Upgrading Office 365 to Wave 15: My support experience to date

One of the great promises held out by cloud-based services is that you do not have to worry about software upgrades and other common maintenance operations as the service operators will take care of these mundane operations. In the eyes of the marketing staff, all you have to do is use the service and take advantage of new features as they are “lit up” through software upgrades.

Earlier this year, Microsoft flagged that they were preparing to roll out the Wave 15 products to Office 365 tenants, who do not get to vote about when the upgrade happens. Instead, some process running inside Microsoft decides what date a tenant should be upgraded. So be it, that’s what you get when you buy and download Microsoft office… You give up a lot of control when you sign up for a cloud service and trust that those running the service will do the right thing when upgrade time rolls around. In my case, the chronology of the service upgrade for my tenant domain was as follows:

5 March: received the initial notification proclaiming “We’re upgrading your Office 365 service in 2013”.

Well, I knew that the upgrade was coming, but it was nice to know that soon I would be using the Wave 15 products, especially Exchange 2013.

19 March: another note arrived saying “New features are coming to your Office 365 service soon

Tension building now. I could not wait to use Exchange 2013 within Office 365. And then:

Tremendous! The Wave 15 upgrade is complete - or is it?

Tremendous! The Wave 15 upgrade is complete – or is it?

29 March: yet another note to say that “Your Office 365 service upgrade is done – sign in and explore

Hmm… Not much had changed when I connected to Office 365. At least, not until approximately 18:00 on March 30 when I noticed that the Office 365 admin portal boasted the new Wave 15 branding, even if some errors were reported. However, OWA stubbornly displayed the familiar Wave 14 interface.

Errors reported by the Wave 15 Admin interface

Errors reported by the Wave 15 Admin interface

The next change happened on April 2 when the Office 365 login page was updated to a much more colorful edition. Surely this was a sign that the elusive upgrade had completed? But no, OWA was still connected to Exchange 2010.

5 April: the Office 365 team invite me to “Tell us about your experience with the Office 365 service upgrade

Of course I took the opportunity to provide feedback but could not find the appropriate space to tell Microsoft that whereas they might consider my service to be upgraded, I did not. Several other errors interrupted my attempt to provide feedback so I let the chance lapse. Life is too short to waste time on badly functioning feedback loops.

By now I was worried. Casting aside the mental excuse I had constructed that the migration process must be very complex and simply needed some time to complete fully, I noticed that errors were reported when I attempted to manage either Exchange or SharePoint. OWA on the other hand, continued to work beautifully as did Outlook and ActiveSync. I could therefore have simply ignored the issues but decided that now was the time to engage with Office 365 support.

My support call was logged on April 8. One of the aspects of being a very small consumer of a very large service is that you simply have to wait your turn to receive service. It’s not as if a Microsoft support agent is ready and willing to leap into action immediately, especially when you only have a Plan P subscription. Life is different for larger enterprises that pay considerably more for Office 365, but I suspect only marginally. They might have a local Technical Account Manager (TAM) to shout at when things go wrong, but once support calls enter the black box of Office 365 it’s hard to find out what the real situation is with any issue.

I received a call back on April 9. The agent was perfectly pleasant but possibly used to dealing with people who might not have quite as much experience with Exchange as I have. But then again, first line support staff tend to have to follow a scripted engagement with callers to ensure that all bases are covered. I, on the other hand, knew that the Admin side of Office 365 exhibited all the signs of Wave 15 branding whereas OWA stubbornly remained connected to an Exchange 2010 mailbox server. After 30 minutes or so and after running some PowerShell commands, the fact that the upgrade wasn’t complete was determined to the satisfaction of all concerned. Or at least, enough evidence existed to allow an escalation to the “server team”, who possess a more elevated position in the Office 365 support hierarchy.

For the record, this command proved that the update had not completed:

Get-OrganizationConfig | Format-List Name, Admindisplayversion, IsUpgradingOrganization

Name                    : xxxxx.onmicrosoft.com
AdminDisplayVersion     : 0.10 (
IsUpgradingOrganization : False

As you can see, the AdminDisplayVersion still reports version 14 where an upgraded tenant that runs the Wave 15 products would report something like 15.0.586.12 to indicate version 15. Interestingly, IsUpgradingOrganization is False, which normally means that an Office 365 version upgrade is complete.

To be fair to the Office 365 support agent, I explained that I was an Exchange server MVP and that I also wrote about Exchange on a reasonably frequent basis. This happened after she sent me a set of EHLO blog posts to explain the wonders of Exchange 2013, a topic close to my heart.

