes Backup provides data integrity throughout its lifecycle by providing built-in protection that checks data at multiple stages. Data is checked during backup, while at rest, and during recovery.
Finally, in addition to being ready in the event of a data recovery event, where you would be restoring data back to your on-premise array, HPE Cloud Volumes Backup can be used to restore data to HPE Cloud Volumes Block. It leverages public cloud compute resources for disaster recovery, test/dev, reporting, analytics, etc.
So far, we’ve talked about cloud-based storage for production and test/dev workloads as well as storage for your off-site, standard retention backup target. An important consideration for any backup/recovery strategy is how you will manage your long-term, archive storage. To that end, HPE Cloud Bank is designed to be used as long-term archive object storage.
Cloud Bank is an extension to the HPE StoreOnce Backup Appliance. The design assumes you will store short-term retention data on an on-premise HPE StoreOnce appliance. Then, it tiers that data to HPE Cloud Bank for longer-term retention and archival data. Cloud Bank leverages a customers’ provisioned object storage in either Azure or AWS. It funnels data to and from those objects stores through StoreOnce.
In contrast, HPE Cloud Volumes backup is an as-a-service offering. A customer can have backups near to the cloud without managing a cloud infrastructure, or any on-premises appliances or licenses. You can also restore from Cloud Volumes Backup directly to any array, or, to Cloud Volumes Block, so that data can be used with GCP, AWS, or Azure compute.
Depending on your use case, all three of the cloud-based storage solutions presented here may work for you. Whatever you are looking to achieve with your cloud-based data footprint, one of these options is likely to get you there.
Contact Zunesis for more information on how to manage data in a hybrid cloud environment.
A typical Microsoft product life cycle lasts 10 years from the date of the product’s initial release. The end of this life cycle is known as the product’s end of support. This means Microsoft will no longer provide updates or support of any kind.
End of support can result in vulnerabilities that impact your infrastructure and data.
Mainstream support for Exchange Server 2010 ended in January 2015. Per standard practice, Microsoft’s extended support ends five years after mainstream. The original end of support date was in line with the end of support for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 server. This occurred on January 14, 2020. However, to allow businesses time to complete their migrations, it was extended to October 13, 2020.
Mainstream support for Office Suite 2010 is also ending on October 13, 2020. This leaves approximately 3 months to find the right path for your organization and implement the migrations.
If you are on these versions of Microsoft software, they will continue to run. However, there will be some very good reasons to be concerned when staying on these platforms:
From feature enhancements to recent announcements of price hikes for on-prem software, Microsoft continues to push organizations off-premises and into the cloud suite. Support is available for all of Microsoft’s cloud offerings.
Microsoft has also been making a push to Office 365 here as well. There are fewer feature updates and enhancements for Office Suite 2019. A recent 10 percent price hike has occurred. It has a shorter extended support life than prior versions of Office Suite.
Both versions of Office Suite 2019 (Cloud or On-Prem) require Windows 10.
Migrate to Office 365
Remain On-Premises and upgrade to Office Suite 2019
Office Exchange Server 2010 and Office Suite 2010 end of life is an inevitability all users must face. With a little less than 3 months remaining, now is the perfect time to figure out which of Microsoft’s options are best. Then, start the groundwork for migration. Deciding whether Office 365 is right for your organization will depend greatly on your needs. Whatever your requirements, making an informed decision will ensure an ease of transition and applications that are optimal for use.
Contact Zunesis for an assessment on what Microsoft option is best for your organization.
In a world of quarantines and remote work, apps like Microsoft Teams and Slack have become more useful to businesses than ever. Fostering collaboration and communication is so important to keeping employees engaged. These apps have soared in popularity since working from home became the norm rather than the exception.
After months of relying on these products, people are seeing just how useful they can be. They make it so much easier to be responsive. They allow multiple people to work on projects together, even when they are geologically separate. Now Microsoft wants to bring that technology to consumers.
Teams has always been focused on the business side of its use. The advantages it has over traditional communication applications could clearly be useful to anyone.
Back in 2018, a free but restricted version of Teams was released. It never felt like a tool that could be useful among a group of friends or family members. After more than a year of work, Microsoft made the announcement during its big Microsoft 365 reveal that it was ready to unveil a preview version of Teams to consumers. As soon as it goes live, anyone can sign up. Only Microsoft 365 subscribers will be able to take full advantage.
Microsoft does not want to position Teams as an alternative to texting apps. It is supposed to be a tool to help you plan events with friends and families, book clubs, fantasy football leagues, and other gatherings. The personal version will support multiple rooms, direct messages, attachments, video calls, calendars, to-do lists, and much more. Very similar to the business version. Since the app is integrated with Microsoft 365, you can also use it to collaborate on office documents stored in the cloud.
