Thursday, December 28, 2017

Office 365 Multi-Geo

Microsoft announced Multi-Geo capabilities in Office 365, a new feature in Office 365 which helps multinational customers that have offices around the world and need to store their employee data in specific regions to meet their data residency requirements. It is mainly for customers which have the legal, regional or corporate data residency needs the necessitate that their user's data be stored at rest in specific geographical regions.

                                                               Image courtesy of Microsoft

Multi-Geo enables a single Office 365 tenant to span across multiple Office 365 data center geographic and gives customers the ability  to store their Exchange and OneDrive data, at-rest, on a per-user basis, in their chosen Geos.

                                                                 Image courtesy of Microsoft

As you know lot of changes made on Exchange 2013 (Exchange 2016) such as multi-geo support global front-end service and single namespaces , auto-discovery of mailbox location etc.that's why Microsoft first focusing Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint.

Difference between Single-Geo and Multi-Geo Office 365 

Office 365 Single-Geo

Office 365 Single-Geo or regular tenant  Azure AD account information synchronizes with the Exchange Online account forest which is local to a region, mailbox data is stored in the Exchange Online resource forest which is also local to a region. This is same kind of the Exchange multi-national organization in Exchange on premises.
                                                           Image courtesy of Microsoft

Office 365 Multi-Geo

When we enabled the Multi-Geo tenant will be hosted in an Exchange Online resource forest for that Geo only. The account will be hosted in cross region account forest which is spans multi geos so that each resource forest can communication direct to Active Directory in local, it will help to reduce the networking issues.
                                                                     Image courtesy of Microsoft

Administration Changes for Multi-Geo

When we first enable the Multi-Geo, there is no changes to location and Microsoft never allow move user data automatically between the regions. We have  to enable the region for our tenant that allow the users data to reside in and each user account is configure with the preferred data location (PDL), if there is no preferred data location specified for user account than default to the geo where we first created the tenant.
                                                              Image courtesy of Microsoft

if the preferred data location different to the Geo where the user's data is currently located, Microsoft will work to move the mailbox and OnDrive data to preferred location.
Preferred Data Location attribute is available in Azure AD connect V1.1.524.0 or greater for sync PDL data from on-premises to Office 365. We can select the custom attribute 1-15

User Experience-Multi-Geo

Users are not interrupted by migration of data from one geo to another. A single GAL is available to users in Outlook for entire organization.

Multi-Geo OneDrive Scenario

  • Unblock global roll out of OneDrives
  • Manage OneDrives per Geo
  • Global Office 365 Portal Center 
  • Global People Picker
  • Shared-With-Me from all geos
  • Office, NGSC clients Multi-Geo ready

                                                  Image courtesy of Microsoft

Multi-Geo Share Point Scenario

  • Manage sites and configs per Geo
  • Sharing policies per Geo
  • Easily identifiable unique URL per Geo
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies per Site
  • Unified sites discovery across Geos 
  • Aggregated News from across Geos
  • SharePoint Mobile is Multi-Geo aware 
  • Single aggregated search results from across Geo
  • Search indexes follow the content
  • Centralized enterprise managed metadata

                                                     Image courtesy of Microsoft

Building on Existing Exchange Online Capabilities

Global from end service and single namespace
  Service access via

Auto discovery of mailbox location
  Outlook automatically connects to mailbox

Single view of tenant configuration
   Recipient information and tenant configuration stored in Exchange directory.

Common Concepts for Admin- Office 365 Multi-Geo

   Tenant level property that specifies the allowed geos for Office 365 applications
    User-level property specifying the location of Mailbox and OneDrive.
    Configurable using remote PowerShell for cloud-only identities
Azure AD Connect tool
   use this tool to configure PreferredDataLocation on synchronized user objects

Enable Multi-Geo

Enable multi-geo is three simple steps

  • Enable your Office 365 tenant for Multi-Geo.
  • Add your satellite locations.
  • Configure your user accounts for the appropriate location.


Set the Multi-Geo for a particular services:
Set-MsolCompanyMultiNationalEnabled -ServiceType "Servicetype" -Enable $true

Adds additional Geos for particular Office 365 services
Set-MsolCompanyAllowedDataLocations -ServiceType "Servicetype" -Location "RegionCode"

Display Multi-Geo configuration

Network Considaration

Multi-Geo will certainly solve data sovereignty issues for some companies, but it will never give a poor internal network sparkling performance. 

Office 365 License

Licensing is also an unanswered question. I fully expect Multi-Geo to come at an additional cost to the existing Office 365 licenses.

Microsoft plan to make Multi-Geo generally available for Exchange Online and OneDrive in the first half of calendar year 2018.

There are lot of other services still in unclear such as Team, Office 365 groups whether they are same function as other services in Multi-Geo office 365.

References :

Thank you!

Happy Learning!