Tag Archives: Office 365

Changes introduced in WINDOWS SERVER 2012 R2

The current version Windows Server 2012 R2 was released on October 18, 2013. It was unveiled on June 3, 2013 at TechEd North America. According to Windows Server 2012 R2 datasheet published on May 31, 2013, there are four editions of this operating system: Foundation, Essentials, Standard and Datacenter. As with Windows Server 2012, the Datacenter and Standard editions are feature identical, varying only based on licensing (particularly licensing of virtual instances). The Essentials edition has the same features as the Datacenter and Standard products, with some restrictions.

Changes from Windows Server 2012
Microsoft has confirmed the following changes introduced by Windows Server 2012 R2:

  • Automated Tiering: Storage Spaces stores most frequently accessed files on fastest physical media
  • Deduplication for VHD: Reduces the storage space for VHD files with largely similar contents by storing the similar contents only once
  • Windows PowerShell v4, which now includes a Desired State Configuration (DSC) feature
  • Integrated Office 365 support (Essentials edition)
  • Return of the Windows Start button
  • UEFI-based virtual machines
  • Upgrades from driver emulators to synthetic hardware drivers to minimize legacy support
  • Faster VM deployment (approximately half the time)
  • Internet Information Services 8.5: Support for logging to Event Tracing for Windows and the ability to log any request/response headers. To improve scalability, if IIS is configured with 100 or more web sites, by default it will not automatically start any of them. Alongside this, a new “Idle Worker Process Page-Out” configuration option has been added to application pools to instruct Windows to page-out the process if it has been idle for the idle time-out period (by default, 20 minutes).
  • Server Message Block: Performance and event logging quality improvements, support for Hyper-V Live Migration over SMB, bandwidth prioritization management, and the ability to remove SMB 1.0 support
  • Windows Deployment Services: Support for managing WDS via PowerShell.
  • Windows Defender is available in a Server Core installation, and is installed and enabled by default.
  • IP Address Management (IPAM): Extended to support role-based access control, allowing for fine-grained control over which users can view or change configurations for DHCP reservations, scopes, IP address blocks, DNS resource records, etc. Additionally, IPAM can integrate with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 to have coordinated IP policy across both physical and virtual environments. The IPAM database can be stored in a SQL Server instance instead of Windows Internal Database.
  • Group Policy has a new “Policy Cache” setting which allows domain-joined machines to store a copy of the group policy settings on the client machine and, depending on the speed of access to the domain controller, use those at startup time instead of waiting for the policy settings to download. This can improve startup times on machines that are disconnected from the company network. New Group Policy settings have been added to cover new features in Windows 8.1 and Internet Explorer 11, such as enabling/disabling SPDY/3 support, configuring start screen layouts, and detecting phone numbers in web pages.
  • TLS support is extended to support RFC 5077, “Transport Layer Security (TLS) Session Resumption without Server-Side State”, which improves performance of long-running TLS-secured connections that need to reconnect due to session expiration.

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eDiscovery in SharePoint 2013 – An Introduction

SharePoint-2013

More and more organizations face more and more litigations. Whether they are shareholder lawsuits, fraud cases, or competitive investigations, litigation cases have proven to be costly, time consuming, and business disruptive. The new eDiscovery solution of SharePoint 2013 could really help organizations to lower eDiscovery costs, mitigate risks of data tempering or accidental deletion, and minimize business interruption.

In a series of blog articles I’ll show you the benefits of eDiscovery in SharePoint 2013, the architectural concept of the solution, some important implementation considerations, how to get eDiscovery to work technically in both an on-premises situation and in Office 365, and I’ll walk you through an eDiscovery case lifecycle.

But let’s start at the beginning:

What is eDiscovery?

Electronic discovery is the process to identify, preserve, search, process, and produce electronic content or electronically stored information (ESI) for a legal request or investigation.

Basically when we start a new eDiscovery case, we first want to look for possible relevant data, and make sure this data is not tampered with from that moment on (put it on hold). Next we would want to further refine the data set, do a legal review of this information, and then produce it for use in any legal investigation, compliance audit or policy enforcement in the organisation. Finally, when we are ready with the case, we wouldn’t want to forget to release the hold and formally close the case. In a diagram, this whole process would look as follows:

121813_1246_eDiscoveryi1

In SharePoint 2013 (and Exchange 2013), Microsoft did a major overhaul of their eDiscovery solution, resulting in a great tool to support this whole eDiscovery process, without disrupting regular business.