The news that something had broken in the tenant domain used by someone who might write about the experience must have filtered upward in the support organization as I was then contacted by the support agent’s manager later on April 9. I was asked whether I was happy with the progress of the support case, to which I replied that not much progress had been seen and I was awaiting developments.

I stayed in that mode until April 18, receiving intermittent messages from my friends in Microsoft Support to say that not much was happening. After ten days of waiting for a resolution, it seemed fair to look for an escalation, so I emailed the support manager to ask for her help to move things along. No response was received, so I emailed again on April 22, a full two weeks since the support case was logged. This elucidated a response and I was told that the server team had decided to escalate the case after a week of contemplating the situation.

Nothing much happened over the following two days, so I emailed the original support manager on April 24 to point out that the escalation seemed to be stuck and that the call was now open for sixteen days and was not helping to improve their call close statistics or customer satisfaction rate.

No one called me over the next two days, so I sent another message on April 26 to ask what was happening. Although my Office 365 tenant domain remained fully functionality from an end-user perspective, the loss of some admin functionality had begun to be a real concern. Microsoft responded to say that their server team was currently swamped with problems (ahem…) but that they would try to get the case moved forward. As I write, three days later, no one has been in contact to communicate the current status for the case.

As an ex-CTO for both Compaq Services and HP Services, I have some awareness of what happens in a support organization. Indeed, I even served some time on a European support team for Digital in the mid-1980s. It seems to me that this case has been poorly managed and that Microsoft should ask:

  • Is their escalation process efficient? Why did their systems fail to escalate the incident automatically to the next level of support after a certain period? Surely their problem tracking systems identify cases that are still open and active after five, ten, or fifteen days?
  • Is their communication with customers effective? Based on my experience, I do not think so. Good communication keeps people in touch and conveys information about progress.
  • Are their support personnel sufficiently well-trained and are their front-line managers aware of the details of the technology that they support? Again, I find fault here. Everyone who I have spoken to has been easy to deal with without ever leaving me with a feeling that they understood the issue and knew what needed to be done to resolve the problem. Cloud systems can only function when they are standardized to a very detailed level. I imagine that this makes support easier than for on-premises systems when implementations are left to the imagination and competence of the local administrators.

I really wanted this migration to work because I have an interest in using some of the Wave 15 functionality. It’s sad that the experience has been so bad. If anyone in Microsoft Support would like to investigate and find out just what happened in this migration epic and perhaps even move the problem forward toward completion, the case number is SRX1202350062ID. After three weeks it would be nice to see a resolution.

Follow Tony @12Knocksinna


About Tony Redmond

Lead author for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook and writer about all aspects of the Office 365 ecosystem.
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128 Responses to Upgrading Office 365 to Wave 15: My support experience to date

  1. John says:

    WOW almost 4 weeks and no answer from O365 support.
    No wonder they are saying Enterprises should NOT move to cloud.
    All these loud marketing sales talk are just BS.

  2. Bob says:

    I had several customers moving back from O365 to Exchange On-Premises.
    People should be careful of believing lots of sales talk for Enterprises.

  3. Patel says:

    WOW Imagine Enterpise need to wait 4 WEEKS for O365 support.
    Enterpises should go Exchange On-Premises.

  4. Andrew Mazurek says:

    Gents if you are moving from the Office 365 consider IBM Domino. Way cheaper and too boot you can dump SharePoint as well.
    I will help for free.

  5. Lee says:

    @ Patel, I agree with you O365 is NOT for Enterprises. Enterprises need prompt support from Exchange On-Premises admins.

    @ Andrew, I had several customers with 10000+ mailboxes moving from Domino to Exchange On-Premises. So Domino is NOT the solution when everyone is moving to Exchange On-Premises for Enterprises.

    • Andrew Mazurek says:


      Is there a particular reason to move from Domino ? The only one I can see is a critical application that only works with Exchange … cannot really find any other good reason.
      I am sorry, missed one – EVERYONE is moving to Exchange, so will we … yes so did all of the companies that dumped BBerry and moved to iPhones … and oops … iOS6 shows up and brings the Almighty Exchange to halt … and so on …
      But MS software is good for us consultants … we don’t need Y2K we have MS.

  6. Adam says:

    I agree with the Gents here 😉
    Enterprises need Exchange On-Premises.
    Wow 4 Weeks wait for Support.

