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back to article El Reg drills into Office 365: What's under the hood?

Microsoft's cloudy services offering have had an overhaul. Office 365 is faster, stronger, smarter, better and more like TIFKAM (the interface formerly known as Metro), or Modern User as it is now called, than ever before. The new overhaul is a major upgrade in usability and administer ability. Let's take a peek under the hood …

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Mushroom

The Popping sound..

...is Eadon's head exploding with rage at all the positive points going to MS.

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Re: The Popping sound..

But of course.

"better and more like TIFKAM (the interface formerly known as Metro), or Modern User as it is now called, than ever before. "

Only in this review has TIFKAM ever been listed as a positive attribute!

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Pint

The time is not right for me . . .

but it will be really interesting to see more real world testing. Many thanks Trevor, great article, have a pint.

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Joke

Office ProPlus

so named because it keeps you awake but leaves you with a headache?

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Nya
Facepalm

TIKFAM?!

TIKFAM?! Come on Trevor, you wrote it right afterwards!

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Re: TIKFAM?!

Was it the spel czecker?

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: TIKFAM?!

OK, OK...

Fixed.

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Joke

@Nya

At least he didn't start blaming Office for the typo's ;-)

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K
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Its nice (in a borat voice), but 99.9% ...

That allows for 8h+ downtime, which is a whole business day. Some businesses can cope with this. But Office in the staple diet of a lot of IT dependent businesses, having this potential level scale of downtime with no recourse is simply not an option. If we had 100 staff, that could effectively leads to the of 100 days worth of many hours.

But like I said, (que Borat) its nice!

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Re: Its nice (in a borat voice), but 99.9% ...

Not sure about the office you work in, but most offices I work in experience at least 4 hours downtime every Friday.

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Re: Its nice (in a borat voice), but 99.9% ...

Not sure about the office you work in, but most offices I work in experience at least 4 hours downtime every Friday.

There's a difference between expected and manageable downtime and "the %&* service is down and I have a deadline to meet" :)

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Boffin

Re: Its nice (in a borat voice), but 99.9% ...

But is 99.99% an option? Could you afford to put a second PC on every desk just to meet the uptime requirements? I don't know of any Enterprise that runs a 99.9% uptime desktop environment (server side perhaps, and perhaps a few key users, but not the entire desktop).

Taking your 100 staff as an example, how many of them suffer a single day outage spread across the year? They don't all break at once, but in most large enterprises I've seen you wait several hours before the break-fix engineer gets to you to rebuild the failed PC, and another hour for the rebuild. (yes, there are a few slick admins out there, but as the article says, most aren't).

Balance the cost against the risk. What if the 8 hour outage happens in the middle of the night? You win.

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Windows

@K

In all fairness those kind of businesses would most likely settle for a plan which included the desktop versions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Its nice (in a borat voice), but 99.9% ...

You don't need a 2nd PC for everyone, just a spare "standard image" and enforce users on network drives.

Then you need a 2nd backup/synchronised server to cope with the primary failing, and a spare network switch.

Having said all of that, my biggest issue with Office365 is the placing of all your data unencrypted in the hands of a USA company. If you are a Ma & Pa shop selling cookies and stuff no problem, but not if you have any IP worth speaking of. And in particular work with clients that have restrictions (defence, medical, financial, etc).

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FAIL

Re: Its nice (in a borat voice), but 99.9% ...

Further, was just browsing the link to the offerings

"Financially-backed 99.9% up-time guarantee:

Peace of mind that your services are available with an industry-leading, financially-backed 99.9% uptime guarantee."

FINANCIALLY BACKED. Now I haven't actually downloaded the full T&Cs, but that sounds like recourse to me. And there may also be tighter conditions on RTO for single incidents, with the aggregate being 8 hours (but as I say, I haven't looked, but then neither did you).

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Re: Its nice (in a borat voice), but 99.9% ...

I think the point is that for most places who don't demand 99.9% connectivity anyway (and wouldn't understand what it really means it if they did), their Internet connection is going to be vastly less than that. Even getting any sort of SLA basically means leased-line.

Not every company is some huge conglomerate with a thousand desktops. The people being pitched at here also include tiny little outfits where dangling off their local BT business connection is going to cost them more downtime than anything Microsoft (or Google, or anyone else) could throw at them. The question top of my mind is "what happens when I go offline unexpectedly", not "what happens if THEY go offline unexpectedly".

