SharePoint MVP Experts AMA

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s an Ask Me Anything SharePoint MVPs Expert Chat taking place on October 29th at 1 PM EST. The panel consists of SharePoint MVPs across the spectrum (and the world for that matter).

So what’s that mean? If you’re curious about SharePoint 2010 or 2013 or perhaps SharePoint Online or the greater Office 365 platform, come on over and ask a question. You’ll just need to have a Reddit account before hand so that you can be ready to ask questions. More information on the location will be available on the 29th in the SharePoint subreddit – /r/sharepoint

Who all will be there you ask?
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Office 365 Customers to receive Unlimited OneDrive Storage

So this was rather unexpected… or perhaps I just hadn’t read the writing on the wall as Microsoft takes a cue from competitors to up their cloud storage offering. Starting with Home, Personal and Education Office 365 accounts, Microsoft will be offering unlimited storage for OneDrive for Office 365 customers.

It would seem that this will be starting out with consumer OneDrive accounts – based on the announcement, it’ll eventually be there for OneDrive for Business users (maybe?), or so it hints at in the blog post by the OneDrive team.

More details available from the OneDrive blog here: https://blog.onedrive.com/office-365-onedrive-unlimited-storage/.

So if you’re a Google, DropBox, Amazon, or Apple user and you’re looking to cut costs, maybe this is the time to go out and pick up an Office 365 Personal or Home subscription key card from Amazon.com. Yes, I realize it’s not instantaneous gratification and requires you to wait a few days for the card to arrive, but it saves a little cash that you can use toward that Surface Pro 3 that you were going to buy, right? :)

SharePoint Online Service Descriptions – Hidden Gem

TL;dr – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dn788955

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So I should have posted this a while ago… back in December 2013 (http://www.sharepointdan.com/2013/12/29/sharepoint-online-versus-on-premise-v15/), but figured that it deserved some reminding to folks that might be looking for it…

If you’re like me and you get questions about SharePoint Online and how it compares to SharePoint On-Premises, you typically just start drawing from experiences – some that might be subjective, some that might be objective. Regardless, it’s not something that typically provides for an overarching analysis of services that SharePoint Online provides for thereby leaving you in a rut of sorts trying to determine what each different version of SharePoint and SharePoint Online provide for.

If you’re familiar with Microsoft, the SharePoint Product group released spiffy downloadable Excel spreadsheets detailing the different capabilities and feature sets of the different SKUs (Foundation, Standard, Enterprise) SharePoint for both the 2007 and 2010 versions. With SharePoint 2013, many of us were wondering where we could find something like this for the most recent version – sure there was the Office 365 service description but for those of us working with On-Premises deployments we didn’t know where would get this information.

This is available here – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dn788955

The Product Group snuck this in somewhere in fall of 2013 – I can say this because I was working with a client at the time and stumbled upon it in an update and was ecstatic :)

So what does this have? It’s got ever SKU of Office 365 as well as the On-Premises feature sets so if you want to compare what SharePoint Online has in E3 against what SharePoint 2013 Enterprise provides for you can do that comparison. The spreadsheet also has built in filters so that you’re able to choose the SKU you want and compare between SKUs easily.

If you decide that you want a full up view of the Service Description displayed through Excel Online, you can simply https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?cid=41e528b989881d4a&id=documents&resid=41E528B989881D4A!194&app=Excel&authkey=!AJTaHXrAwKrOd68&.

And what’s more if you want to download a copy of the spreadsheet for use later, you can simply click on the Download button within the Excel Online application to pull down a point in time copy. Mind you that similar to the Service Descriptions that overarch all of Office 365, these are updated regularly – the date of the update to the Excel file is displayed in the document in the upper left cell.

Happy comparisons!

Office 365 Service Descriptions

TL; dr – http://www.office365sd.com

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One of the most common questions that I hear on a regular basis is, “How do I decide which Office 365 plan should I get? Just the small or mid-size business or do I need the E plan?”

Up until recently, if you were an organization that was running Active Directory on-premises and you were hoping to use the same password or federate your identity, I would have told you that you needed at least the Mid-Size business plan or one of the E plans. However, Microsoft has changed things up and more or less all of their business plans (not the consumer plans) now support the use of Azure Active Directory integration.

But wait, you’re still scratching your head asking the question, “But which plan do I need?” Without reading through the marketing information on the office.com site, I’d recommend you hop on over to the Service Descriptions to determine what really meets your needs and requirements.

“But Dan, that’s a lot of work…” True, you can go with the information that’s presented just at office.com and get up and running now and change things down the road plan wise… or you can go over to the Service Descriptions and figure out what you really need.