  7. Jan Aarts says:

    Tony is this Office 365 for enterprises that you are subscribed to?

  8. Rohan says:

    Tony , read your blog, I’m an EX MS person and wasn’t encouraged to hear that you have had some less than awesome Support Experience I pinged a couple of Internal MS contacts on your behalf to see if they could redouble their efforts for you. So will be watching with interest on how this goes.

  9. Tom says:

    WOW what a joke is O365 support.
    You got to wait 4 weeks and then write a blog about it then you might get help?
    Best choice folks, stay Exchange On-Premises and get support in 4 minutes LOL

    • Andrew Mazurek says:

      Or if you still on Domino stay with it. No support needed. Simply works.

      • To be fair to Office 365, all of the client-side services worked flawlessly while I had the problem. Users were not affected in any way. The sole issue was at the back end.

      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        Tony I understand. I am on Exchange as well just recently migrated from Domino. What worries me with MS is their “Erratic” somewhat approach to the flagship product. At this time for small company that requires solid messaging Exchange is actually expensive to implement.
        I was really exited to see their efforts with Exchange 2010 but they failed short with simple stuff like replication.
        And please MS please don’t allow any device to manipulate meeting owner – blame is on MS not on Apple or others… meeting ownership is a cornerstone of scheduling. So instead of adding new functionality focus on fundamentals first.

      • Not sure that I’d agree with you that Exchange 2010 failed with replication. The DAG seems like a pretty solid piece of engineering to me and it’s even better (in most respects) in Exchange 2013.

        As to Microsoft’s “erratic” approach, I think they are very consistent. Exchange 2007 was all about on-premises and brought kicking and screaming to the cloud as BPOS; Exchange 2010 was engineered to be much better in the cloud and served as the basis for Exchange Online in Office 365; Exchange 2013 is designed for cloud environments while continuing to provide good support for on-premises. The direction is clear – most engineering is going into cloud-based activities at this point and has been for the last two years (at least).

        Your comment on meeting manipulation is interesting. There’s no doubt that fault existed on both sides. Apple should not have written code in their iOS mail app that hijacked meeting requests and Exchange should not have allowed clients to go outside the boundaries of the ActiveSync specification and make these kinds of changes. The good news here is that both sides are working better and we have better mail apps and a more bulletproofed email server going forward.


      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        I agree that “general” approach for change in Exchange is constant.
        One point here (I am new to the product) is coexistence with previous versions, imho this is when maturity of the product manifests itself. Core of Exchange is maturing just now (slowly), as I can see them going away from a single data store to something more manageable – “single mailbox database” – this will help with database corruption impact, restores and so on – all eggs in one basket is current architecture.
        Let’s say you on 2003 or 2007 and would like to move to 2013 – June 2013 perhaps is the earliest you can – safely. Actually if you on 2003 you have to drive by 2007 … no so nice.
        I will bring the example of Domino (promise to be the last time – I am getting over this):
        I can have mixed versions of servers and clients in Domino and simply upgrade the environment in really “safe” way and replication and “immunity” to WAN issues” are superior.
        Replication in Exchange… hmm let’s say you have a simple WAN (using Internet) and you cannot afford anything better (so you have to deal with latency, round trip and such …). I am hearing that companies have dedicated WANs just for email replication.
        DAGs are very sensitive to this I understand, so you end up with clever configurations, but this requires extra servers ($$$). I look at this from small, medium size organization. Cloud seems to be a good option – again as you have experienced with Office 365 and so did others … maturity not there yet.
        Scheduling … cannot blame Apple (or Android or BBerry) for this – if Exchange would not allow this in the first place (and should not) – it will simply “just not work” on specific device, instead of major mess. But I am afraid that fixing this on Exchange side may have other unknown to me side effects, or anyone with a bit of sanity would have done it already.
        I think that objective here should be in general – customer is what drives MS, not the other way. The only way to accomplish this is with how you spend your money.

      • I agree that co-existence has been a pain in some areas. Not being able to install Exchange 2013 alongside 2010 or 2007 until CU1 appeared is the best example. Others are the version dependencies in things like transport rules or indeed transport itself.

        However, a lot of this is simply the transition of a monolithic on-premises product to deal with the cloud. Exchange 2003 shares a name but that’s about all. The transition since Exchange 2003 has been throughout the product at a fundamental level. You can’t do something like this without causing some bits to break or become more fragile than you would like them to be.