There are also some features specific to the consumer version, like location sharing and Safe. Location sharing being the ability to show others where you are at and when you are on your way home or to a meet up. Safe is Teams protected environment you can use to store confidential and private information like wifi passwords, website login information, or rewards accounts. Its secured with end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication, so you know your information will be safe.
Recently renamed Microsoft 365, the suite of tools is constantly being expanded for businesses and consumers alike. For consumers, first with the Microsoft 365 family plan, and now with added features and applications. Things like the play my emails feature will enable hands free text to speech so you can listen to your emails anywhere, even on the road. Added applications include the new Microsoft Family Safety which will allow families to manage screen time across devices and make it easy to check the location of family members.
Microsoft’s focus on consumer products for families and friends doesn’t stop at Teams. They launched a new website earlier this year, named Home and Family Resources. It introduces regular people to tools that help them connect, learn, and play at home. The site has everything from blogs to guides to help the normal person get the most out of their time at home.
To use the Teams preview, you can download it from the google play store and sign up with your personal Microsoft account. If you already use Teams for work, you can link your personal account to the app. One can switch between personal and business whenever you need to.
Contact Zunesis to find out more about Teams and other solutions that Microsoft has to offer.
Welcome to April 30, 2020. The NFL Draft kicks off in Las Vegas tonight. Can you believe they are building a stage in the Bellagio fountains? The Vegas Golden Knights are entering the second round of the NHL Playoffs on there way to Stanley Cup. The Cleveland Indians have started the season on a tear, projecting a club record 110 wins. LeBron and Anthony Davis win another championship for the Lakers.
Oh wait! Those are some of thing things which did not happen in this version of 2020. For this IT guy, I feel like I am in an episode of my life but Bizzaro World. Its stolen from the likes of Superman Bizzaro World, or one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, The Bizzaro Jerry.
In my Bizzaro world, I do not wander outside of my makeshift office, a.k.a. dining room table. My kids have taken ownership of the office at various times of the day for their online learning activities. I am loving my commute of walking down the stairs. There is usually never any traffic at that time of the morning. Sometimes, my health care working wife (thank you for your service) is leaving at the same time. And I can’t forget to mention, the 15 steps to the kitchen for snacks and meals.
One thing that is not from this Bizzaro World is Microsoft making changes to licensing again. This time its changes to Office 365. Welcome Microsoft 365.
The recent changes were released April 21. They represent Microsoft’s vision for the future. Microsoft integrates the Microsoft Office apps with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other cutting-edge innovations to work for small and medium sized businesses.
The new name also indicates that Office is more than Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It includes new apps like Teams, Stream, Forms, and Planner. Even the core apps now include features that often require cloud connectivity and make use of AI.
At this time when we are facing health and economic challenges, there are new capabilities in Microsoft Teams. These include hosting rich meetings and events online, cloud file storage and sharing capabilities. This enables businesses to collaborate from anywhere.
“This new approach to naming our products and the use of the Microsoft 365 brand is designed to help customers quickly find the plan they need – whether an enterprise, SMB or consumer plan,” a spokesperson said.
Many Office 365 subscriptions automatically become Microsoft 365 subscriptions:
There are no changes to the following Office 365 plans:
If you already have existing Office 365 plans, you don’t need to do anything. Your Office 365 subscription will automatically be renamed to Microsoft 365. You will see the name of your subscription updated across your Admin Portal and monthly billing statements.
Since 2017, Microsoft 365 has been offered as a licensing bundle for enterprise customers. It provides a combination of Windows 10, Office Pro, and Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS). These were the first SAAS offerings to include Windows 10 licensing with the subscription. It also offered EMS. This included features such as Azure Active Directory, Azure Information Protection, Microsoft Cloud App Security, Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics, Microsoft Secure Score, and Microsoft Endpoint Manager (including Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager).
In addition, Microsoft released Microsoft 365 plans for both home and personal use. These come with the core applications as well as online storage and cloud-connected features that let users collaborate on files in real time. These subscriptions, like all of Microsoft cloud offerings, allow users to have the latest features, fixes, and security updates along with ongoing tech support at no cost. Subscriptions can be paid for on a monthly or yearly basis. The Microsoft 365 Family plan lets users share their subscription with family members up to 6 people. They can use the apps on multiple PCs, Macs, tablets, and phones.
Want to get more information on Microsoft 365 for your organization? Contact Zunesis today.
