Office 365 - How Difficult it is to Make it Look This Easy

Posted by Kevin Goodman on Aug 16, 2016 9:51:27 AM

“You don’t know how difficult it is to make it look this easy.”

We’ve been very pleased with the response to our Office 365 containers. Office 365 is Microsoft’s fastest growing product ever. Office 365 is on a $4.4B run-rate and 70% of Fortune 500 companies have purchased Office 365 in the last 12 months (source:Microsoft).

But, did you know that without FSLogix, the Office 365 suite doesn’t roam correctly in XenApp and XenDesktop non-persistent? You read that right: By default, Outlook and OneDrive for Business do not roam correctly. OneDrive for Business is not supported in RDSH / XenApp environments and Outlook if it is in Cached Exchange Mode has issues in both RDSH / XenApp and non-persistent XenDesktop. (Check out this MS-Ignite session discussing this issue and recommending FSLogix)

Fortunately, the FSLogix Office 365 Container solves all of these issues and many more. We designed it to be simple to install and configure. So simple in fact, that it would appear to some that recreating our solution can be done with “off the shelf” alternatives. For example, our friends at Citrix have created a Deployment Guide for XenApp and XenDesktop. In the guide it suggests that you can store your users’ .OST files on the network, however, it only recommends caching 3 months worth of emails.

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FSLogix Office 365 Container customers have OST files in the 50GB range – far more than 3 months worth of email. We’ve also seen a prescriptive approach on social media that enables the user’s profile to reside in a VHDx and claims to support large OST/PST files. But just supporting large OST/PST files isn’t enough. You also have to support Enhanced Protected Mode and Low Integrity Files.

Low Integrity Files are not supported across junctions by default. When a VHDx is attached at specific directory location (such as c:\users\%USERNAME% instead of a drive letter) it does so via a junction. Go here to learn more, but basically junctions are advanced shortcuts. FSLogix Office 365 Containers have a feature that enables Low Integrity Files to work across junctions. We implement this feature by attaching the VHDx in kernel mode as the User. Just attaching a .VHDx via a service will attach the VHDx as the Computer Object. If in your organization your user’s are the owner of their profiles you will want a system that connects as the User. Any other system will be less secure.

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Office 365 takes this a step further with Protected View. Protected View is a security feature of Office 365 meant to protect against Zero Day attacks.

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This is just one example I can come up with on why it is not commercially viable to try to resurrect out-dated technology for today’s uses.

Here’s another: junctions also interfere with the One Drive for Business syncing mechanism.  Without FSLogix, One Drive for Business doesn’t correctly sync the user’s files. This extra, patent-pending “behind the scenes” work enables FSLogix to support One Drive for Business on both XenApp and XenDesktop.

There is more, such as roaming Search indexing on VDI and client side caching to ameliorate network blips, but hopefully you get the idea. (We don’t want to document all of our features and educate our competitors and their Potemkin solutions). Indeed, FSLogix Office 365 Container works today with your existing UEM solution. If you have roaming profiles, UPM or a third party solution the FSLogix Office 365 container will peacefully coexist allowing you to start supporting Office 365 immediately.

The Bottom Line

We have a saying at FSLogix, “If it was easy everybody would be doing it.”  We’re committed to solving and supporting solutions to allow your organization to take full advantage of the latest strategic trends in enterprise computing, like moving to Office 365, but we don’t believe you should have to risk your organizations security, productivity, or up-time to do so.

 

Kevin Goodman, August 2016

Topics: Office 365, Cached Exchance Mode, Outlook, RDSH, XenApp, XenDesktop

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