Microsoft Online – Summary

Microsoft Online is definitely a good addition to the Microsoft suite of offerings. The administrative interface and AD-sync options allow customers to engage with the solution easily and for those smaller organizations really take the leap to shared uniform messaging without the bother of an internal shared network. With that as a starting point, organizations can grow into a dedicated offering where mailbox sizes and customization is at offered and will cater to much more complex customers. My earlier reviews of the sign-up process, setting up a new domain space, Accepting inbound email on Exchange Online, Creating Users, Accessing email, and service requests are all a place to get more information.

One area that is skipped in most of the Microsoft offered planning excersises is how to grow from Exchange Online Standard -> Exchange Online Dedicated -> Exchange Server On-Premise (or Exchange Server On-Premise – remotely managed). The roadmaps seem to skip this and the marketing material seems to focus on migrating the other way for smaller customers.

Microsoft’s roadmap is fairly clear, Directions on Microsoft has reposted this graphic on their site…


Getting access to the system is reasonably straight forward. Microsoft announced with the initial announcement at their partner conference a number of customers who are moving toward the system, so it will be interesting to see how their enterprise level feedback does or doesn’t change the user login/authentication experience.

My friends over at Ferris Research think the Microsoft Online may be too expensive, what do you think? For the services that are being offered? Is Microsoft’s $15/month too much? The Google Apps offering is much cheaper and with Cemaphore’s Mailshadow offering or Zimbra’s new Hosted offering which is starting with a .edu target audience, there is going to continue to be a lot of competition in the space….. That said, the full suite (Exchange + Sharepoint + OCS) is compelling.

Ryan over at MS seems to have more time than I to put together screen shots and post them to his blog. If you want to see more of the technical details, I recommend going over to his blog, Microsoft Online Technical Discussions & Information and checking it out. The team has also put together a blog, titled Microsoft Online Services. This blog has more details on all of the goings on and answers questions that everyone seems to be having… yes there is activesync (so you can connect your iPhone), yes you can connect with Entourageyes there are two offerings – dedicated & Standard…. btw, my day job is helping you decide which is right for you, so don’t hesitate to email me to help you with this decision :)

You don’t need to take my word for it though…. Have a read through the IPD guide. I had a few friends help write it and did the peer review on it (similar to the peer review I did for EHS), but more formal I guess.


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One Response to “Microsoft Online – Summary”

  1. Tatiana Becker Says:

    Are you by any chance ex-Microsoft? It seems like there is a pretty high density of ex-Microsoft start-up folks in Pioneer Square. I was there 2001-2006; now I’m in coffee. Go figure!

    Either way, we’d love to invite you guys to take a break sometime for a private coffee tasting. It lasts an hour and it’s like a wine tasting. Best of all, it’s free. Welcome to the neighborhood!


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