Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ignite 2017 An overview of Microsoft Teams architecture

On demand recording available here.

Microsoft Teams is designed for the cloud to be agile at massive scale to amplify the value of Office 365.

Teams are clients utilizing Teams services, Office 365 services, the Skype infrastructure and Azure. A "Team" in Microsoft Teams consist of a modern group (Office 365 group), a SharePoint site and a set of "Channels".


If you get a message and have not used Teams in the last 60 to 90 minutes you will get an email about it. If you paste a URL into a Teams channel the URL preview service will display a preview so that people will see what it is before clicking it.

Data at rest resides in your region based on your tenant affinity, and this will shift to even more local in country storage in the future.

The conversations are stored in memory when sent - for speed, but also in Azure (blob, tables, queues) and in Exchange. Files used in a team/channel conversation are stored in SharePoint. Teams utilizes O365 Information Protection tools so that features like eDiscovery, Legal hold and Retention policies can be used on the stored data.

You can invite guests, and revoke access to guests through the AD token in the tenant that represents the guest. If you need to block the option of creating a Team in Teams, you can block the option of creating groups in AD.


Questions and Answers

Giving someone guest access - will this not give access to all the underlying infrastructure, what about access rights and licensing?
Yes, the guest is a guest in the "Azure AD" tenant, not only in Teams (licensing not answered.)

Is the meeting scheduling process quicker than in Skype for Business if we try to create like 1000s of meetings?
Yes/No, the scheduling is done using the Exchange Online calendar.

Will Teams work with Skype for Business on-premises?
Yes, they can run side-by-side.

What about Teams "replacing" Skype for business?
A lot of the core capabilities are already there. Certain things like data residency, broadcast meetings and non-persistent chat is not in Teams yet, however we will see a lot of activities during next year to bring feature parity (and better) between the products. A gradual move of users to Teams will take place and have already started.

Files stored in Onedrive for business - in who's Onedrive?
In 1-on-1 chats files will stored in Onedrive for business and permissions automatically assigned to the peer you are chatting with.

Will it be possible to programmatically create teams?
Yes, the ability to create teams, add members etc, is on the roadmap. (coming this year.)

How about delegation?

It is not availble now, but is coming.

Can we configure the set of connectors available to the users?
Yes.

Can we support naming conventions when creating teams?
Teams will honor the naming conventions used for groups (available, but not in all tenants just yet.)

Will the Teams calendaring feature work with Exchange Online vNext?
Yes.

Are there plans to replace the Onedrive storage with something else?
No, not at this point.

What happens if we move a mailbox from on-premises to online?
The data will merge.

Can we have individual permissions per Channel?

This is a big ask from customers and is "in process", so soon yes.

Can we migrate a Team from on tenant to another?
No, not at this point.

Can we define retention policies for chats and for team conversations?
Yes, this is being worked on right now and released soon.

Will Teams have to be changed in order for customers to adhere to the new EU GDPR rules?
Teams will support GDPR requirements when it must be enforced in May 2018 (as well as all of Office 365.)

Can we use the conferencing hardware for Skype room systems in Teams?
Yes, this is coming during next year.

How does authentication in the desktop client use?
Standard Azure authentication is used.

Is the number of people allowed in a team going to be increased?
Yes, the current limit of 999 persons per team will be increased very soon.

In a 1-to-1 chat, is messages from both participants stored in both users mailboxes?
Yes, and for guests in the cloud storage.

Will it be possible to integrate an existing SharePoint site with a team?
Yes, a tab can be added and point to a specific SharePoint site.

Is voicemail available in Teams?
Yes.

Can we verify that different Data residency requirements for a Team with people from 5 different countries are met?
Data residency is done per tenant.

Can Teams use on-premises or a hybrid SharePoint for the Teams site?
No, Teams work with SharePoint Online only.

Will I be able to sign-in to two different tenants from the Teams client?
No, not right now, but the guest access concept will change over time, and something similar to the current Skype for business federation will come.

Can we audit failed access attempts to a team, or private channels?
Not now, good feedback.

Will media flow peer-to-peer in a Teams call?
Yes, if not blocked by firewalls.

In a Teams meeting will one or several MCUs be used?
A single "Home MCU" will run/mix the meeting.

Will there be APIs or ways to programmatically control a Teams MCU/meeting?
There are "hooks" available, and more of this is on the roadmap.

Are there plans for an on-premises version of Teams?
No.

What are the plans for CCE-like functionality for Teams?
The plans are to certify SBCs to connect directly to the cloud voice solution, so an on-premises SIP Trunk could be connected to the colud. CCE will not be needed in the future.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ignite 2017 Collaborate in a chat-based workspace with Microsoft Teams

We see a shift from individual productivity towards team based productivity. The presentation featured a long demo of Microsoft Teams. The following features were presented:


The customer Dentsu Aegis Network talked about their journey with Microsoft Teams.


Links

Teams Roadmap   
Product help  
Known issues   
Product Ideas   
Teams Dev Hub
Community


Questions and Answers

How about Channels with different membership than the parent team?
This "shared channel" concept is being worked on.