And financial compensation is probably not going to be one tenth of one percent of what being without Office - site-wide - will cost you for a day a year, if you're a business that actually uses it to do business. Hell, just a day without email could cost you more than you pay on software and IT in a year if it means you lose a customer (or fail to gain that customer in the first place).

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Re: Its nice (in a borat voice), but 99.9% ...

"but not if you have any IP worth speaking of. And in particular work with clients that have restrictions (defence, medical, financial, etc)." Not necessarily so.

For the general user or business, MS complies with EU privacy law requirements (and is the only cloudy service to do so as of this writing) which is good 'nuff.

My role is in IT, but everything I touch has IP and related issues that must are managed daily. (Must this digital asset reside within a specific geographical location, does this service expose permanent establishment risk, Art. 29 EU Model contract clauses, etc.) And no, I'm not a lawyer, I just participate in far too many discussions with legal counsel. ;)

As for the rest, if your'e dealing with intellectual property, defence, medical (Bio-tech anyone?) etc. then you'll have a serious legal resource unit to get the appropriate level of indemnity, IP protection, bespoke clauses, etc., to either make the solution worthwhile, or you'll walk away. It's not an issue.

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Re: Its nice (in a borat voice), but 99.9% ...

You should check out the sla. The three nines is for service availability. If you get less than three nines you get some amount of free service. At no point do you get a refund.

Also, note the service availability fact. There is no SLA around data availability.

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Happy

Public Folders

Be wary if you have been using public folders in your organisation. In Exchange online (and Exchange 2013) public folders are still there, but the management and internal structure has changed significantly. The public folder is now based on a mailbox. The IPM sub-tree and management thereof is now naturally seen as normal mailboxes, this also means that the multi master model seen in previous versions have changed to a single master version.

I fully understand, and appreciate, that for most orgs this is not going to be a show stopper, but keep this in mind when you are planning your migrations.

It seems as if MS have not given up the fight against the humble public folder. :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Public Folders

My sources at Microsoft say Public Folders are in for the long haul, and the reworking on the back end was essentially an investment in the feature. What the truth is, who knows but that's what they said FWIW...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

You really do know fuck all about Enterprise IT, don't you?

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Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

Why do you care?

If you don't use MS products, and are so against them, then why is the only thing you do is slate system that you do not use, and do not seem to understand?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

Eadon,

You don't design Entreprise systems, you just don't, that's bollocks. You've completely misunderstood what you're buying with Office 365. A mailserver, a sharepoint server, a secure instant messaging server etc.

How are any of them provided by Mint Desktop and LIbre Office? They just aren't.

I can do video conferencing, or remote desktop sharing, or whiteboards, integrated with AD authentication, and am able to schedule this with users Exchange calendar availability with Lync on Office 365.

How do I do that with Libre Office? You just can't.

Come back when you have any idea what you're talking about.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

Hmm. Let's just say that your proclivities run away with your "facts".

Usability 9/10 TCO 10/10 Security 9/10. Safety re Legal compliance 10/10. Interoperability 10/10

Usability: nowhere near 9. Yes, with training, but not off the bat. Personally, I think that is the major issue with Linux desktops in general, for Enterprise use there is still too much fiddling required.

Security: depends on how you lock down the users. If you lock them down tight, Windows 7 and up are reasonable too. If you let the users run wild, Linux too allows trojans, because I have yet to meet a user who will not permit a privilege escalation when prompted.

Legal compliance: with what? The Windows world now has certain processes you can apply which demonstrate compliance with whatever process or certification. Part of that is because Windows underneath is seen as a constant, whereas the ability to quickly hack a new version of Linux is seen as anathema to process stability. If Linux on the desktop manages to make headway, that will happen for Linux too, but we are talking about established Enterprise here. That's a heavy ship to turn around.

Interoperability: nope. MS screwed over the ISO processes to make XML a *cough* standard too. The fact that is isn't for real doesn't matter, MS knows it only needed the tickbox for that problem to vanish. LibreOffice makes a complete hash of .docx and .xlsx files, so compatibility sucks.