Microsoft OneDrive has become one of the most useful tools in the Office 365 suite. It is being used by more companies every day. Between the robust feature set and the constant updates, it is easily on par with other cloud storage solutions. It is offered as part of every Office 365 plan. So for any Office 365 user, there is no reason not to use it.
Originally rolled out under the name SkyDrive in 2007, legal issues led Microsoft to settle for the name OneDrive instead. Just like many other MS products, two version of OneDrive are offered, a consumer edition and an enterprise edition. Both versions are very similar but have some key differences. The enterprise edition is much better for businesses. The most important difference is the ability to centrally manage the entire organization’s OneDrive.
Over the years since its release, Microsoft has been constantly adding new features.
When OneDrive is installed, it creates a OneDrive folder on your computer. This folder acts like a regular file folder. It looks just like any folder you would find in your favorites bar, like the documents or downloads folders. This folder also syncs all of its contents to OneDrive’s cloud storage. So not only is it easy to use, it is also accessible from any computer. You just need to log in.
With 1TB free with all Office 365 subscriptions (5GB free for regular users), most users will be able to fit most, if not all, of their files in the singular folder. OneDrive also supports multiple folders within the OneDrive directory. This allows you to keep everything organized the way you like it.
To keep local storage usage low, files are moved up into OneDrive until you use them. Files are not automatically kept on your local drive unless you specifically choose a file or folder to “always keep on this device”. You can still see and browse to all of your files. They download immediately when opened.
You can switch between keeping files on your local drive and keeping them in OneDrive just by right clicking the file or folder and choosing the correct option. No need to worry about needing files when you are offline, as long as you are prepared.
A recent addition to OneDrive is the ability to sync folders other than the OneDrive folder. The most useful folders being the my documents and pictures folders. This is an easy way to backup valuable pictures and documents that don’t necessarily fit into your organization of the OneDrive folder.
You can even sync these folders between computers. I use it to sync my desktop backgrounds across all computers. If I find an awesome picture that would make a great background, I just save it into my backgrounds folder. It syncs to OneDrive and automatically adds to my desktop background slideshow on both my work computer and personal computer.
In both editions of OneDrive, sharing files is as easy as right clicking a file and clicking sharing. There are multiple options when sharing. This includes a read-only version or an editable version, a password protected version, and a version that is only usable by a single person. You can set all sorts of permissions, especially in the enterprise version.
Access controls are immensely important in the business world when sharing sensitive information. Even better, these access controls can be controlled by an admin. This gives businesses more control over who sees your data and how.
One of the easiest ways to share files is to create a shared folder that multiple people can access. Whether you want to create a folder for a single team, a whole department, or even the whole company, the process is fairly easy. One creates the folder and adds the correct names to the list of users. All users will have access to the folder and all files within, with varying levels of permissions. You may want some users to only have read access, while others get write access.
OneDrive gives you the ability to create a link to a file and send that to someone else to access it. This is particularly useful when trying to email files to someone else, especially someone outside of your organization. Not only is this convenient, it adds another layer of security to emailing files. It saves space in everyone mailbox by eliminating attaching large files.
OneDrive has come a long way in the last few years. Once it was overshadowed by other cloud storage services like Dropbox or Box. Now with its integration with Office 365 and robust security features, it is easily one of the leaders in the space. It is clear that this is a core application in the Microsoft Office suite. I think you will find its an extremely useful tool in the business world.
Looking to migrate to Office 365 and see the advantages of OneDrive? Contact Zunesis for more information.
Microsoft Office is a product everyone knows, and it has been a household name for decades at this point. Office 365 is the slightly lesser well-known cloud version of office. It was a massive step forward for Microsoft at its release.
Over the past 8 or so years, Microsoft has been fine-tuning the suite, adding features and entirely new programs as they go. This has resulted in the powerhouse of productivity we know today. While moving everything in your organization to the cloud may not be a great idea, this is one area where the cloud is almost universally a good idea for all companies.
The core programs included in Office 365, such as Word and Excel, are the same programs people have been using for years. It’s the same programs you used 20 years ago to write a paper, create a cover letter, and give a presentation. You can access these programs online without downloading anything. You can also install the desktop versions and work in the same manner you always have.
One of the biggest advantages to Office 365 is the ability to work from anywhere, on any device. If you have an internet connection, you can access everything you need to continue working. This is especially great for people who travel a lot or use multiple devices. Just log into the web portal, and all your documents and files are ready to go.
If you have multiple people accessing the same file multiple times a day, this is where Office 365 really shines. Everyone who needs to edit a document can work on the same version. Rather than having multiple versions, or having to wait until a coworker closes the document, it’s accessible at anytime.