How can we control the provisioning / creation of Teams?
There are Office 365 policies on who can create groups, a group = a team behind the scenes.

What happens when a user that created a team is terminated?
Policies for archiving and in place hold will still apply, and there is an option to promote another user to become the new owner of a team.

Can we track how many teams and channels are created?
Yes, this will be exposed in the Admin center later on.

Can we re-brand the Teams client?
No, but there is the concept of themes.

How about clientless meeting join?
It is coming in teams, but not there yet.

Which browsers are supported?
Most of them except for Safari.

Can we allow non-Azure AD accounts as guests in teams?
No, this is being worked on, but no time plan can be given at this time.

Ignite 2017 Demystifying internet connectivity to Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams

On demand recording available here.

Microsoft runs a high-quality network around the globe to provide services to customers. This Network is closer than you might think, and it means that only little of the traffic actually uses the public Internet.

This article describes the network in greater detail:
How Microsoft builds its fast and reliable global network

And recently Microsoft announced a new nice addition to this network:
A cable stretching 4,000 miles between the US and Spain is the key to a high-speed future

Audio & video is realtime traffic and must be handled different from emails / web browser traffic. The stateless UDP protocol is used for realtime traffic, if a packet is lost there is no point resending it.

Most networks were designed when we had all services on-premises. Now we moved many services online, and we need to reconsider how we do networking.

The network has peering with more than 2500 ISPs around the world in more than 130 locations.


The ideal scenario is a local internet breakout in every office, and not a central breakout point. The analogy used is, "the faster you can get on the freeway the faster you will reach your destination." Identify Office 365 traffic, use local DNS resolution and egress as close to the user as possible.

What kind of performance measures do we need to get a good experience?
In short:

To make a short story long:
Media Quality and Network Connectivity Performance in Skype for Business Online

How can we check these metrics?
Use the Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool.This tool has been a part of the Skype Operations Framework and I have covered it earlier in this blog.

QoS is always a good idea even if our servers now are online, it will have a good impact on peer-to-peer traffic.


Questions and Answers

What about VPNs?
Use split tunneling.

The proxy pac file must contain all Office 365 URLs / FQDNs, but the firewall is allowing/blocking locations based on IP addresses.
How do we match URLs / FQDNs to IP address automatically, to update both pac file and firewall?
This is a challenge.

What ports are Teams using for realtime audio / video?
Teams are using the same destination ports as Skype for business online.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ignite 2017 Plan your UC refresh correctly: Skype for Business on-premises vNext

We will not forget our existing customers - we are investing in another refresh of Skype for business. We imagine organizations running Teams and Skype for business side-by-side, and we want ALL to be piloting Teams now.


Next Skype for business Server 2019 release Preview mid 2018 / Release late 2018
(I took the liberty of adding an "s" on this slide...)


The new client will be released as a click-to-run application on Windows 10, not .msi,
and the new client will work with Skype for Business Server 2015 as well.


Upgrade paths

Support for SQL Server 2016, no in-place upgrade and no Standard edition server will be available. (However, Front End pools with a single server will be supported.. The Director role will be removed (and a small applause erupted in the room) as well as the Persistent Chat role

New features
  • A new Hybrid Aware Office 365 Portal will be available (CSCP and Silverlight will finally vanish from the product.)
  • Certain "Exchange dependent functionalities", like voice mail, auto attendant and call queues, will now be delivered straight from the cloud.
  • Modern Authentication (currently in public preview.)
  • A Meeting Migration Service is available in the cloud already.

The new server and other new things will be available at skypepreview.com - sign up today!



Questions and Answers (with special guest - Matt Landis)

How does Cloud Connector Edition CCE fit in with the new server and Teams?
It can co-exist with S4B Server 2019. In the future it might be possible to point an SBC straight to the cloud for calls to Microsoft Teams.

Calling plans with Teams - will there be opportunities for partners to resell and make money of this?
Look at what we have today in Skype for business.

Upgrade story for Skype for business 2015 Multi tenant installations? 
Multi tenant (hosting pack) will not be available in S4B Server 2019.

How about CQD, Statsman, Reporting server?

CQD - will come in new versions online, and an updated Statsman will come.

Will we still need TLS 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2?
It will be possible to disable TLS 1.0 and 1.1 even for Skype for business 2015 (possibly Cumulative Update 7)

Will there be a migration path from Skype consumer?
Not at release time.

If I move my users to Teams, can I still use my on-premises SIP trunk?
Yes, with Cloud Connector Edition today, and the vision is to remove any on-premises components and direct the SIP trunk straight to Office 365.

Roles (standard and director goes away) what about persistent chat? (from Get-CsJosh)
Persistent chat will not be a part of S4B Server 2019.

Will we get "plug-in less meeting joins" in the meeting web app?
No.

Plans for Response groups?
Nothing new, RGS and Call queues (if hybrid.)

How about SBA / SBS?
They will still be supported, but stay as they are today, nothing new.

Will there be a new Office Online Server version?
Unknown to us right now...

Will SDN be developed further?
No, but there might come new solutions from partners.