        I don’t think companies have dedicated WANs for email replication. At least, I have never met such a company. I do know companies that dedicate NICs for replication, which is a DAG feature. You might be hearing “network” and assuming WAN. In reality, it is a dedicated replication network between NICs whose IP addresses are not published in DNS, which works very nicely in even the heaviest environment. As to latency, as long as you have 250ms roundtrip, you are good to go for DAGs. I don’t see the need for extra servers unless there is a business requirement or something else driving the choice of those in charge of deployment.

        I actually think that Office 365 is pretty mature. They are going through a big migration right now and problems will occur. But as I pointed out, end users were totally unaware of the issues. And now that Microsoft knows what the problem was, you can bet that it will not happen again.


      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        They changed round trip to 500 now, so this helps. Still with 50/50 deployment you really need multiple DAGS = multiple servers, or local users will be very surprised when WAN goes down – both sites may get a bit of a downtime.
        As far as dedicated networks – his name escapes me at the moment, but who it the best of the best of Exchange at MS Mr. Shnoll and one more …) – mention of large deployment with similar quote, sorry if it is not verbatim “that one company had dedicated WAN at the cost of 2 million $s a year – just for email replication”.

        Other nice surprises with Exchange are similar to this (yes I know – should have looked at this before deployment):
        Seriously … to access archives …

  10. Andrew Mazurek says:

    … yes I know I can use web access to access archives 🙂

  11. Michael Scala says:

    I’m sorry, but I feel the need to chime in here as this subject hits home for me.

    As a former BPOS/O365 Exchange support engineer, I have to say that it disgusts me at the quality of support provided in this specific instance. However, everyone must understand this one critical point: Support is outsourced and you never know who you’re actually going to get. I worked for an outsourced partner company (name withheld) who hired both actual jobless IT personnel and rejects from fast food restaraunts side by side to work in a call center on MS’s behalf. I’ve had the pleasure of cleaning up multiple messes created by unskilled, non-technical individuals who don’t even know what an Exchange server is, and some were labeled as “SMEs”. On top of that, management did not care as long as the next call was taken because the company made money on tickets taken, not tickets resolved. This is one of the many reasons I left that job, but that’s beside the point.

    This is partially why your support case got nowhere fast, unfortunately. The engineer was probably overloaded with work to begin with, and escalation (when I was there) required you to have EVERYTHING under the sun tested as escalation support would reject requests if you missed a single step (or if it was not documented) without fully explaining why. By the way – they were outsourced as well. At times, I used to go over people’s heads and directly to Tech Support Leads and Senior TSLs to get a serious situation escalated quickly because I understood the severity of some of these issues and I didn’t have time to fool around with a whole tenant down and the admin screaming in my headset. That got me pulled into the office a few times, but I built a relationship with some MS internals that respected me for my customer service efforts and dedication to support.

    Mr. Redmond:

    Did you know that since the GA release of O365, officially – support was NOT to be given to the SMB (P plan) tenants and to redirect them to the community forums? This alone is one major reason your issue was possibly put on the back burner by management, depending on which support partner you got. Some followed that strictly and some did not. By the time I had left, MS was working on a pay-per-incident option for SMB tenants and I am unsure how that worked out as they were demoing it in Europe at the time and that was almost a year ago.

    Enterprise tenants with TAMs or not should have a dedicated (IMO, certified) AD & Exchange Administrator who after talking with support can immediately get them to figure out if it’s beyond the frontline’s scope or not and get it escalated quickly by handing off all information regarding troubleshooting on their end so support can realize most of the work has already been done for them in most cases. This will get to a resolution a lot faster as there is now less work to do in most cases. However, this is not what I was used to seeing as a lot of them were “admins by title” more than by qualification.

    Q: Why wasn’t the issue automatically escalated after a set period of time you ask?

    A: That’s because the procedure to do so was removed from their internal KB after BPOS and the 3-Tier level of support process had been removed. Biggest mistake ever made, if you ask me. They now only consist of a frontline support and a single escalation team before it reaches back-end Ops, whom you will never speak with from my experience. Just before my departure, MS had begun internally reviewing the ticket system for old open tickets, to which they contacted the support company’s liaison and brought it to their attention. Where I was, that led to “Hurry and close this or you’re fired. They’re watching us again”. Great motivation – wouldn’t you agree?

    The other two questions you asked I believe can be answered in my initial statements.

