Monday, May 20, 2013

Office 365 Deployment Tips

1) DNS record changes should be hosted by a service provider that allows you access to the DNS records and can make immediate changes. If not you may want to move them first to a service provider that does or plan to move them to Office 365 as part of the migration.

2) Set current DNS record TTL’s as low as possible a week or so ahead of your migration, the further out from the live changes the better.

3) If relocating existing email solution make sure you have access to the old email as PST’s and that you have access to the previous email data after the move. i.e. webmail access to old provider for any email that is slow to make the DNS changes.

4) Make DNS changes after hours preferably on a Friday. Those of you with DNS experience know this is best practice to allow replication over the weekend during minimal email traffic times.

5) If using Office 365 Premium hosting and you plan to deploy Office 2013 Note the following:

a. Office 2013 will only install on Windows 7 or greater
b. There is no longer a downgrade to Office 2010 for older PC’s. However if you have licensed copies of Office 2010 you should be able to connect it to Office 365.
c. Uninstall ALL previous Office packages that includes the demos (email configuration settings will be retained by default)
d. You can install 2013 before transferring to Office 365 email, you simply will create a new Outlook profile when you connect to Office 365
e. Install the 32 bit version of Office 365 Note: You need to download for each individual user there is no .MSI or .EXE that you can transfer from PC to PC. f. To create an alternate Outlook profile, go to Control Panel and select mail. If it does not appear use the search in the top right of the window and type in mail. It should then open the profile manager so you can create a new one.

6) PST Importing is a MESSY ADVENTURE:

a. Know your true ISP upload and download speed baseline http://www.speedtest.net
b. DO NOT IMPORT PST’s during office hours if at all possible
c. DO NOT IMPORT PST’s during office hours if at all possible
d. DO NOT IMPORT PST’s over 4GB if possible see data transfer calculator below:
http://www.numion.com/calculators/time.html
Note: Microsoft may limit the connection to 150Kbytes/sec
e. There are some powershell scripts to upload the PST’s but I have not tested them and in any case you are still limited to the upload pipe you are using.
f. Backup or copy PST’s first to maintain unmodified PST’s
g. Mount PST’s rather than importing
h. Move a folder or directory from the mounted PST one at a time during slower times in the day. By doing this you limit the bandwidth use and you can limit importing to only data that you truly need from the PST.

Caution:
While data is synchronizing users may not receive incoming email to Outlook. Have a copy of webmail open on the systems as well to make sure all incoming responses are timely.

i. If you do import full PST’s do it on a Friday evening and leave Outlook and the PC on all weekend to allow more online time to transfer. Use the calculator link above.
j. If users have high speed internet at home it may be faster to have them take the laptop home and continue the imports. Especially if you have multiple users with PST’s importing that can choke your bandwidth in the office.
k. If you are not sure what Outlook syncing is doing to your ISP speed check it using http://www.speedtest.net and compare to your original baseline test.
l. The only way to stop the Outlook syncing is to shut down Outlook completely or set it to offline mode and use webmail. Since it is Exchange all webmail and mobile interaction will sync with Outlook.

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