Usability 3/10 TCO 2/10 Security 4/10. Safety re Legal compliance 2/10. Interoperability 2/10

Usability: once users have suffered the ribbon, it's sort of OK. It's not a "3", I'd give it a "6" - and from Trevor's review it appears they have managed to clean up the non-Office stuff a bit as well. So maybe 6.5.

Security: it's more work, but it's no longer as crap as it used to be. From anti-virus insiders I heard that Windows 7 and above are actually getting decent.

Compliance: wrong, from the process angle as well as license review. Online stuff carries less license risks. The only variable that Trevor has missed is where data and apps live because there are MASSIVE Data Protection issues in play here, however, that would be two articles on its own to deal with (Trevor and I already have had long discussions over this).

Interoperability: as long as you stay with MS products, it's not an issue. Sure, not with Linux, but that's not a need for an Enterprise.

So your eval sucks. No surprise there..

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Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

"MS systems do not play nice with non-MS systems "

That's your problem, right there.

But for Linux, not Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

What about Freiburg, abandoning OpenOffice to go back to MS Office? If EADON had an impartial bone in his body he'd be doing the OpenSource community far less damage, but then it wouldn't be as entertaining poking him with a stick.

Hey we've all assumed it's a him! He could be a her. Or is a troll an it?

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Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

Care to explain *exactly* how you can achieve this in the same way? You seemed to avoid the question somewhat..

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Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

Sod the enterprise. Enterprise sized customers have the resources to do all this internally. Office and Google's cloudy offering are just a choice as to who you pay to keep the mice inside the servers fed.

Obviously if there are problems with IP or data protection, then you'll be more likely to stay in-house. And with large numbers of users the costs are probably so close that it makes little difference. The extra costs of making changes to, and the lack of flexibility of, out-sourcing probably make things pretty even.

Where it matters is small business. I do most of the IT for a company of under 10 people. I also do the accounts, some of the engineering design and a bit of the sales. We have 3 people working from home, and 3 road-warriors. Out-sourcing is the way for us. The first cost of getting a server would be somewhere to put it, we rent cheap offices because we barely need them. The next cost would be learning to make it work. I can do all our desktop maintenance, but no way in hell am I setting up servers (I don't have the time or the training), and double-no-way-in-hell are our users moving to Linux. They can barely use Windows...

We use a cloudy accounts package, and pay a local IT vendor to run an Exchange server for us with our CRM on it too. Exchange is so complex that they don't know all the options on it, because they're generalists. What we lose in expertise, we gain in cost and the fact that we can talk to them and change things any time.

A few thousand in software licensing costs is bugger-all in the great scheme of things. The costs come in managing the server. Locating, powering, maintaining and backing-up the server and paying the person who knows how to keep the mice happy.

The other objection to Linux would be Outlook. Personally I dislike it, and have since I first had to use it in the 90s. Although I've never had to use Lotus... But we've got at least 2 users who'd cry if we took it away from them. What's the Linux state of affairs on an alternatives to Exchange/Outlook nowadays? There doesn't seem to be much in the Windows world to do calendaring/contacts/email unless it's online only. What do Linux peeps have on their desktops?

If Lync (or whatever) can do all the fancy integrated internal communications stuff for us, that's currently out of easy reach to a small company, then that's just gravy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

Always amusing to read an opinion on security from Eadon, who is so -ahem- "good" at it that his own blog is a malware hive.

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Facepalm

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

"Actually, yes you can do all of those things (or equivalent, as in the case of Sharepoint server) using Linux, and at lower cost and more securely. "

Yes but how exactly? C'mon we want specifics not general banal statements.

The world of Enterprise IT needs a little more than "Yep it can be done!"

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Happy

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

The world of Enterprise IT needs a little more than "Yep it can be done!"

Are you sure? I thought that was the pitch that won Crapita and EDS all their government contracts...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

@Eadon - On your web site I seem to remember that, you claim to be a software architect, which I find highly dubious, even if you are that doesn't make you an infrastructure architect. Programmers thinking that they knew infrastructure is why KDE recently almost lost their entire codebase. It turns out that replication and RAID aren't backup (who knew?). Know your limits.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

Oh and stop holding up Munich as an example of how to do a good Linux migration - it's an example of a piss-poor linux migration. They've been going since about June 2004 and target to migrate 14k workstations, as of January 2013 they've only migrated 13k workstations - ie: The project still hasn't finished after nearly a decade and they are touting savings of only 10M Euros.

