Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Office 365 Service Descriptions


Most folks probably by now that the Office 365 Service Descriptions have changed over to the new ones out of TechNet -

This is because we are out of Preview and when you create a new tenant on Office 365 you will be doing it on Office 2013 technologies. This is tremendously exciting because there has been so much new functionality and capability that has been released.

There are a lot of good Microsoft resources that explain “What’s New”. What I am going to capture here in this blog are new items that you should be aware of when it comes to reviewing the Service Descriptions. Frankly I have had the old ones memorized, so here are my notes of new stuff.

Office 365 Platform

  • Software requirements are listed right there. Read them.
  • Known issues are available.
  • Subscription options describe all the suites.
  • User account management is the new Identity Service description. This there is a link there to the Single Sign-on roadmap. Very important to read that through and through.
  • Interesting – we do say that we support up to 600 registered domains per tenant.
  • There is some new information about how to restore a user that has been deleted up to 30 days.
  • In Service Health there is some new information describing the statuses of the service.
  • Reports is a new area. We have now moved many of the reports into a central place which is really nice. Reports such as mailbox login activity, Exchange Online Protection (EOP), transport rules and DLP reports are in one place. You have the ability to download the reports in Excel. There are still additional reports that are run out of their respective service areas. For SharePoint auditing, eDiscovery, search usage, etc. reports are accessible in SharePoint itself. For Exchange Online there are reports such as auditing, track messages, trace messages, etc. are available in the Exchanged administration area.
  • There is a new table for Mobile Devices which provides more information about level of support to all mobile platforms.
  • The old Support service descriptions are here.
  • There is a new Networking section that leads you to some good links on Ports and Bandwidth requirements. These link actually take you to the Office 365 Deployment Guide which I say always say is required reading.
  • There are some new tables in here describing our compliance.
  • There is a new link about Blackberry support. This only describes the BBCS service. The new RIM BES for Office 365 server is not listed here.

Exchange Online

  • There is a link to the What’s New -
  • There is a revamped section on planning and deployment. Still recommend reading the Office 365 Deployment Guide There is a reference to a new Exchange 2013 Hybrid documents here -
  • The section on Message Policy, Recovery and Compliance has been updated with numerous new features for In-Place Hold, In-Place eDiscovery and DLP.
  • The section on Anti-Spam and Anti-Malware Protection has been updated to focus on Exchange Online Protection (EOP). FOPE was its predecessor. There is more information there and you will see much of the stuff you used to have to go to the FOPE administrative center has been brought into O365 admin center. For instance reports and working with the quarantine.
  • There is a new section on Mail Flow which is a good read, especially if you are considering hybrid.
  • There is a new section called Recipients which is has a ton of information on limits, mailbox rules, delegation, resource / shared mailboxes, etc. There is a new feature called Inactive Mailboxes buried in there which talks about keeping mailboxes around for people who had data on hold before they left the organization.
  • There is a new section called Reporting Features and Troubleshooting Tools which brings together a bunch of good information. Again these reports are now available through the admin center and the exchange control panel. There is even a new feature to do custom reporting where reports can be called through REST services by on-premise solutions.
  • There is a new section called Sharing and Collaboration. There is good information on sharing calendars using the Microsoft Federation Gateway, new Site Mailboxes and new support for Public Folders.
  • Sections on clients and unified messaging did not change…
  • The section High Availability and Business Continuity existing content on mailbox and item recovery just re-organized here.
  • Same with the interoperability section that is just reorganized content. While the new section on third-party solutions talks about what customization you can and cannot do. This is always an important section to understand.

SharePoint Online

  • The SharePoint Online service description is broken out in the way most SharePoint folks know SharePoint: Developer, IT Professional, Sites, Content, Social, Search, BI and Add-ons.
  • On the root page of the Service Description is a complete breakout of every feature of SharePoint and a list of what is available on-prem versus in the cloud. Really good new break out.
  • There is a good link to a new article on What’s New - This is a great article for even the SharePoint expert to read to get you up to date with the new features of SharePoint Online. I am not going to net this out for you – please read it.
  • There is a new article that is linked off the service description on boundaries and limits. All the same type of data just located in a different place.
  • The new Developer section provides more details to the old service description about what is in versus what is out.
  • The new IT Professional section provides better insight on what is supported and what is not supported from a management perspective. This really gets into what you are used to having access to in SharePoint Central Admin and what is available in the cloud.
  • Content section does a detail break out one ECM and WCM.
  • Insights (BI) section as a bunch of new features discussed in here for PowerView, PowerPivoty and SSRS.
  • Search section has been updated. There is new content on supporting hybrid search.
  • Sites section covers portal information. Has information about browser support and a ton of other stuff.
  • Social section – again discusses all the capabilities.
  • Add-ons – This is a new section that discusses the app catalog, Azure for hosted apps, and Duet Online.

Office Web Apps

This is a replacement to the old service description. It is really good information in here that shows you exactly what is available in Office Web Apps versus the Office client.

Office 365 ProPlus

This is a new Service Description that really goes into how Office can be purchased through Office 365. The Office Applications section is really stuff you already know, however the section called Enterprise Value is the real interesting section. This section talks about purchasing Office as part of a subscription service, click to run, deployment, activation, VDI considerations, policy management, side by side installation, etc.

Project Online

Yes Project Online has now in Office 365. This allows for the purchase of the Project client as well as receiving Project Server through the cloud. There is good information that shows you the difference of getting Project server in the cloud, at end of the day, it is all there. Project Online today is not part of the suite and is an additional purchase which can be added to your tenant.

Lync Online

  • Again at the top of the Lync Online service description is the What’s New -
  • On the root page of the Lync Service Description there is a really good table that shows what available on-premise with Lync 2013 is and what is available in the cloud.
  • In the Clients section there is a good break out of the clients. Including a new link to a client comparison table - Additionally there is a new section on Conferencing Devices with a discussion on “Lync-certified conference room devices”. That is new.
  • Much of the sections on IM, Presence, desktop sharing, meetings, etc is repeat content from old service descriptions.
  • There is a new section on compliance. Specifically the Archiving feature is now connected to Exchange Online and is controlled by the user’s Exchange mailbox In-Place Hold attribute. This is huge and does not require the Lync client to control this.

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