Benefits of using SharePoint 2013 for eDiscovery

With SharePoint 2013 it is possible to run an eDiscovery case on SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, and File Shares (on premises only) at the same time, from one unified central management console. That means it is possible to search, preserve (not for File Shares, we’ll get to that), and export all relevant content of all these repositories from one place.

In SharePoint 2010 it was already possible to perform an eDiscovery process, but this was only SharePoint content related. Exchange 2010 had its own eDiscovery tools. Also, when we would put a site on hold in SharePoint 2010, users would no longer be able to work on the contents of this site. So this was considered a rather business disruptive method.

In SharePoint 2013 these limitations are no longer there. Here’s an overview of what SharePoint 2013, together with Exchange 2013 and Lync 2013, can do for you when it comes to eDiscovery:

  1. SharePoint 2013 has new site templates for both an overall eDiscovery Center, and individual eDiscovery Cases. For every discovery case, you would create a new case site where it is possible to conduct searches, place content on hold, and export content. In addition, you can associate the following things with each case:
    1. Sources: Exchange mailboxes, SharePoint sites, or file shares from which content can be discovered.
    2. eDiscovery Sets: Combinations of sources, filters, and whether to preserve content. eDiscovery Sets are used to identify and preserve content.
    3. Queries: The search criteria, such as author, date range, and free-text terms, and the scope of the search. Queries are used to identify content to export.
    4. Exports: A list of all of the exports that were produced that relate to the case.
  2. With SharePoint 2013 it is possible to centralize eDiscovery management for multiple SharePoint farms, Exchange servers, and File shares. There are a few caveats here, which we will discuss in Part 2 of this blog series when we talk about architectural concepts and considerations (for example, it is not possible to centralize management for a hybrid environment with SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online), but as long as you can add a content source or result source to SharePoint Search, you can discover the content from one console.
  3. When you’ve created your eDiscovery Set and did a first general search for all possible relevant content, you probably want to put that content on hold before you start refining your searches and exporting the final content. You want to make sure that whatever happens with the content from that moment on, the original content stays available for your legal case. From the eDiscovery Center it is possible to put SharePoint 2013 sites and/or Exchange 2013 mailboxes on hold, without disrupting the business. End users shouldn’t be affected when content is put on hold and with SharePoint 2013, they’re not. As soon as a SharePoint 2013 site is put on hold, a hidden Document Library is created. Next, when a user modifies or deletes a content item subject to the legal hold, this is still possible for the user, but the original copy of the content item is copied to that hidden Hold Library. In Exchange 2013 mailboxes the same principle is applied by creating a hidden folder where items are actually moved to when a user deletes an item.
  4. From the SharePoint 2013 eDiscovery Center it is possible to export the results of a search for later import in another review tool. Together will all the exported content, an XML file is created which complies with the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) specification. So when external (legal) teams use other tools that also comply with this standard, they can easily import the content and use their own tool for further review and analysis. The following content is included in an export:
    1. Documents: Documents are exported from file shares. Documents and their versions (optional) are exported from SharePoint.
    2. Lists: If a list item was included in the eDiscovery query results, the complete list is exported as a comma-separated values (.csv) file.
    3. Pages: SharePoint pages, such as wiki pages or blogs, are exported as MIME HTML (.mht) files, including styling and mark-up.
    4. Exchange objects: Items in an Exchange Server 2013 mailbox, such as tasks, calendar entries, contacts, email messages, and attachments, are exported as a .pst file.
  5. eDiscovery in SharePoint 2013 is rather quick to set up, and easy to use. Of course you need to do some configuration to get SharePoint and Exchange to work together, but this is fairly easy (as you’ll see in one of the next posts in this series). Also, because using the eDiscovery Center is very straightforward, there is no longer the need to burden the IT department with collecting all relevant content in the organization during an eDiscovery process. Legal teams can now be empowered to perform searches and exports themselves. They are able to respond quickly and in full fidelity with real-time data access. Of course there is the matter of governance here, how to handle the required permissions to be able to discover all relevant content, but that’s the case for IT people as well.

Summary

In this post I’ve tried to briefly explain the concept of eDiscovery and what a typical eDiscovery process would look like. Also, I’ve pointed out what’s new in SharePoint 2013 (and Exchange 2013) regarding eDiscovery and how the new eDiscovery Center could really help organizations to quickly respond to cases without disrupting business as usual.

In the next few blog posts I’ll dive more into the architectural concepts of Microsoft’s eDiscovery solution, I’ll talk about some important implementation considerations, how to get eDiscovery to work technically in both an on-premises situation and in Office 365, and I’ll walk you through an eDiscovery case lifecycle.

