Thursday, November 30, 2017

Office 365 Monitoring Done Right – NiCE Active O365 MP

Office 365 is a great example of a full blown SaaS (Software as a Service) offering. The cloud provider (in this case Microsoft) provides and manages all the related services (Exchange, Skype for Business, SharePoint etc etc), the end user consumes it.

So one could state: ‘Why should I monitor it? After all, Microsoft takes care of it already, so no need to do the same job twice.

However, in real life things are a bit more complex. For instance, many companies use Office 365 in a hybrid scenario. In cases like that, there are on-premise Exchange servers still up & running, deeply integrated with Office 365. Wouldn’t it be nice to have this ‘single pane of glass’, completely covering your hybrid scenario?

But even when you don’t have a hybrid scenario, additional monitoring is still required, because:

  • Office 365 has SLAs to meet, like any other cloud service offering. But how do you know that without proper monitoring?
  • Even though the IT department consumes Office 365 like the end users they service, it makes them look bad when an end user has to tell them something has broken, while the Office 365 admin portal tells them all is okay. What or whom to believe?
  • When an end user can’t obtain an Office 365 license, they can’t use Office 365. So the Office 365 license pool requires additional attention.
  • Reports are a hard requirement, in order to know whether the SLAs are met, how many users are consuming Office 365, how many mailbox are migrated to Office 365 and the lot.

Okay, I am convinced. But what tools do I use?
For starters there is the Office 365 Service Health Dashboard, part of Microsoft’s Office 365 offering. Every company using Office 365 has access to it (admin access required). However, this dashboard is limited in it’s functionality. For instance, it doesn’t provide reports, nor covers it hybrid scenario’s. And many times it states all is okay, while end users can’t access Office 365, because somewhere down the chain is an issue.

When running SCOM, there is also Microsoft’s Office 365 MP. However, this MP is flawed from the beginning, and doesn’t deliver any added value. Instead it creates a lot of noise, since it relays all the information present in the O365 Service Health Dashboard. Nothing about your on-premise Exchange environment to be found here…

In order to enrich this MP, the community has provided the Office 365 Supplemental Management Pack V1. This MP adds additional monitoring for the mail flow and verifies whether a user can obtain an O365 license. But when you’ve a hybrid Exchange environment, this MP won’t help you either here…

On top of it for serious SLA monitoring, reports are a hard requirement. And both MPs don’t deliver here. So there is still a requirement for a MP which covers it ALL: hybrid environments, usable reports

Meet the NiCE Active O365 MP
Gladly, a new MP is about to arrive. NiCE IT Management Solutions is about to launch the NiCE Active O365 Management Pack for SCOM! First they will launch the BETA program for it, for which you can subscribe for free. This allows your organization to test drive this MP, in order to see whether this MP delivers.

Some features of this MP:

  • Hybrid approach: It collects & processes data from both Exchange online and on-prem (2010/2013/2016);
  • Comprehensive discovery of hybrid Office 365 deployments;
  • Active probing for user verification;
  • Detailed reports on license usage, SLAs, Cloud adoption & mailbox migrations.

For hybrid scenario’s it monitors:

  • Calendar synchronization between Exchange on-prem and Exchange online mailboxes;
  • Mail flow between servers in different datacenters;
  • Mailbox migrations.

So now there is finally a solution out there, enabling complete coverage of Office 365 monitoring, SLAs and hybrid scenarios included!

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