When it comes to Office 365 in virtual environments, enabling critical application functionality, such as, Outlook cached exchange mode (OST/PST), Outlook search, OneDrive for Business sync, and Skype for Business global address list (GAL), is just as important as ensuring a pristine and optimized end user experience. FSLogix Office 365 Containers encapsulate these vital aspects to enable a successful Office 365 deployment/implementation within the enterprise organization. No wonder Microsoft MVPs and MCSEs are making a lot of noise surrounding Office 365 Containers and how much value it brings to the table.
Here are the top 5 ways Microsoft MVPs are using FSLogix Office 365 Containers
Microsoft MVP, Freek Berson, outlines the challenges and available options for OneDrive for Business Sync and goes on to state that for "...many years, users have been provided access to a Home Drive, a space where they can store personal data and files. Typically, this was a drive mapping (most of the time mapped as the H: drive) pointing to a share on a file server. With Office 365, users have access to OneDrive for Business. The same space where they can store personal data and files, this time however hosted in the Cloud and accessible on any device at any time."
-Freek's breakdown of OneDrive for Business and FSLogix™ Office 365 Container
The good: A very small yet very powerful tool with a small footprint that makes the life of an end user and administrator much easier. 3 main points of this solution:
* True Cached Exchange Mode
Providing what they call OST containerization, allowing Outlook to function and perform as if locally installed on a high performance virtual workspace session
* Outlook Real-Time Search
This enables inbox and personal folder search to work as designed with maximum performance
* OneDrive and OneDrive for Business
This roams OneDrive (for Business) user data seamlessly without the need to resync at each logon.
Check out Freek's full article HERE to understand the advantages and disadvantages of various options and why FSLogix Office 365 Containers is "...clearly the winner providing both the full OneDrive for Business Sync options users expect, without the need for a complex software suite or application back end."
Microsoft MVP, Theresa Miller, recently took a look at a real world example of an FSLogix customer dilemma about solving a problem with large address book latencies in VDI and Skype for Business.
"Essentially the problem is that the Skype address book would download every time a user opened Skype for Business which was very, very slow. A huge problem for the end-user just trying to do their job. The customer is committed to their non-persistent VDI configuration due to the benefits of this design, but needs a resolution to make this tolerable to its business users."
The ultimate question became, "how do you solve a problem where a 180,000-seat enterprise with a 2.8 GB Skype for Business address list must cache every single time it’s opened in a non-persistent VDI?"
"With FSLogix, the Skype address book is committed one time, then FSLogix reconnects to the user VHD container with the existing GAL in place."
This all ensures a better user experience leading an impressed Theresa to exclaim, "Overall, Very Nice!"
Microsoft MVP, Aaron Parker, was surprised to find out that VMware's recently released white paper detailing Best Practices for Delivering Microsoft Office 365 in VMware Horizon 7 with Published Applications recommended two critical aspects of Office 365 that VMware's "own add-on products to Horizon - recommendations for Outlook cached-mode and OneDrive for Business" fail to address.
Aaron points out that "the recommendation by VMware in their white paper, follows Microsoft’s recommendation to place OST files on a network share. In practice, this doesn’t always perform well and often results in corrupted OST files."
Ultimately, Aaron concludes that FSLogix Office 365 Containers and Profile Containers are the key enabling solutions for Outlook cached mode and OneDrive for Business. "With these solutions you can provide users with a dependable, performant and native user experience for Outlook and OneDrive for Business increasing user experience and productivity. Additionally you can even enable Windows Search under Horizon RDS to enable the last piece of the puzzle. Imagine being able to give users a local PC experience for their applications with the great remote desktop performance that Horizon provides – whether that’s on-premises with Horizon or in the cloud with Horizon Cloud."
Microsoft MCSE, Christiaan Brinkhoff, recently wrote, "at this moment, Microsoft does not provide any official solution yet to successfully configure OneDrive on a non-persistent VDI or SBC environment like XenDesktop or XenApp. Because of this reason, many system administrators blocked this feature, otherwise it can turn into a disaster. Re-sync at every logon can cause bandwidth and server CPU and storage consumption problems." He went on to exclaim that, "This all changes now! You are now able to roam user data without the need to resync at each logon!"
What Christiaan discovered is that FSLogix Office 365 Container "...creates an OneDrive folder and redirect/mounts the standard users OneDrive profile folder (AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive) to that specific folder in the VHD(x) mounting location. The Operating System will think that the folder is local, but in reality it is mounted to the VHD location. Pretty cool and simple!"
In a recent WilkyIT blog post, Microsoft MCSE, David Wilkerson, addresses the problems, risks, and solutions for enabling Office 365 on shared desktops/VDI. One of the primarily challenges arises with Outlook's cached exchange mode, "...Office 365 re-introduces a previous headache in outlook around OST files and at the same time provides a performance aware solution for microsoft’s cloud based storage (OneDrive for Business)."
WilkyIT sums up FSLogix Office 365 Containers: "Essentially it is a redirection of the key Office 365 Folders using File System Filter drivers and mount point to a dedicated user VHD/VHDX. It utilises a single SMB connection to the VHD/VHDX instead of the the usually overly chatty OST in LAN/WAN. FSLogix translates file based actions into streaming data significantly reducing the read/writes required."
The MVPs and MCSEs have spoken, so you don't have to take our word for it. If you'd like to learn more check out each one of their well crafted articles for a deeper dive into the technical aspects of how they're implementing FSLogix Office 365 Containers to enable functionality and optimize user experience.