Last year I did a little research project about Microsoft’s public cloud and how it cloud affect Small and Medium sized businesses. So I created a paper which should help Microsoft partners to decide how they can improve their services and solutions by using the Microsoft public cloud. I the paper I focused on Microsoft Office 365 and Windows Intune. This should be for the partner which do infrastructure solutions like Active Directory, Exchange and PC Management.
You can download this paper from my Windows Live SkyDrive.
The paper includes a lot of text copied from Microsoft documents and websites, and research I did by myself. All the sources should be marked, but if you find anything which is not marked please feel free to contact me.
Now I am still working with Office 365. I am still try to test all the features and also the support for mobile devices like the iPhone or Windows Phone 7. As a Windows Phone 7 developer I could get the beta for the next update of Windows Phone 7 called Mango. Now Mango will support Office 365. You can simply add your Office 365 account on your phone and this will connect you to Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.
What is missing in first beta of the Windows Phone 7 Mango update is Lync, but Microsoft is working on that.
You can add your own Domain to your Office 365 account. If your domain is hosted at Genotec, you can simply create the DNS records for your domain with the DNS editor Genotec provides in the Hosting Control Center.
Under Domainnames, yourdomainname.com you can create a new TXT entry to verify your domain. For example:
After you have verifyed your Domain you have to add some other DNS Records for Exchange and Lync Online to work.
Microsoft released a developer beta of the next Windows Phone update codename “Mango” last week. Mango brings a lot of cool new features to the Windows Phone platform like Facebook and Windows Live Messenger chat integrated in the Messaging hub, Internet Explorer 9 and a lot of other improvements.
One of the smaller improvements is the capability to use SharePoint 2010 without a UAG (Forefront Unified Access Gateway). This will alow you to use Hosted SharePoint products like the offering from Genotec.
Last week Microsoft launched Office 365. Office365 is clearly a great product. Microsoft offers three different “plans”. One is for small businesses, Plan P, maybe stands for Professional or Personal. Plan P is a offer for small businesses with less than 26 users. For bigger companies or Enterprises Microsoft offers Plan E (Enterprise) which also includes Plan K (kiosk workers).
Now there are a lot of differences between this plans which are described on the Office365 website. But there is something I just realized after I used Office 365 the first time. If you want to use Office 365 with your own domain, Microsoft has two ways to do this.
With Plan P you have to delegate all the DNS configuration to Microsofts DNS servers, which means your DNS servers for your domain, will be somednsserver.microsoft.com. Microsoft offers you a simple UI to create additional CNAME and A records. And all your MX records and A records which are used by Office 365 will be created automatically. This makes it very easy, but even for some small businesses this does not work, because they may need more than just some simple additional A records or CNAMEs.
If you wanna use your own DNS servers or the DNS servers of your provider, you have to use one of the Enterprise plans (there are more than one plan). With a Plan E1 for example, you can choose to delegate all the DNS administration to the Microsoft DNS servers or you can choose your own, maybe already existing public DNS servers. In this case Microsoft tells you which DNS records you need to create (MX, TXT and A records).
You can simply manage and administrate Office 365 from your Powershell prompt or with your own Powershell scripts.
Here is how you can connect to Office 365 with Windows PowerShell:
First create a object with your Windows Live Credentials. This command will open a Windows in which you can enter your Windows Live Credentials for your Office365 Accout. In my case firstname.lastname@example.org and my password.
In the last days I started to work with the Microsoft beta of Office 365. After testing it for a while I think this could be a great solution for small & medium businesses. And its a really hard competitor to Google Apps. There are a lot of advantage which Office 365 has agains Google Apps and I think because it is a Microsoft Solution for a lot of companys this is the better way to go, if they already used Microsoft Products or have a Microsoft enviroment.
More options and features instead of Google Apps, for example in Exchange or Forfront which protects Exchange and SharePoint Online for free.
Microsoft Solutions – the most people and companys already use them.
Powershell - This is a really cool feature. You can administrate the whole Office365 online serivce with Windows Powershell.
In the next few weeks I will post some blog post about how to use Office 365 and some Powershell How To posts.