Deep Dive Into Office 365 Deployment (Part 2)

by [Published on 30 June 2016 / Last Updated on 30 June 2016]

In this part, I will give you an overview of the assessment that was done after I received the requirements from the customer.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Introduction

In part 1 of this article series, I explained a little on Microsoft Cloud Services and customer requirements. As a high level overview of the requirements that I received from the customer: customer would like to avail Office 365 services such as Email, Lync, SharePoint, and dynamic CRM and also be able to build a Hybrid cloud environment. The requirements from the customer indicate that the customer should be able to host users both on-premises and in the cloud and also plan to keep Exchange and SharePoint services on-premises to build a Hybrid cloud environment. By taking a close look at the requirements document, explained in the Part 1 of this article series, my first task was to do an assessment of the customer environment.

Current Environment Assessment

When I did an assessment of the current environment of the customer, I found the following configuration that I think is worth highlighting before I start to explain further:

  • There are multiple active directory forests running in the customer environment as listed below:
    • Compark.net
    • ComparkTech.net
    • ComparkRes.Net
  • Microsoft Exchange 2013 is deployed as a messaging application.
  • Customer is using Microsoft SharePoint 2013.
  • Customer is using SQL Server 2012 to store corporate financial data.
  • Microsoft Office 2013 is deployed in most of the locations. Some locations are using Microsoft Office 2012.
  • Client computers deployed in all locations run the following Operating Systems:
    • Windows 7
    • Windows 8.1
    • Windows 10
  • There are more than 500000 users in Compark.net active directory forest. This is the main domain where most of the users from all locations reside.
  • There are more than 490000 client computers operating across the branch locations.
  • There are a few virtualization hosts running in the customer’s environment, but none of them have available resources to host virtual machines.
  • There is a variety of mobile devices running in the environment including Windows 8.1, iPhone and Android devices.
  • Customer is also using AD RMS in order to protect company information.

It is important to note that since branch locations, where the user resides, are located across the world, I had to discuss with the customer to enquire about the Office 365 services that users will be using. It is imperative to understand that Office 365 works based on the user subscription. You need to buy user licenses to use an Office 365 service unless you are running a trial version of Office 365 which is valid for 30 days. The trial version of Office 365 offers 25 licenses. Although, it is certainly true that Office 365 can offer licenses to all users (490000), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the customer would wants to purchase Office 365 licenses for all users. It is important to look at the types of users operating in an organization. For example, some users might require email services whereas some require just OneDrive services. Similarly, some users may request access to SharePoint services, but not use OneDrive service of Office 365. When I interviewed the customer about the types of users operating in the environment, I got the below list:

  • 23 out of 28 locations are using Email, Social Networking, Document Collaboration, Mobile and Desktop Office Apps, and Email Archiving services of Office 365. There are about 350000 users in 23 locations.
  • Remaining 5 location users just use the Social Networking and Document Collaboration. There are 10000 users in 5 locations.
  • And rest of the users will be using the Social Networking services.

It is certainly true that every requirement that the customer highlighted needs to be assessed before you say “Yes”. As you can see users residing in 23 locations across the world will use almost all Office 365 services, but users in 5 locations will only use Social Networking and Document Collaboration services of Office 365.

Although Microsoft helps in achieving the requirements highlighted by the customer, it becomes difficult when you have not worked with Azure and Office 365 closely or don’t have much experience in hosting a wide range of services in the Microsoft cloud space. For example, you cannot just configure the services highlighted above to accomplish customer’s complete requirements. For example, to configure SSO, you will be required to implement a Federated solution that can help you achieve the SSO requirement for the customer. It also becomes difficult to achieve the above requirements when customer is hosting multiple active directories and would like all users to appear in a single Active Directory instance hosted in Office 365 cloud space. Similarly, integrating on-premises services such as Exchange Server, Lync and SharePoint involves looks to be simpler, but it is certainly going to pay you more time when it comes to configure On-premises integration with the Office 365.

Microsoft provides InTune cloud offered specifically for managing mobile devices, how do you achieve mobile device management requirement highlighted by the customer using Office 365?

In such a large organization, we tend to see people operating from outside the organization network such as people working from home, roaming users, etc. How do plan your deployment that allows roaming users to use both On-premises and Office 365 services?

Moreover, when it comes to integrating on-premises services with Office 365 services and to enable Single Sign On for users using Office 365 services, you will be required to deploy a set of components on the on-premises. How do you plan your deployment in such a way that it does not increase the CAPEX and OPEX? How do you ensure that there is no disruption to the services for existing users?

I’ll walk you through what you should consider and the steps involved when configuring the on-premises and Office 365 cloud to accomplish the requirements throughout this article series.

Summary

In this part, I gave you an overview of the assessment that was done after I received the requirements from the customer. In the next part of this articles, I will provide a table to map requirements highlighted by the customer to the Office 365 services.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

See Also


The Author — Nirmal Sharma

Nirmal Sharma avatar

Nirmal Sharma is a MCSEx3, MCITP, and was awarded Microsoft MVP in Directory Services. In his spare time, he likes to help others and share some of his knowledge by writing tips and articles for various online communities. Nirmal can also be found contributing to PowerShell based Dynamic Packs for ADHealthProf.ITDynamicPacks.Net solutions.

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