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Enterprise Office 365 Primer

Level 3
Employee Accredited

As Microsoft continues with their aggressive proliferation of Office 365, we need to have a good grasp of what we are up against.  I will have a series of emails that will explore the many FUD that is propagated by Microsoft, the actual facts that dispels the FUD, and how Enterprise features/functions make it “better” for our customers.


FUD #1: Large or unlimited mailboxes is better

Storage Management was a necessity with an on-premise Exchange server.  But Microsoft is touting how nice it would be to give end-users large mailboxes where the infrastructure is no longer administered by customer.  The amount of mailbox storage available is determined by the mailbox type and the user’s subscription license. Currently, Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 Business Premium, and Office 365 Enterprise E1 plans provide the user with 50 GBs of total storage, which they can apportion across their primary mailbox and In-Place Archive.  As such, the size of their In-Place Archive can’t exceed 50 GB.  The more expensive Office 365 Enterprise E3 and Office 365 Enterprise E4 plans provide the user with 50 GBs of storage in the primary mailbox, plus unlimited storage in the In-Place Archive.  Saying the archive is unlimited isn’t quite true. As an official matter, there is no size limit, but as a practical matter, the archive is soft- limited to 100 GB.  If a user reaches this quota, a call to Office 365 support is required to ask for a quota increase.  Administrators can’t increase or decrease this soft limit.


Also, Microsoft will say users will have a much better experience because all their messages will be available without any shortcuts, stubs, or the need to go to another interface.  But the fact is a large Outlook OST file is a nightmare to use.  If anyone ever attempted to perform a search (or even browse through a large Outlook mailbox, where all the messages are cached [OST]), they will immediately notice the lag in performance.  Furthermore, Outlook search will not search through attachments or even the attachment filename.  End users will likely want to use form-based search functionality in Outlook or OWA to find messages in their In-Place Archives.  However, when searching the entire mailbox in Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and OWA, search results include the users' primary mailbox and In-Place Archive.  But with Outlook 2007, the user must perform separate searches for items in the primary mailbox and items in the In-Place Archive.  Outlook 2007 users must have the Office 2007 Cumulative Update for February 2011 to access the In-Place Archive. Outlook 2011 for Mac and previous versions of the Mac client do not include support for accessing the In-Place Archive.  To work around this, end users can use OWA.  Slow search, incomplete search, and Outlook specific version features does not sound like the end-user is getting a better experience.


Enterprise allows end-users to search not just the email message, but the attachment file name as well as the actual text of the attachment.  With the ability of faceted search results in Enterprise Vault, end-users can quickly locate information using an intuitive interface and in an expeditious manner.  Furthermore, end-users can search for non-Office 365 content if the data has been archived within the Enterprise repository; these data includes: Salesforce Chatter, Instant Messages (ie, Jabber, etc.), files from a Enterprise Account, etc.  Whether the users are accessing their archive within Outlook or a web-browser, it is the same interface regardless of the Outlook client version or the browser.


Stay tune for Office 365 FUD #2.