Are there changes to how quorum and Windows fabric works?
Yes, a new version of Windows fabric will be used which is better. Enterprise Pools with one Front End will be supported, or three to 16 Front Ends will be supported, but not a pool with 2 Front Ends only.

What are you doing on stage Matt? (Ken)
Matt is invited as MVP and guest blogger and he seems to like to be on stage :-)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Ignite 2017 General Session - Microsoft 365: Transform your communications with Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business

The session started out with some thoughtful quotes like: "Gone are the days of hierarchy - People want to work in Teams!". "Microsoft Teams is the enabler for Artificial Intelligence in communications." "We are moving beyond Unified Communications... to Intelligent Communications." (Hmm, time to rename this blog already?)

Microsoft Teams is the hub for intelligent communications, before, during, and after your meeting.
  • Before the meeting, Microsoft Teams will surface relevant documents and participant information.
  • During the meeting, for closed captioning and voice recognition.
  • After the meeting, the conversation, documents, notes & action items are shared with the entire team.
We all want to remove the barriers when it comes to hearing (audio) understanding (translation) or seeing (video) each other.



After 10 minutes the first demo came with Gifs in a conversation, guest access, the SurveyMonkey app, files, webpages in the client. The following demo showed:
  • The contact list and presence (a presence unified with the presence in Skype for business).
  • The "Calls app" - a telephone - with call logs, voice mail (with transcript), a dialer (so that everyone can understand it really is a phone) and Call transfer.
  • Scheduling meetings in Teams or Outlook with Dial-in conferencing available in some 90 countries.
  • Joining a meeting with a presentation and video gallery.
  • Showing a Contact card with a built-in organization chart.
  • The demo / meeting continued in the mobile client.
  • Reviewing a meeting that already took place, right from the conversation view, with subtitles and search.
All the above features are already in the product or in preview.


30 minutes in an interview with two customers followed, Accenture and Cerner. They have rolled out and is using Teams already.

The 3 main questions / concerns around Skype for business / Microsoft Teams:

What does this mean for Skype for business Server?
Skype for business vNext is coming next year, both a Server and Client, with fixes, support and improved Teams interoperability.



Is Microsoft Teams ready?
Yes. Teams is already used by large organizations. Auditing and call analytics are in Teams and existing phones, Rooms systems and video interop will work with Teams.


How is Microsoft going to help us in the transition?
  • A Microsoft Teams & Skype for business Admin Center is coming, with the capability to report on the "Teams upgrade status" for users.
  • The Teams client will download in the background and the Skype for business client will display an "Upgrade button" when ready.
  • Presence will be unified and calls with transfer and hold will work across platforms.
  • All users do not need to move to Teams at the same time.

The Microsoft Teams & Skype for business Admin Center.
"One click upgrade"
You will see if your friends are on Skype for business or Teams.

For more info and help: https://aka.ms/SkypeAndTeams

Related Microsoft Teams articles:

MsIgnite 2017 TK01 Technology Keynote: Create a modern workplace with Microsoft 365

It would be nice with a single app for everything we need to do, but that is not possible or practical just yet. However, Microsoft Teams are a step in that direction, a hub for teamwork. Teams collect conversations, files and apps (150+ of them) into a single frame. Microsoft Teams is part of a new strategy or "vision for intelligent communications in Office 365", which will bring technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, speech recognition and cognitive services to our communication.


This new "Core communications client" runs on a new backend built for the Skype infrastructure, and it will replace Skype for business "over time", not immediately. Just to be clear "We still plan to fully support Skype for business during this transition".



Next a long demo session followed showing among other things:

  • Mobile Outlook running on iOS is smart, it understands emails about flights, deliveries and reservations, and can summarize and simplify these kinds of mail.
  • The Cortana scheduling service can schedule a meeting for you automatically
  • A new whiteboard application for the Surface Hub with an intelligent canvas which understand shapes and freehand text.

Then the Microsoft Teams information and demo (at about 20 and 30 minutes into the recording) showing:

  • Guest access (for any Azure AD account (with MFA))
  • Files / OneNote / Power BI dashboard tabs
  • Threaded persistent conversations (with emojis and Gif's)
  • Meeting with Dialin conferencing
  • Recorded meeting, using Stream (showing transcript and facial recognition of speaker for searches)

Looking at a recorded meeting in style.


Other Microsoft 365 features in demo:
  • Offline access to files in SharePoint
  • Files on-demand (handle cloud and local files the same way)
  • Yammer "Employee townhall meeting" 
 
Finally, a demo on how easy it is to install and configure a new PC using Intune provisioning over the Internet, answer 5 questions and log in - done! 

Some interesting new Analytics in Microsoft 365 were shown as well:

Notice the "Skype: Enabled vs active users" dial.

Microsoft Ignite 2017 - first links

I have just watched the awesome keynote from Microsoft Ignite 2017, unfortunately I am not in Orlando but rather following Ignite from home. Some of the main themes were:

 

But for me, the news around Microsoft Teams were most interesting:



Now I do not agree with the headlines of the articles below, I like to use the quote "The Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated." The way I see it Microsoft is not "killing", "retiring", "ending" or "replacing" anything, Microsoft is simply adding cool tools to the toolbox of Unified Communications.