The first thing a company needs to consider is that the application hosting location will change from being either local, or centralised within their datacentre, to being an external cloud-hosted application. This means that the business needs to think about how the new traffic flows will traverse the network to get from the end-user device to the cloud by the quickest and most effective route. Using the default 0365 access model, the internet, you are effectively routing all your traffic via your existing internet access provision as opposed to any type of private connectivity.
There is also another significant piece of analysis that needs to take place around the understanding of the user population and how moving to O365 might change the way these users actually consume these applications. Profiling of the user base to understand how those services are going to be consumed in the new world is very important.
The Network Collective has seen a number of profiles being created. These may range from:
- A standard user who has a desktop and their day to day job is just to send emails and do more admin type of work. Their profile has essentially remained the same, and they access email in the same way that they accessed it before.
- A user that is maybe travelling quite a lot and has maybe three or four different devices, (including a laptop, desktop, and mobile). They need to access the same data securely on all of those devices at any given time. Therefore that profile change and the required access needs to be thought about, security needs to be considered, performance capacity needs to be factored in too, in order for those people to be able to access those services from wherever they are.
You would make sure that you understand your user profiles, and then understand your business requirements for the usage of Office 365 and how O365 is going to be used across the network.
Another point around ‘readiness’ is to consider the location of users. The way Microsoft hosts O365 is on a tenancy style basis, with locations all around the Globe from which they are able to host these applications. This is fine but the problem, particularly for global companies, is that if you want to be able to collaborate globally and share Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive functionality globally, you have to put all the services into one tenant. For example, a European company with global sites, and users in Australia and Brazil would effectively have to traverse the global internet to be able to access those services. Therefore, those users moving from a localised instance of Exchange in the current world to a cloud-based Exchange service in Amsterdam or Dublin(Microsoft EU Tenant), may see a performance impact as the actual network round trip time to get from Australia to Dublin is significant.
This is one of the big issues that TNC sees in O365 WAN deployments. We see with a number of customers it is preventing them from implementing a full global deployment of O365. If you are a European company or a UK company then there are generally no issues but if you are a global company, there are potentially some challenges once you get beyond the working parameters of approx’ 250/300 milliseconds of access to the Amsterdam or Dublin datacentres (or wherever the nearest registered tenant is for the organisation). That is therefore another key consideration for ‘Readiness’ – understanding where the physical locations are and then understanding where your tenants are – where the actual data and applications are going to be hosted, and making sure that the parameters are not breached, to be able to access the service and it be performing in an optimal manner.