Monday, August 31, 2015

Asset Library or Video Portal for O365 videos?

Video is one of the most powerful mediums of communication. Office 365 Video provides organizations with a secure, company-wide destination for posting, sharing and discovering video content. From onboarding new employees, to distributing a CEO message company wide, to community contributions, video is now a first-class citizen to power and enrich your internal communications.
With a beautiful user interface and intuitive content management options, Office 365 Video is designed to meet the requirements of IT and win the hearts and minds of users. Powered by Azure Media Services—the same service used during the Olympics (6,000 plus hours of video in 18 days)—Office 365 Video benefits from adaptive smooth streaming technology optimizing video playback for the device it’s being viewed on. It, too, leverages Yammer and the Office Graph to deliver a social, personalized experience within Office 365. 
Recently we have a customer who requested to build a O365 site to manage the videos. My first impression is to host the videos on O365 Video Portal. However, the application requires that end users would be able to download the videos. The O365 Video Portal does not provide this “simple” function and we have to evaluate O365 Asset Library for Videos. Both approaches have pros and cons and could not be used for certain situation. I’m think to summarize here for future reference.
The pros of O365 Video Portal: 
  • Simplicity
  • Discoverability and share’ability with search and Office Delve
  • Social integration with Yammer
  • mobile ready
  • built-in security and easy to manage
  • Embed feature and share feature


The cons of O365 Video Portal:
  • No download link for video
  • Not easy to integrate with workflows to manage videos 

The pros of O365 Asset Library for Videos:
  • Discoverability with search
  • Simplicity to integrate with SharePoint other features like workflow and retention policy
  • Built-in security and easy to manage
  • Embed feature and share feature
  • Download feature
  • Flexibility to use different thumbnail 


The cons of O365 Asset Library for Videos:
  • No default thumbnail and you need to create a one
  • Not as easy as video to integrate with Office Delve
  • Not sure it’s leverage the Azure Media Services
Now it's clear you have to use O365 Asset Library for Videos if you need to provide the video download functions. We have provided the feedback to Microsoft and hope this function would be provided in the near future.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Major issues for SharePoint-Exchange photo sync

As Microsoft suggested, we could leverage the high-resolution photos available in Exchange 2013 through SharePoint-Exchange photo sync feature. However, after we evaluated the architecture and implementation, we identified several major issues that you should serious consider before moving to production.

Here is the architecture and process explain by Jens from Microsoft.

SharePoint Server 2013 maintains a library of User Photos, just like in SharePoint Server 2010. When SharePoint-Exchange photo sync is enabled, SharePoint's local photo store becomes a cache, and SharePoint Server 2013 treats Exchange 2013 as the master photo store. SharePoint-Exchange photo sync is not a regular sync job that runs on a recurring cycle. Instead, SharePoint Server 2013 requests photos from Exchange 2013 automatically when a user performs an operation that causes a request for their own photo (for example, browsing to their own user profile page). That means that the user needs to have requested his/her own photo, before other users will be able to see it.


When a user with a valid Exchange 2013 mailbox attempts to change their profile photo, SharePoint Server 2013 will launch the Outlook 2013 Web App photo upload dialog.


Here are the main issues from this architecture and implementation.

1. Users need to have a mysite in order to sync the pictures from exchange. This is not valid for some companies. In our case, we have over 31,000 employees and around 10,000 of them have mysite. Most of the VPs and CEO will not have mysite. In another word, there will be significant number of missing pictures by this approach.

2. During picture load, a user has to perform an operation that causes a request for their own photo (for example, browsing to their own user profile page). That means that the user needs to have requested his/her own photo, before other users will be able to see it.

3. During picture update, since SharePoint-Exchange photo sync is not a regular sync job that runs on a recurring cycle,  users' picture will not be updated until users request it by browsing the mysite as described in issue #2.



4. There is also issue some users could not get pictures even browsing the mysite. we are working with Microsoft but have not find the solution.

These are some additional you can implement to workaround these issues. However, the cost and maintainability might lead us to a different approach that we had  implemented on SharePoint 2007. The approach is to write a program in either Powershell or C# to pull
high-resolution photos available in external system directly to SharePoint.

If you have any better solution, please share.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How to get Tenant ID for the O365 tenant?



When we start the Office 365 Management APIs preview program, it requires us to send the Tenant ID for the O365 so it could be enabled. Depends on whether you are O365 adminstrator, developer, site owner, or end user, there are different options for your reference.


1. Use O365 Powershell list below to query tenant information. You could refer other blog to retrieve details for your tenant. This is useful for O365 administrator.

Get-MsolPartnerContract -DomainName <domainname.onmicrosoft.com> | Select-Object -TenantId


2. Use Azure Powershell to list tenant ID. You could refer this blog.

Add-AzureAccount


Get-AzureSubscription -Current



3. Use O365 site to retrieve Tenant ID. This is useful for O365 site owners and end users.

Navigate to your Site Settings then "Site App Permissions" and inside there will be listed an App Identifier that will include you Tenant ID. Here you can see the Tenant ID is listed for each app. Everything after the "@" sign will be your tenant ID.






3. Use Azure AD portal retrieve Tenant ID. This is useful for O365 administrator and O365 developers.

Login to the Azure AD Portal, drill down and click “ACTIVE DIRECTORY” and click the name of the company. Copy the ID from the URL.

https://manage.windowsazure.com/teamtelstra.onmicrosoft.com#Workspaces/ActiveDirectoryExtension/Directory/<Tenant ID>/directoryQuickStart