    Just to point out: If you’re planning on switching over to an Enterprise tenant, the transition over isn’t always that smooth when migrating data. I don’t know about the SharePoint side of it, but you’ll have to perform an IMAP migration between the internal Exchange servers. I find this rather silly (staying G-rated on my opinion) and wish there was a better way to do it, but that’s the sad truth as it won’t bring over any calendar info or contacts. Those will need a manual PST migration. The new M-sku for medium sized businesses looks promising, but I don’t fully know what it has going for it as of yet. I’ll admit I’ve been slacking in my research.

    When it comes to having Exchange in the cloud or on premise, or even a coexistence of both, it really depends on your company’s needs, its budget, and the competency of your Exchange administrator. By this stage in the game and with Exchange both in the cloud and on premise being almost identical, a call to support should be made only if you have exhausted your resources and have hit a brick wall. O365 is a pretty solid product if you ask me, but not having full control of your environment and its data bothers me, and a service interruption that you have no ETA on a fix for can be a real headache. I already know that I don’t need to be telling you this as yours was a definitive exception because as you pointed out it was well outside of your control, and as a MS MVP I have a lot of respect for you for having abilities that well exceed my own. Now…

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your comments. A couple of clarifications from my perspective.

      1. I know that the frontline support staff (and their management) is outsourced. I spoke to WiPro employees (obvious because of their v- Microsoft.com email addresses and the “Wipro” suffix on their display name). This is not necessarily a bad thing as outsourced staff can be very effective if correctly supported with systems, education, and management. I think that the failure in this instance lies in systems and management rather than the people.

      2. Yes, Microsoft encourages Plan P tenants to use DIY support via forums etc. Unfortunately a tenant that stubbornly refuses to upgrade despite notes from Microsoft to say that it was upgraded is not an issue that can be resolved via forums. It needed escalation from the datacenter team to fix.

      3. The lack of escalation that you describe is distressing. I imagine it’s all driven by cost as these things invariably are. Hurry up and close didn’t happen in my case, which makes me wonder what kind of ticket monitoring and analysis system is in use.

      4. IMAP migration to move a tenant sounds odd. Microsoft has a highly capable migration service (shipping in Exchange 2013) that is capable of cross-Exchange organization migration. Why wouldn’t they use that?

      5. Overall, I agree that Office 365 is a pretty solid product. It has improved over its lifetime and I expect further improvement. And incidents happen in IT… the question is how the support organization handles those incidents…


    • Zoltan Erszenyi says:


      “Support is outsourced and you never know who you’re actually going to get.” – Support services in the cloud. As hazy as it gets: you can’t see through, cannot tell what’s coming, and it is so high that it’s unreachable. It is not for nothing that it is said that one walks with his head in the cloud – he’s a lunatic. For the same reason I discourage my customers to go to the cloud. If they are stubborn and really want to, that’s even better: it is an additional business opportunity for me to bring them back on-premise after they burn themselves in the cloud.

      “Enterprise tenants with TAMs or not should have a dedicated (IMO, certified) AD & Exchange Administrator” – This goes against what sales BSers tell their customers: “Go to cloud and you can fire your 6-digit-worth all-rounder infrastructure specialist. No need for local IT expertiese, it’s in the cloud and all the smart MS people will look after you. Sit back and relax.”

      Cloud is not cheap: it can cost an enterprise multiple times the wages of an expensive on-premise admin in lost productivity and lost business.


      • Moe says:

        You are 100% correct Zoltan 🙂 that is exactly what is happening today.

        “Support services in the cloud. As hazy as it gets: you can’t see through, cannot tell what’s coming, and it is so high that it’s unreachable. It is not for nothing that it is said that one walks with his head in the cloud”.

  12. Michael Scala says:

    Mr. Mazurek:

    To be quite honest and frank, after reading your comments you seem to be almost hateful of an application that has been proven successful for years IF SET UP PROPERLY. I’m definitely not an Exchange guru, but I’ve had to deal with it from ’03 to ’13 and all versions, service packs, and rollups in between in multiple companies since the start of my career in IT to joining up with the consulting firm I currently work for, both on premise and in the BPOS/O365 cloud in coexistence scenarios, and most of the time the problem is with the way the application was incorrectly configured for that environment OR incorrect configuration of the environment as a whole. Exchange, like all serious server applications, must be carefully planned, installed, and configured properly from the get-go ensure good functionality. Exchange is not an “install, hit next, next, next, finish” program. Unfortunately, many seem to believe that and end up creating all kinds of problems within their organizations. I even got into it with my own superiors recently upon us deciding to create a new forest, install 2013, and perform a cross-forest migration from our old ’07 server. Eventually, they realized that I was right about the ONLY way it could work (PST migration was the only “supported” method per MS) due to the complications we were consistently running into and finally stopped micromanaging the operation and we now have a perfectly running 2013 Exchange (as far as I can tell anyway) in our new 2k8R2 forest. I totally believe that having to wait until CU1 for 2013 AND SP3 for 2010 before being able to cross-forest migrate was a big mistake on MS’s part (the inability to do it from 2007 to 2013 simply irks me), but after this many years we should all be accustomed to the joys of service packs and rollups.