You can see real time changes without having to reload the file. You have the capability to share your documents directly with others. This eliminates the need to send the document as an email attachment. Sharing directly also enhances security. Office 365 allows you to set permissions so you can be sure its only shared with the people you want.
With the addition of Skype and Teams, Office 365 makes it easy to manage projects and communicate with your team members. It has integrated video calls and screen sharing into its easy to use programs. You can create conference calls, do remote presentations, and even use your computer as your phone.
Office 365 will always keep your programs up to date. You will never have to worry about making sure you have the latest version. Everyone in the company will be on the same version so you won’t run into mismatches either.
Office 365 is subscription based, which can lower the investment your company needs to make to get started. You only need to pay for licenses you use. You can add and remove licenses at any time. Adding and removing employees is simple. You will no longer have unused licenses just laying around. Since everything is tied to a central admin portal, there are no more license keys to worry about.
Speaking of the central admin portal, Microsoft has been designing Office 365 to make it easy to use, even for non-technical employees. You can perform most administrative tasks from the portal, without the need for an in-house IT department. Microsoft’s support options are also integrated in the portal, so you have everything you need, even if you run into a problem.
Office 365 has everything from spam filters for email, to data loss prevention cloud saves for documents. Even if you are in the middle of working on a document and your computer explodes into a million pieces, you will be able to log into your account from another machine and resume right where you left off. Office 365 offers many security features like email encryption, mobile device management, and email recovery.
Microsoft has been working hard to streamline daily office tasks for businesses. From collaboration, to file sharing, to communication, Office 365 makes it all very easy. Add the fact that it is being constantly updated with new features, bug fixes, and more robust security, its easy to see why Office is the giant that it is, and the cloud features of Office 365 only makes it better.
According to IDC, by 2020, consumption-based procurement in data centers will account for as much as 40% of enterprises’ IT infrastructure spending. Businesses today expect rapid access to resources that allow them to pay for only what they use. This allows businesses to not only be competitive in today’s market but economical as well.
Introducing HPE GreenLake which provides enterprise customers with a compelling value proposition of a consumption-based IT model and the comfort of managed services. It gives a company exactly what it needs and when it needs it. It is a suite of curated solutions that deliver IT outcomes with hardware, software, and expertise on premises. Payment is simple and based on a single pay-per-usage metric that is relevant to the particular solution and your business.
There are quite a few HPE GreenLake packages available including Hybrid Cloud, Backup, SAP HANA, Database EDB Postgres and Big Data. Zunesis and HPE would work with your business to find out what package is the most beneficial for your organization.
Many companies and organizations are looking to take the advantage of more of a hybrid environment where they can use the advantages of the public cloud while having the option to run workloads on premises. Businesses are moving away from capital-intensive models to more of a consumption-based approach where they can be more agile and save money and IT resources.
Is HPE GreenLake and a Consumption Based IT Approach a fit for your business or organization? Contact Zunesis to do an assessment of your current infrastructure to determine what may work best for your needs.
There are thousands of blog articles written about Office 365 each year. Here are just a few: Top 10 Reasons to Migrate to Office 365, Top 10 Reasons to Not Migrate to Office 365, Top 10 Migration Strategies for Office 365, Top 10 Office 365 Myths Debunked, and 15 Cool Features You Should Be Using in Office 365. Not to mention endless technical and how-to articles. There is no shortage of opinions in support of or against utilizing Office 365, everyone seems to have one.
While researching the topic of this blog article, I read many of these arguments that organizations view when deciding if Office 365 is right for them. When focusing on the reasons to migrate to Office 365, the articles list the reasons with a short explanation of each reason. No matter the reason, the explanation is usually a quick blurb with a justification for moving to Office 365. There is usually very little information to back up the justifications.
For example, when discussing storing data in Office 365:
When you move to the cloud, your business actually gains control over your technology by reducing time and money spent maintaining hardware and upgrading software. Now you and your team can focus on strategically implementing technology for your business rather than being a repair service. You will reduce expenditures to your capital budget by no longer relying on servers to store email and workloads. Instead, you can expect a predictable budget and focus on supporting your business in a much more agile fashion, with the ability to respond to needs quickly.
Wow, that is a lot in a tiny blurb. If you started out with a less than stellar email system which was needing repaired constantly, or your business does not require any other servers, you are in great shape.
It is (depending on your license) actually a hosted Exchange (email) server. Now, one of the most powerful email systems that used to be only for Fortune 500 corporations, can be accessed by even the smallest of small businesses. Enterprise-level features and reliability for pennies per day!
True on every level, but pennies per day? No other quantification?