That's ~1.1 million euros a year saving, for a project that hasn't finished, has been running on for the best part of a decade and that didn't look at optimising their MS infrastructure, which was generally regarded as very badly designed in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

"...MS systems do not play nice with non-MS..."

Utter rubbish, if you can't get MS and non-MS systems to play nicely together, that is very definitely your problem, I do it every day and it's as easy as getting Linux to talk to Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

@Eadon - The hostility to Linux is in your mind, most people here use Linux, Windows, UNIX and many other OSes, just because people point out when you're wrong about something, doesn't mean that they are an enemy of Linux.

BTW: Is "sysadmins" your new insult? It's pretty lame, if it is.

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Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

I am still LOL'ing at the fact Google tells you that his blog will be harmful to your computer!!!

You even get the same message when trying to load it on Linux, classic!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

"The amount of money that goes out of this country (UK) to the States, money that could have been invested in engineers here, is shocking. And a lot of that money is money WE earned and have to pay as tax."

But you keep banging on about how Red Hat are great and IBM are great, where do you think the money goes for these companies?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

"Linux Sys Admins, those guys are smart"

Like the ones which let your blog get infested with malware?

You need to get over yourself - choosing an OS doesn't make one smart or dumb, it's a coice of OS. Actually, choosing one OS makes you dumber than those who know more and shout about how the ones they don't know are rubbish...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

Why am I even responding to low-IQ AC's?

No idea. In my case you're genuinely dealing with a member of Mensa International, so I suggest you grow some new feet to shoot at ..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

There has been a fair bit of gnashing of teeth by my friends, the SysAdmins here, most of them hiding behind AC because they are not confident in their proclaimations. Which is astute, as the said proclamations are have a service level of five nines of bullshit uptime.

Little boy, some people exercise caution by stating facts and their views, whereas you seem to consider any view that doesn't correspond with your weirdly warped utopian view of a Linux only planet as an attack that must be answered with an ad hominem because your arguments lack as much substance as your claims of expertise. Worst is IMHO that you actually believe your own BS.

Some people actually have a clue (they are kind to post as A/C because if you knew who they were you'd probably hide in shame), and have to work in an Enterprise world where choices must be made, and most of those don't go near Linux on the desktop because of various arguments, arguments you evidently not equipped to understand either because of a lack of knowledge, or a lack of bandwidth in your brain, possibly caused by the compression of a severe case of cranial invasion of the rear end cavity.

Time to use that ignore filter - I have tried long enough to make you see the light, but you only manage to make a decent statement in 1 of about 30 messages, so there is evidently not much lost with ignoring you.

Linux on the server: fine, works for me and has been doing so for years. Linux on the desktop: not in my enterprise, thank you. If I have to avoid Windows I'd rather use OSX. It's not exactly enterprise ready either, but it's closer to it than Linux, also because the support for it is easier to organise.

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Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

If you'd have mentioned using ClearOS or something else based around CentOS/RHEL instead of just Mint + LibreOffice and not claimed zero TCO you might have retained an ounce of credibility. Just an ounce mind.

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FAIL

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

Once again, you fail to actually outline HOW Linux can fill the boots of 365 in the Enterprise.

So, qualify your apparent knowledge about the subject and explain

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

" "How do I do that with Libre Office? You just can't."

Actually, yes you can do all of those things (or equivalent, as in the case of Sharepoint server) using Linux, and at lower cost and more securely. "

You can read, right? I said how can you do them with Libre Office, which is what you suggested using instead of Office 365. YOU CANNOT DO THEM WITH LIBRE OFFICE.

Here's a clue;

LIBRE OFFICE IS NOT THE SAME THING AS LINUX.

Saying there are apps that run on Linux (also not the same thing as Linux) that let you do all those things is partially true, partially untrue, and vague to the point of being useless.

How would you do those things on Linux? Who admins those systems? Do they admin themselves? Your VOIP server, running on Linux? Perhaps Asterisk? That you integrate with your instant messaging system? That you can find someone who knows how to put in for you, keep running for you in multiple international locations.

Just stop talking bollocks.

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