    As for your shot at Office versions supporting Archiving and Retention Policies – I’m sorry, but my only response can be: Duh. It’s an enterprise specific feature. You need an enterprise license for Exchange, additional enterprise CALs per mailbox utilizing said features, and the reason a specific version of Outlook/Office is required is because it’s an ENTERPRISE licensed version, and you’d only purchase an enterprise version because you have enterprise needs, which over 80% of the businesses out there does not fully need. If you’ve ever worked with Cisco products, you should understand the money made on licensing. It seems like everything after purchasing a device with them requires licensing, and MS is no different. I’m not even going into that because my comments are getting long enough (I can admit when I need to stop, lol). My point here is that not everyone needs the complete bells & whistles. And if you do, either go buy it from MS Volume Licensing or purchase an Office subscription from O365 with all of those nifty little things hardly anyone fully uses.

    Lotus Domino has been around for a long time, but I’ve seen it dwindling out of existence where I reside (South FL, USA). Sure – there’s Zimbra, Postfix (used by MS in BPOS for mail filtering, fun fact), Groupwise, and many others out there for both Windows and Linux/Unix systems, but Exchange is used in a VERY large portion of the market and most of the people I’ve found griping about it have not been the best in administering it. I hate to sound abrasive, but I cannot find value in your point.

    If at any time I have offended/angered anyone, please accept my apologies. I have a lot of respect for my fellow IT professionals as our job is NOT easy, but concerning a subject that I have played both roles (tenant & support), I feel that this is one point where my opinion should be heard as I’ve been there, done that, and have the t-shirt to prove it.

    • Andrew Mazurek says:


      Thank you – the information in your posts is magnificent and should be a part of careful planning
      of any deployment. I am not offended at all, actually I believe that your posts validate my concerns about product and vendor approach. Hate is not an option for me (I am from Canada).
      We are looking at this from different perspective I think, I support my firm and have to watch every penny… You if I am not mistaken are generating revenue from supporting “next, next, finished” administrators, so our objectives are different. Anyway how do you configure Exchange to avoid Apple calendaring mess? Nuclear approach of banning devices?
      Or new forest just to migrate? Archives – simple solution – redirect my $$$ to 3rd party for a fraction of cost. MS can do it better, but we have to stop giving them pass.

  13. Jim says:

    WOW so Office 365 support is per former O365 support guy “They hired both actual jobless IT personnel and rejects from fast food restaurants side by side to work in a call center on MS’s behalf.”

  14. Hans says:

    Save yourself & Company a major headache and go Exchange On-Premises.

    • Andrew Mazurek says:

      Hans – agreed to some degree … do not assume that Exchange is the only solution … look at what you want out of messaging/scheduling system – compare solutions/cost etc.
      Far too often I see people with (not you in particular) with this motto “we have a soltuion let’s find a problem”.
      For Office 365 … look at IBM SmartCloud pricing … for $17/months … advanced eddition compare …

      • Tom says:

        Andrew, the best option for Enterprises is Exchange On-Premises today 🙂

      • Zoltan Erszenyi says:

        Andrew, one of the the problems is application integration: pretty much all major document management systems (to pick just one) integrates with Exchange or some sort of Microsoft product. So if you happen to have a major LOB application then it may well define what infrastructure you need to run it, and most of the times it is a MS product.

        Pick-and-choose a messaging system is fine as long as that’s were it stops: messaging and no further. You’ll start scratching your head and digging in your pocket as soon as you need to integrate it.

        Furthermore, you’ll find more easily an MS support guy for your business than anything else simply because pretty much everyone “knows” (more or less) MS compared to other vendors, simply because it is so pervasive.

  15. Andrew Mazurek says:

    Nice to hear from you Tom 🙂

  16. Mike Faster says:

    Great Article and Comments!