A little clarification would be great when explaining to your boss why you should move to Office 365. They no doubt are going to ask you to explain the pennies per day, or other explanations in these tiny blurbs.
Hopefully, the rest of this article can be of specific help. Sorry for the Reason – blurb format.
Office 365 data is stored in Microsoft Data Centers around the globe. The Microsoft global infrastructure is made up of Regions, Geographies, and Availability Zones.
Microsoft has 54 regions worldwide and is available in 140 countries. The addresses of the data centers are not disclosed to help keep them secure.
The data is stored in the local Geographic location to the organization by default. There are two locations in each Availability Zone, so there are always two up to date copies at any one time. The customer can request to have the data moved to a different location, if required. In the event of a failure, the data is brought up to Production automatically, and another copied made within the Availability Zone. Microsoft makes it an available option (for Exchange Online and Microsoft OneDrive) to store the data in multiple Geographies, called Multi-Geo Replication. This would provide for four copies of the data, two in an Availability Zone in two Geographies.
Office 365 uses service-side technologies that encrypt the data at rest and in transit. For data at rest, Office 365 uses volume-level and file-level encryption. For data in transit, Microsoft uses multiple encryption technologies for communications between data centers and between clients and servers, such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Internet Protocol Security (IPsec). Office 365 also has an option for customer-managed security features.
The Office 365 data belongs to the customer. They have complete control over it. Microsoft provides extensive privacy controls and visibility into where the data resides and who can get access to it. Microsoft takes strong measure to help protect the customer data from inappropriate access or use by unauthorized persons. This includes restricting access by Microsoft personnel and subcontractors, and carefully defining requirements for responding to government requests for customer data. However, you can access your own customer data at any time for any reason.
And, without further ado, a top 10 list from Microsoft themselves:
Links for follow-up:
Over the past decade, we have seen Microsoft evolve from the company that makes Windows to one of the top three tech giants, and the second largest cloud services provider behind only Amazon. While Microsoft has been a giant in the industry since the 80’s and 90’s, market share for their Windows operating system has been steadily declining during the rise of mobile devices.
Android and Apple have been slowly taking over the market and edging Microsoft out after a long string of flops. From Groove music, to the Windows phone, Microsoft has been releasing a series of not so great products that get overshadowed by others, and eventually phased out. There is one space they have been excelling in, cloud.
With the success of Office 365 and Azure, it’s no surprise that Microsoft is shifting their focus to the cloud. It’s also no surprise that they are shifting the focus of their flagship product to be more in line with their current successes. There have been some major shakeups within the company over the last few years, one of which is to move the Windows operating system operations to the cloud division. Another act that solidifies Microsoft’s intent to bring Windows to the cloud.
Enter Windows Virtual Desktop. The newest iteration of Windows 10 is offered as a remote virtual desktop run in Azure and is accessible from anywhere. Just like every other cloud product MS offers, this means it will always be up to date. No more Windows updates restarting your computer at the most inconvenient times.
The biggest upside of Windows Virtual Desktop will definitely be its impact on IT departments. The fully virtualized OS will bring a lot of benefits with it that were previously only realized through server-based virtualization, which is costly and complicated.
The new virtual desktop will be bundled with Office 365, which will cut costs and ensure companies have everything they need to run in the cloud. The operating system runs on a pay-as-you-go model that Microsoft uses with most of its products.
There are several tiers of this model. Starting with the standard pay-as-you-go, where you can increase compute capacity and storage to fit your needs. You only pay for the virtual machines while they are on. There is also the option to reserve VM instances, which is a fixed price for the VM’s whether they are running or not. While still flexible, this requires a commitment for a length of time.
In an age of mobile devices, Microsoft is trying to redefine the operating system. They are taking it from a single-device system, to a multi device one. This will allow you to access the same desktop from any device, making it truly mobile.
Though it’s clear that Microsoft has been focusing on other projects, they aren’t leaving Windows by the wayside. The Windows Virtual Desktop may be more suited for business use, but it is a pretty clear indicator of where they want to OS to be in the future. There have been rumors that the next version of Windows will be the last. A single version of Windows that will continue to evolve, but you won’t need to upgrade to the next iteration.
Microsoft isn’t afraid to admit it’s made a few missteps in the last decade, like Windows 8 or the Windows phone. They know where they excel, and the focus has been shifted to cloud. Windows will be another addition to Microsoft’s suite of cloud services, bringing it into the future with the rest of the products that brought about Microsoft’s rise to the top. For almost its entire existence Microsoft has been known for Windows, but times are changing. Windows virtual desktop is a big step towards keeping Windows relevant in the future.