Retiring SharePoint Online/Office 365 Features

A few features of SharePoint Online in Office 365 have recently been retired (rather abruptly) or are slated to go in the next year.

First up, Tags & Notes. In a support article titled SharePoint Online Tags & Notes feature retired on the Office support site you can learn all about what this means and potential downstream impacts. Microsoft’s advice? Use Yammer.

Here’s what we recommend as an alternative to Tags & Notes:

Next up, we have SharePoint Online and Task synchronisation going the way of the dodo. Over on the MS support site, KB 2998485 - The “Tasks” link and “Sync to Outlook” button are missing from a personal site in SharePoint Online informs us that the Tasks option will be disappearing from SharePoint Online in the very near future. Microsoft’s advice? Stop syncing Tasks to Outlook.

If you’re currently syncing a SharePoint tasks list to Microsoft Outlook, tasks will continue to sync for approximately one year following this announcement. The personal Tasks page will also continue to be available for one year. After that time, this functionality will be removed and will no longer be available or supported.

Azure Active Directory Sync Goes GA

Azure Active Directory Sync (AADSync) has gone GA! This is great and opens up a number of new scenarios that were previously unavailable with DirSync.

Before you all go and hop on the AADSync train though, be mindful of it’s current limitations. The Directory Integration Tools Feature Comparison entry on TechNet describes this in detail. One of the major features still missing is Password Hash Sync, so if you deploy AADSync today, you’ll have to stick with Federated SSO.

Changing your Network Location with PowerShell

You’re having one of those days. Remote Desktop isn’t working. The Windows Firewall is constantly in your way. You hop in to the Network and Sharing Center and there it is, your network adapter staring you down with a Public network category. As Windows makes this a complete pain in the bum to change, off to PowerShell we go.

  1. Open a PowerShell prompt as an Administrator.
  2. Run Get-NetConnectionProfile to retrieve a list of all of the current network connections. Take note of the InterfaceIndex for the connection you’d like to update.
  3. With your InterfaceIndex in hand, run Set-NetConnectionProfile and pass in the InterfaceIndex and the desired NetworkCategory. [e.g. Set-NetConnectionProfile -InterfaceIndex 11 -NetworkCategory Private]
  4. Rejoice in your network connection that is now in the right category.

Checklist - Moving Existing Servers to Azure

When you’re preparing to move existing workloads to Azure (lift & shift with IaaS), it is important to remember a few things when converting your servers to a compatible format.

Outside of any disk conversions (vmdk to vhd/vhdx to vhd), here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Convert existing disks to IDE based disks (no iSCSI)
  • Uninstall any 3rd party guest tools (e.g. VMware Tools)
  • Ensure the any associated disks are less than 1023GB
  • Ensure the server has only one Network Interface
  • Set Network interface to DHCP and remove any static bindings
  • Remove and/or merge existing snapshots
  • Windows Servers
    • Enable Remote Desktop
    • Enable the DHCP Client service
  • Linux Servers

I like to keep this list handy as a quick checklist and reality check whilst converting to avoid any surprises later.