Office 365: Managing your users through PowerShell

If you’re like me, then you tend to find yourself wanting to automate as much as possible, or at least be able to work with sets of data in a way that quickly allows you to get to the root of an issue rather than clicking through endless screens of information.

In case you were curious, Office 365 makes use of Azure Active Directory behind the scenes for user managment. As Azure Active Directory is an enterprise resource for identity management for cloud hosted applications, Microsoft has gone to great length to create several interfaces to it. Granted, I could just use a REST call through the Microsoft Graph API to create or delete a user through a POST command, but I can also use PowerShell from a Windows based device.

For user management, our first step is to download the appropriate PowerShell Module.  This can be done simply by installing the module through PowerShell running

install-module -name azuread

This will install the PowerShell module specifically for Azure AD and allow you to manage your users. From there before you can make any changes to your user base you’ll need to authenticate. An easy way to do this is as follows:

$creds = get-credential -credential
connect-azure-ad -credential $creds

From there you can parse your users and make modifications to your hearts desire. Running “Get-AzureADUser” enumerates all user objects.  Load it into an array and work with the users as you wish.

Nevertheless, for more on this topic, check out the Microsoft Support docs over at:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/enterprise/powershell/connect-to-office-365-powershell

https://www.powershellgallery.com/packages/AzureAD/2.0.1.3

SharePoint MVP Experts AMA

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s an Ask Me Anything SharePoint MVPs Expert Chat taking place on October 29th at 1 PM EST. The panel consists of SharePoint MVPs across the spectrum (and the world for that matter).

So what’s that mean? If you’re curious about SharePoint 2010 or 2013 or perhaps SharePoint Online or the greater Office 365 platform, come on over and ask a question. You’ll just need to have a Reddit account before hand so that you can be ready to ask questions. More information on the location will be available on the 29th in the SharePoint subreddit – /r/sharepoint

Who all will be there you ask?
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Patch Tuesday – January 2014

A few quick bits of information for today that might be of interest to those of you working with the Microsoft Stack.

If you dig into the KB2916605, it’s labelled as important, not critical but probably something you’ll still want to address. This impacts impacts Microsoft Word across several versions as well as the Word Automation Services and Office Web Apps of SharePoint 2010 and 2013.

Also new today, Power BI is now available for purchase for your Office 365 SharePoint Online tenants. If you have an E3/E4 subscription you’ll see a heft discount.

This past weekend I mentioned during a presentation on getting started with Office 365 that there are service updates that are pushed regularly. To get more information as to what’s being pushed each month, check out the Services Updates for Office 365 for enterprises, mid-size businesses and Education (English) here:

And if you’re interested in learning more pertaining to the Office 365 Service Upgrades that are ongoing for the Enterprise, more information is available here:

Looking for the latest and greatest when it comes to new content for SharePoint 2013?

Nothing really of note, the last update was back on 16 December 2013 with:

  • Deactivated controls in SharePoint Designer 2013 (new)
  • The building blocks of SharePoint hybrid (new)
  • Set-SPAuthenticationRealm (updated)

If you’re looking for updates for MSDN related SharePoint articles, you can find that content here – New and updated content for SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 and Windows Server 2012

I’m curious but what is the deal with Microsoft requiring that you contact PSS to get one of the software requirements for running SharePoint 2013 on Windows Server 2012.

If you notice, in the Hardware and Software Requirements document on TechNet for SharePoint 2013 (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485.aspx) you’ll notice that there’s a hot fix required for a Race Condition issue for SharePoint 2013 on Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012.

RaceCondition

Funny enough, if you go to the KB article link referenced, you get (2765317), you’ll notice the following text:

Hotfix Information

A supported hotfix is now available from Microsoft. However, it is intended to correct only the problem that this article describes. Apply it only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem.

To resolve this problem, contact Microsoft Customer Support Services to obtain the hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Support Services telephone numbers and information about support costs, go to the following Microsoft website:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support

So if I’m Microsoft, and I’m looking to get more and more market share moved over to Windows Server 2012, why in the world would I not make this pre-requisite available?

Oddly enough though, the same fix for Windows Server 2008 / 2008 R2 (2759112) lists the exact same text.

So I guess we have to call PSS to get the fix before we can start experimenting with SharePoint 2013 in a non-Microsoft hosted environment (I’m guessing that the Azure pre-baked bits already have this but haven’t double checked).

Bottom line, not cool that there’s an extra call involved.

Visual Studio 2010 Exam Retirement Dates

So you’re still catching up on getting certified on Microsoft technologies that your clients and customers are using … may want to consider either switching over to ludicrous speed or just skipping ahead to the next iteration of Visual Studio exams.

Why praytell? Well Microsoft is retiring the exams on 31 July 2013. They (Microsoft) may consider pushing the exam retirement date, but for now that’s when they’re going bye bye.

So what exams does this apply to?

  • 70-511: TS: Windows Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • 70-513: TS: Windows Communication Foundation Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • 70-515: TS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • 70-516: TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • 70-518: Pro: Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • 70-519: Pro: Designing and Developing Web Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4

For more information on this topic, check out the Born to Learn blog yonder at: Update on Visual Studio 2010 Exam Retirement Dates

Office 365 Dedicated – Content Migration

Interestingly enough, but if you’re using SharePoint Online in Office 365 in a dedicated environment there are opportunities for content migration from onPrem to the cloud by providing copies of content databases to Microsoft. Or at least you used to have that option as described in this document:

SharePoint Online Content Migration Policy – Office 365 Dedicated Plans – January 2013 – http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/4/0/04054360-DC5E-4AB8-B3AB-6BF01BB3946C/SharePoint%20Online%20Content%20Migration%20Policy_Office%20365%20Dedicated%20Plans_Jan%202013.docx

If you’re looking to have a backup copy of your data perhaps or looking to move off of Office 365 Dedicated, the cut off for having content databases pushed out of Microsoft’s system is 15 April 2013 as stated in the documentation:

Starting April 15, 2013, Microsoft will no longer process outbound migrations for SharePoint Online dedicated plan customers. Outbound migrations will instead be accomplished by third-party independent software vendor (ISV) solutions, just like Inbound migrations are today.

Microsoft states that they are doing this for a number of reasons to include:

ISVs provide an effective solution for migrating content out of your SharePoint Online farm, just like for inbound migrations. Using an ISV solution has the following benefits:

  • Reduces technical requirements and complexity involved in successfully attaching the data to an on-premises SharePoint farm.
  • Frees up customer change windows for deployment of configuration changes and custom solutions.
  • Removes the risk and inconvenience of a USB drive shipment.

For information about using ISV solutions for content migration, see the SharePoint Online Content Migration by Third-Party Solutions Policy document, available to customers on the Customer Extranet site.

Overall the document is an interesting read regarding the SharePoint Online 2010 Dedicated service offering that is a component of Office 365 and outbound data migrations. Just remember however that you do have an impending deadline in April if you wish to utilize Microsoft’s outbound data migration service.