“But Dan, I don’t have time to hunt and peck for URLs…” Sure you do… no wait, you don’t. So head on over to http://www.office365sd.com.

Remember that the Service Descriptions are updated regularly so you probably want to bookmark that handy URL that Microsoft put out there for you to find the resource more quickly.

Azure and Office 365 Certification Opportunities

For those of you that are looking to get certified on cloud based products in the Microsoft stack – well there’s a great opportunity for you to get certified – for free.

Microsoft Learning is giving away 10k vouchers for individuals to attempt to gain an MCTS between now and the end of the year for the newly released cloud certifications for Azure and MCSA for Office 365.


Update 3 – And Microsoft is out of certification vouchers. For those of you that were able to attain one – good luck in your studies!

Update 2 – MS Learning tweeted me to let me know that they still have exam vouchers, seems that the initial message was incorrect. Get’em while they’re hot!

Update – They’re fresh out of exam vouchers – they went pretty quickly it would seem, good luck to those of you that were able to snag one!!!

If you’re looking for studying materials – I’d recommend checking out the learning objectives for each of the exams, available on their exam pages listed here:

Azure Certifications:
Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions – 70-532 – https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-70-532.aspx
Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions – 70-533 – https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-70-533.aspx

Office 365 Certifications
Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements – 70-346 – https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-70-346.aspx
Enabling Office 365 Services – 70-347 – https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-70-347.aspx

If you pass both Office 365 certifications, you’ll gain your Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) for Office 365 which can be counted toward the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) SharePoint 2013.

For more information about getting a free voucher though, check out the Microsoft Learning blog here:

http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2014/10/16/get-certified-on-microsoft-azure-or-office-365-with-free-exams.aspx

Now Offering… BaaS

Starting today, I’m announcing a new service offering…

Bacon as a Service, or BaaS for short.

You will only pay for the Bacon that you consume. If you require different flavours of Bacon based on your requirements, we can provide you with that Bacon at tiered pricing.

If you consume significant amounts of Bacon. We will lower the price as you consume more during that time period, making use of economies of scale.

If you prefer to bring your own Bacon, we allow that as well, providing griddle space and power to cook your Bacon. Because you’re bringing your own Bacon, the cost is less, but there’s still a cost associated with it as you’re using our infrastructure.

We look forward to serving you the finest Bacon. Please provide comments as you see fit below.

SPS Events – Baltimore 2014

It’s surprising how quickly time passes when you plunge yourself into the world of technology. Nevertheless, SPS Events Baltimore was a great success – especially considering the competition of the Preakness Stakes up yonder in Baltimore proper. This year we were at the Anne Arundel Community College Campus just north of Annapolis, MD. As Rob Windsor made note of, it’s been a while since I registered for a college class. You see, to be an attendee we had to sign in for the day as a student.

That being said, I gave it the old college try, presenting on two topics that are near and dear to my heart… okay so there are a lot of topics that are near and dear to my heart but these two seem to be ones that keep popping up on my radar.

First up was Getting Started with Office 365. The audience was fantastic and outside of a minor snafu where the VM that I ran the demo out of required a little bit of extra finesse, the session went over well. If you’ve got questions, don’t hesitate to ping me, Office 365 is pretty big and all encompassing – that being said, I don’t know all the ins and outs of the platform, but happy to redirect to those that have expertise in different areas.

After that it was a mental reset moving back to pure SharePoint best, I mean Worst Practices. It was a lively audience with Jason Himmelstein, Brian Alderman, Jared Matfess, and Thomas Carpe in attendance. Great engagement and fun times :)

Nevertheless, I look forward to next year’s SPS Events Baltimore – hope you’re able to make it to the next one!!!

Azure Files…

With Microsoft TechEd going on this week there are several announcements of new technological releases from the Redmond teams. Looks like the Azure team is at it again, taking things a step further, pushing the fabric envelope as they take yet another component to 11.

This go round they’re adding in Microsoft Azure Files, an elegant way of sharing files stored within Azure through a mapped drive for consumption by Azure Virtual Machines and REST APIs. More information and getting started available here:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazurestorage/archive/2014/05/12/introducing-microsoft-azure-file-service.aspx

Spring Break 2014…

This year, I had the pleasure of spending Spring Break in Orlando, FL at the DevIntersections conference as a part of the SharePoint Intersection. It was nice to get back to Florida and connect with attendees and hear about their experiences as well as share some of the experiences I’ve had with SharePoint, Office 365 and the ever nebulous cloud.

For attendees (and anyone curious) I’ve uploaded the slides to SlideShare.

Definitely looking forward to the next event in Orlando next year, should be a great time of collaboration and sharing!

Connecting… Collaborating… Communicating…