    Tony, Geezs if YOU get poor support? What about the anonymous thousands of users?
    BTW: your support experience wasn’t unique. There was a “Field Bulletin” sent out by MS addressing Partner Support Volumes in March and April which seemed to acknowledge a lot more problems like the ones cited here.

    Michael Scala, I appreciated a look behind the curtain, at the support process!

    We’re a Microsoft Partner who will shortly be helping some clients implement Office 365, and I am concerned about our ability to support our clients post migration. At least our engineers can cut to the chase with troubleshooting and hopefully get issues escalated appropriately.

    • Zoltan Erszenyi says:


      “At least our engineers can cut to the chase with troubleshooting and hopefully get issues escalated appropriately.”

      No, they will not. I logged a call recently for a stuck remote mailbox move request initiated automatically by whatever process in Office 365 for one of the users of my Hybrid-enabled client. I was promised a 24-hour callback. I got an e-mail 3 days later. No “call-back”. I gota couple of more e-mails, asking to detail the issue, which, I thought, I did quite well in my initial call as I am anExchange consultant earning a living out of Exchange – as all of us in this thread do.

      Two weeks later the issue was finally fixed: the stuck move request has been removed and I could move the mailbox back to the on-premise server.

      I have other horror stories concerning MS support, a recent one where the MS support engineer went on to restart services on unrelated production servers of a major international airport. No consideration whatsoever of possible side effects or change control policies and procedures. It took 3 engineers, a full week and a number of less than friendly e-mails until MS understood the environment and the scope of the support engagement.

      You’ll need to set the expectations very clearly: MS partnership doesn’t give you much more advantage when it comes to support. You have no control of the servers and many important aspects in the cloud. If your sales guys sold BS then you’ll cop it, sooner or later.

      Don’t hold your breath.


      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        Zoltan – I agree that LOB app can drive Exchange deployment, in my earlier post I have mentioned that unless you have a critical app do not move to Exchange.
        With new MS CU approach (change/update every 3 months) all this infrastructure is put at risk as well. Quality of updates is not there, so you will face this horror on prem as well.
        So if your CEO pushed cloud let him eat that carrot, at least there is MS to blame 🙂

      • Lee says:

        WOW Zoltan it took 2 weeks to fix the issue working with support for Exchange in the Public Cloud.
        These are NOT good news we are hearing but what I am surprise is how come NO articles are written about these experiences beside here on our good & truthful friend Tony Redmond’s Blog
        I got a feeing Cloud Companies are paying for ads on Tech sites & cloud companies do NOT want the truth to come out.

  17. Patel says:

    @ Mike I would say to “Anonymous Thousands” stay with Exchange On-Premises

  18. Fernando says:

    This shows all these “Sales guys” selling Office 365 & Exchange on Cloud do NOT know a thing about what they are selling. Today all these “Sales guys” in IT are trying to sell “Cloud” on behalf of Cloud Companies. And Cloud Companies are giving big $$ commissions to these “Sales guys”. I have heard some IT Authors on IT websites are talking commissions to write super good Articles about Cloud.
    Enterprises should stay with Exchange On-Premises and avoid future headaches.

  19. Mike says:

    @Fernando, I totally agree with you. I am glad we got our good friend Tony Redmond here telling us the Truth 🙂
    I see today many “Sales guys” writing / promoting Exchange on Cloud. And as we can see here “Sales guys” got no clue what they are selling to these poor souls.

  20. Andrew Mazurek says:

    Tony – how do you see (this is off this topic) impact of Hub server merge with MBOX role ? Any advise ?
    Is there a way to have “selective” off-line access to mailboxes – let’s say an assistant works with two execs, but due to sensitivity only one mailbox should be allowed for off-line ?

    • I don’t have an issue with the merge of the HT role with MBX. Most servers are multi-role anyway so it doesn’t make any difference in reality.

      If you want that kind of sensitivity for offline access, use two profiles to configure Outlook. One with cached Exchange mode, one without.

      • Andrew Mazurek says:


        Thx, is there a book you could recommend for advanced “backend” solutions? The more I look at the Office365 and Exchange hybrid solution seems like something really worth exploring. Gives you both – control and all benefits of cloud. Careful placement of what users/services use cloud or local could allow companies to ease into cloud while retaining some degree of redundancy in case of cloud outage.
        One more comment on maturity. I agree that technology maybe at mature level in Office 365, but the whole package includes support that stands behind it. Until this is solid just be careful what you put and where.

