Office 365 Introduction – #guru365

Office365 has marginalised the gap between big business (enterprise) and the small to medium size businesses. For many this will increase the competitive advantage of smaller businesses, in my eyes, a fantastic opportunity to level the playing field.

SharePoint is a fantastic example of this playing field being levelled. Before the world of online SaaS – SharePoint was a huge investment, requiring dedicated servers, even farms to allow the kind of productivity that enterprise has been used to and invested in for years.

Even for enterprise there isn’t a stationary situation, Exchange Online allows enterprise to move their operationally important systems out into the cloud, allowing Microsoft to maintain and manage the hardware associated with these systems. This allows onsite technical staff to concentrate on the line of business applications and improve the productivity regard bespoke systems and settings on their infrastructure, leaving what could be seen as the mundane administration tasks of the Office infrastructure to Microsoft.

Exchange Online has been seen as one of the more popular components of Office365, one of the major advantages I see with regards to Exchange Online, you do not have the bottleneck of your broadband/internet connection. For Example, a on site hosted Exchange server requires an internet connection in order to send and recieve email, if this goes down you will need some sort of mail continuity service in order to queue mail until the internet is back online. Iin a situation where your emails are hosted in Exchange Online, you will simply need to connect a dongle or use a backup internet line to retrieve mail. Your mail will continue to flow inwards as the internet line of your business no longer effects the recieving of email to the server, just to your client, this makes a massive difference to administering and also the continuity is kind of built into Exchange Online, and even if that isn’t the case Microsoft financially back their uptime, which I’m very sure they will maintain through their excellent infrastructure.

Although setting up an Office 365 infrastructure from scratch is a fairly simple process, the migration to Office 365 can be a complicated process, depending on what you are currently using and how you wish to use Office 365. Don’t get me wrong, with reading and experience with Exchange it is fairly simple, but please don’t think this ‘Microsoft Service’ makes an Exchange Migration to the Cloud as simple as setting up an Outlook Profile. Hopefully my blog will shed some light on the ‘tricky’ parts of Office 365, ADFS appears to be one of the most commonly asked questions, which I have addressed in the ADFS section of my blog. If you do  have any further questions, please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to delve into your particular question topic and answer with as much detail as I can.

Kind Regards

Steve Pothecary

Office 365 Retention Policies

Thanks to Matt Blaney for this ‘heads up’ with regard to archiving policies from an Exchange Server (on-prem) to Office 365. Obviously this will need to be enabled before the move to O365 on your on-prem, if you don’t have this enabled originally then you can move this forward with your retention policies in the cloud.

The main reason is that the retention policies created in Exchange are not migrated so this needs to be tallied effectively with your requirements on-prem.


When looking at/setting up Office 365 it has become apparent that the retention tags and the default retention policy include delete options. Its best to delete these tags and create a few choice ones such as 1 year move, the default policy can then have the tags changed to avoid deleting items. 

Even if a Hybrid mode exits it does not migrate retention tags and any mailboxes that are moved will be given the default tags in office 365 (potentially deleting emails).

In a standard situation users will not have archives when they are migrated to the cloud so it’s important to set these tags before enabling the archive feature for these mailboxes as well.

Hybrid Migration – What you need to know…..

When using a Hybrid Migration in Office 365 it is known as a ‘true online move’ whereby users remain connected to their mailbox throughout the move. Much like a Virtual Machine being migrated to another host, unnoticeable to the end user.

  • The client switchover is done automatically at the end of the mailbox migration to sustain the above.
  • When using Exchange 2003 this will be a traditional “Offline” move due to the nature of the legacy version.

Outlook uses Autodiscover to detect the ‘move/change’ and resolves this within the Outlook profile automatically on the client machine.

As it is seen as a move (not a new mailbox + data copy), Outlook doesn’t see this as a ‘new/different’ mailbox so the OST will remain intact and as such doesn’t mean an OST has to be re-downloaded, which can cause quite a problem if the OST file happens to be in the tens of gigs.

All moves are paced by the Datacenter, it will define it’s own speed for this migration and you won’t necessarily be moving at the speed of your internet line(s), this is to ensure that you are not throttling either end (although MS has a massive pipe it will be more likely to be throttle your end).

Objects are automatically converted for mail routing after the data has been transferred into the cloud.

  • Mailbox on-prem gets converted to a ‘Mail-enabled user’ automatically.
  • Admin has the power to override this automation and stage the move-then-convert steps.

Remote Connectivity Analyser

Remote Connectivity Analyzer is a free connectivity test platform for the cloud-based service. It tests the availability of the required Office 365 SSO service endpoint for expected behavior by acting on those services from the Internet.

Is simply the best way to check issues with Office365, and to be honest any Exchange platform.

It has many features as show in the below screenshots





To verify that inbound mail, Exchange ActiveSync, Autodiscover, Outlook Anywhere (RPC/HTTP), and other connections are properly configured, you should consider using the Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer. The Remote Connectivity Analyzer is a Web-based tool that is designed to help you troubleshoot connectivity issues by testing your Exchange Online and on-premises configuration. You may want to become familiar at this tool in advance of your deployment to understand its capabilities and usage. For more information about the tool, see this TechNet article.

Additionally, if you already have ActiveSync, Outlook Anywhere, and Autodiscover enabled in your on-premises environment we highly recommend you run through the tests provided with the Remote Connectivity Analyzer to ensure your on-premises environment is functioning appropriately.

Exchange 2010 and Outlook – Conflicts

Microsoft do not currently have a registered fix for this problem but there have been some instances where the below has resolved this.

I will post updates as soon as Microsoft have a fix for the issue. Feel free to comment if you get to this before I do.


Example –

22:45:33 Uploading to server ‘’
22:45:33 Synchronization of some deletions failed.
22:45:33          [0-130]

22:45:34        1 view(s)/form(s) updated in online folder
22:45:34        4 view(s)/form(s) deleted in online folder

I have found recently many people are suffering with issues with Exchange 2010 and their Outlook constantly creating synchronization issues. Although not exactly a major issue, this can cause users to become worried their data isn’t synchronizing with Exchange properly.

Microsoft have confirmed that this is not necessarily an Exchange issue

The first part of the resolution is to upgrade to Service Pack 3 – this contains a hot fix which resolves these problems.

However if you are running Blackberry Enterprise Server then you will need to apply the below fix;

Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Options 
DWORD: EnableConflictLogging 
Values: #(as below)

0 = Never save Modification Resolution logs 
1 = Always save Modification Resolution logs 
2 = Save Modification Resolution logs when a “critical conflict” occurs 
<This is the new Default behavior when the EnableConflictLogging dword does not exist.>

BES generates these logs consistently and as such can create a false-positive alarm to users.

This fix relates to disabling the modification logs so if you require a high-level of logging this isn’t recommended but on a small business environment this shouldn’t be a major issue.

Blackberry also recommend you look into the following Knowledgebase article by clicking here.

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