Monthly Archives: January 2016

Optimize your Office 365 connection speed with this DNS Trick

Your Office 365 Outlook connection will do a DNS lookup and Microsoft will use the GEO location of that lookup to connect you to your ‘nearest’ Microsoft Data-center. Outlook will connect to an Exchange CAS server based on the DNS query and use Microsoft’s fast Data-center to data-center backbone network to connect you to the data-center where your Exchange mailbox data is located. Generally, this works well, however, you may not always under all circumstances be connected to the closest data-center.

For example, from my network in Southern California, I was connecting to an Exchange CAS server in Asia Pacific!image

Using the picture below, consider a case in an enterprise where users that will use Office365 are located in Dallas TX (BLUE), and an Office365 Tenant has been setup for them in the San Antonio data center (PURPLE).

However, all traffic external to the organization goes from Dallas to Phoenix (RED), on a private connection, before reaching the Internet.

Users in Dallas, when doing DNS lookups for hosts on the Internet end up using DNS servers in Phoenix (because that is where data leaves the company network).

Users in Dallas will receive IP addresses of the nearest Office365 data center as San Jose (ORANGE).  From there, the data travels all the way back to San Antonio (PURPLE) where the Tenant is hosted.

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Problem

If the internal DNS servers are not adjusted to point “outlook.office365.com” to the San Antonio data center (PURPLE), users will have a horrible experience due to the many network hops and latency in between. 

For more information see http://blogs.technet.com/b/onthewire/archive/2014/06/27/dns-geolocation-for-office-365-connecting-you-to-your-nearest-datacenter.aspx

Solution

Changing the DNS servers will cause Dallas users to jump directly to the truly “nearest” Office365 data center.

Credits go to PRIASOFT for all of the above information.

Caveats

If you update your local DNS to force traffic to a particular data center, make sure to periodically check to see if Microsoft updates their DNS. Every organization will need to weigh the benefits of the speed increase with the overhead of having to maintain local DNS records from outlook.office365.com.

Free Download of tool to determine your closest MSFT Data Center based on TCP ping, courtesy of PRIASOFT.

Need help with your next Office 365 Project? Contact us at Hello@PatriotConsultingTech.com

How to enable Delve Analytics in an Office 365 E5 Tenant

To activate the new E5 feature “Delve Analytics”, the Office 365 administrator must follow these steps:

1. Browse to the Office 365 admin center.
http://portal.office.com

2. Enable First Release. It can take up to 24 hours for the changes to take effect in Office 365.
b. After you enable First Release, click the Admin tile in the Office 365 admin center.
c. Click the link in the Ribbon on the top of the page “New Admin Center in the works – get a sneak peek” to use the Admin center preview.

3. In the Admin center preview, click the gear icon on the left side of the page to open the Settings menu and then click Apps.
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4. On the Apps page, locate the Delve Analytics section and click Submit below the text “Submit a request to enable Delve Analytics for your organization“.

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5. Wait for approval.

To see what it looks like after approval, click (here) to take a peak.

Need help with your next Office 365 Project? We can help you deploy any or all of the 21 features Included in Office 365 for a flat rate per month.  Contact us at Hello@PatriotConsultingTech.com.

New: Mandatory Link Expiration for SharePoint Online and OneDrive

Mandatory Anonymous Link Expiration is a new feature for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. This feature started rolling out January 12th, 2016, and is scheduled to complete in the coming weeks.

With this feature, administrators can now set a mandatory expiration length for all anonymous links created in their company to help promote security and link hygiene. End users will be required to create links that match or are shorter than the stated expiration value.

There is no default value for anonymous link expiration. To begin using this feature, use the SharePoint Online Management Shell using the “RequireAnonymousLinksExpireInDays” parameter.

As an example, this will set expiry for 30 days:
Set-SPOTenant –RequireAnonymousLinksExpireInDays 30

This feature strikes the balance between productivity and security, allowing users to easily share content, while preventing shared content from endlessly being shared with potentially unauthorized people (for example, after a person leaves an organization, if they had a copy of an anonymous link, at least those can now expire).

Music on Hold now available for Office 365 Cloud PBX

As of January 16th, 2016, Music on hold is now available in Office 365 Cloud PBX.

This is deployed via a client policy, using a remote PowerShell session. For instructions on how to connect to Skype for Business Online using PowerShell, click (here).

Once you are connected to the remote PowerShell session, you just have to run a single command Set-CsClientPolicy –EnableClientMusicOnHold $true

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Before and After screen shots of where this shows up for the client:

Before:

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After:

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By clicking Browse we can see that the end-user can select their own music on hold file:

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By default we can only upload .WMA files. There is a free MP3 to WMA online converter that I used to upload some classical music.

http://audio.online-convert.com/convert-to-wma