Ref : eekels

SharePoint Keyboard Shortcuts

One of those things I often see people surprised by, or forgetting about is the usefulness of keyboard shortcuts when working with applications. It can save you time by removing the need to navigate menu’s, and scroll the mouse all around the page. Often the only way you can cause certain behavior is by using key combination’s on your keyboard. So it’s always good to know what keyboard shortcuts exist and how they can be used with the application you are using.

SharePoint has lots of GREAT key combination’s you can use to save you time and energy and Microsoft has done a great job of listing them all.

Keyboard Shortcuts for WSS

Keyboard Shortcuts for MOSS

Be sure to review the Rich Text Editor and Rich Text Editor of the Content Editor Web Part as many people don’t realize the difference between hitting Enter and Shift + Enter.

It’s also a good idea to remember your browser has it’s own shortcuts that you can use for navigating pages, content, magnification, printing, and more.

Here are some simple examples:

  1. You can enlarge the text on any Web page by pressing Ctrl and the plus or minus keys (for bigger or smaller fonts).
  2. You can also enlarge the entire Web page by pressing the Ctrl key as you turn the wheel on top of your mouse.
  3. You can tap the Space bar to scroll down on a Web page one screen full. Add the Shift key to scroll back up.
  4. If you hit the Ctrl and Home key on your keyboard you will immediately be taken to the top of the web page, document, or email.
  5. Hitting the Ctrl and End key on your keyboard at the same time will take you immediately to the bottom or end of a web page, document, or email.

Ref : SharePoint Knowledge Base

Migration from Google Apps (Mail, Document) to Office 365

Option 1: (IMAP Migration Technique – for Emails)

This will do bulk email migration of users. Please note that this will not assist in migrating your docs, contacts, calendar and Gmail filters. For migrating your contacts and calendar you can use simple export-import technique. I din’t find any solution to migrate Gmail filters though.

It requires you to create a CSV file in the format of EmailAddress,UserName,Password (username@customdomain.com, username@customdomain.com, Pass@word1)

Office 365 start here page –> Admin –> General Settings (outlook) –> Email Migration –> New
Select IMAP
IMAP Server – imap.gmail.com
Authentication – Basic
Encryption – SSL
Port – 993

Reference links:
http://www.kanwalkhipple.com/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=27
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj159545.aspx

Option 2: (Manual Migration – for Docs)

I din’t find any out of the box ways of auto migrating all docs. The simplest way would be to download all files from Gmail App as zip and then unzip and upload as multiple files on Office 365 team site. However, this needs to be done individually for each user.

Reference link:
http://www.kanwalkhipple.com/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=38

Option 3: (Third Party Tool – Meta Vis – for Docs)

This is a popular one – http://www.metavistech.com/product/migrator-google-apps. However, this doesn’t seem to migrate emails. Good thing is that it retains all doc’s attributes. You need to contact their sales team to get pricing.

Option 4: (Third Party Tool – Migration Wiz – for Emails)

Another popular one. It supports Emails, Contacts and Calendar (No docs)
https://www.migrationwiz.com/Public/Solution/HowItWorks.aspx

A cost effective approach would be the combination of Option 1 and 2. However, there will be a need to provide a simple guide to user who can possibly move their docs on their own. If that’s not feasible then Option 1 and 3 would suffice.

There are various other third party tools as well (MetaLogix, Binary Tree etc…) but then price takes precedence in choosing a solution 🙂

Had a meeting with Microsoft regarding new product Office 365

Office 365, yes finally its being launched in the gulf, Microsoft is planning to launch it on 25-26th of June 2012 within Bahrain.

Me, My Senior Pankaj Nallur and one of our Partner went yesterday to attend this meeting. It was a good experience, the complete overview was given by Nigel Horncastle, really nice guy and quite informative.

Nigel covered lot of features within the limited time of 1:15 hours, and it was quite helpful for us in moving forward in our business and IT solutions.

The Hot Coffee was quite Good, but most important the outcome of the meeting, or i must say the Office 365 presentation was worth listening.

We are also given some testing accounts which i will practice this week and upload some snaps with my first experience of this new Office product.

Currently the services include :

  • Exchange Online
  • SharePoint Online
  • Lync Online
  • Microsoft Office (Office Professional Plus)
It was a nice gathering with Nigel, and till now the product is worth spending money into, Lets see how it outcomes its profits in the Gulf.
References :

Facebook Link for Office 365

Twitter for Office 365

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