        I don’t use Cisco for reasons mentioned in your post.

        Otherwise have a nice weekend. I understand that we may have some “fun” on May 7th…

      • Paul Robichaux’s book 2 of Exchange 2013 Inside Out is slated to cover Office 365 and hybrid on-premises; I imagine that the Exchange 2013 Best Practices book (due towards the end of the year) will also cover the topic. I haven’t seen anything else out there that attempts to cover the subject.


      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        Thank you ! But I cannot support Mr. Robichaux after reading his letter to Apple’s CEO about activesync and blaming Apple, so until he sends one to MS about fixing this ugly issues with scheduling … I really cannot 🙂 but he knows his stuff for sure … I really like what you had to say about ActiveSync and it’s future.

  21. Marc says:

    Hi Tony,

    Sorry to hear you got such a bad experience, I blogged about your blog on http://geekswithblogs.net/marcde/archive/2013/05/03/office-365-support-issues.aspx hoping to spread the word around a bit. Whilst I indeed believe the cloud is the future it would be beneficial if people considered both sides of the coin!

    • Zoltan Erszenyi says:

      Marc, you probably don’t get involved too often with hands-on issues concerning the cloud. Wondering whether you (or anyone else as a matter of fact) has done a cost analysis case study involving all aspects, including lost productivity, cost of hiring staff to replace fed-up users who just couldn’t put up anymore and resigned (yes, this was the very driver of one of my bring-back-to-on-premise projects), etc. etc., all which affects TOC.

      Funny that everyone in MS support is so quick to apologise for bad experiences, but the same BS is going on and on, and, historically, it gets worse. 10 years ago we did not have cloud: it was all “clear sky” and decent support with responsive and knowledgeable support engineers.

  22. Victor says:

    @Marc, Sales guys & cloud companies are NOT telling Enterprises the truth. I have been involved with several move From Exchange in Cloud back to Exchange On-Premises.

  23. TK says:

    I also helped an Enterprise customer move from Cloud to Exchange On-Premises. Customer said it cost around $9/mailbox/month so it cost $100000 per year for 1000 mailboxes. They did NOT see any cost savings in that. Also they said Exchange in Cloud is limited with control.
    Control and security in Exchange On-Premises is what they want.

  24. Bob says:

    I had Enterprise customer that moved from Exchange in cloud to Exchange On-Premises. With 2000 mailboxes Exchange in cloud cost around $200000 per year and customer did NOT see any cost saving in that.
    Exchange On-Premises gave them also full-control & security that wanted.

  25. Joe says:

    Enterprises have “Sr. Messaging guy” these days doing Exchange, Lync, BES, EV, Ironport, and some AD. So with ALL these services “Sr. Messaging guy” doing and getting paid around $140000 per year WHY on earth Enterprises want to pay $200000 per year for 2000 mailboxes in the Cloud.
    NO cost saving for Enterprises having Exchange in the Cloud, keep Exchange On-Premises and get yourself a smart “Sr. Messaging guy” 🙂

    • Zoltan Erszenyi says:

      “WHY on earth Enterprises want to pay $200000 per year for 2000 mailboxes in the Cloud.”

      Because the CEO only talks to the sales guy and not to the tech who knows his stuff because (s)he gets his/her hands dirty. And the sales guy only cares about the quick buck of today with little or no regard to what tomorrow holds. By the time it will become an issue (s)he will not be around and it is no longer his/her problem, and who cares about the next sales guy – let him/her deal with it. It is even more fishy when the sales guy refuses to take a good tech guy along to the initial meetings. He knows why, don’t you worry.

      • Patel says:

        Agree with Zoltan 100%
        And guess what will happen with that CEO or CIO once he move to Public Cloud and later issue comes and support takes 3-4 weeks & Exchange is down.
        CEO or CIO will get FIRED cuz this mess was his idea & he listen to the Sales guy BS.

  26. Dwayne Washington says:

    @ Joe, I agree with you 100%
    I am a CIO for an Enterprise with 2700 Mailboxes. I used to get calls every week from Sales guys of Cloud companies. One day I said enough is enough so I broke it down for the Sales guy. He said just like Office 365 they offer $9/Mailbox/Month, that would cost us $300000 per year.
    I told the Sales guy our “Sr. Messaging Engineer” is running our Exchange On-Premises he also running our BES, EV, Barracuda & AD. His cost for us is $150000 per year.
    We have full control & security with our Exchange On-Premises. If we wanted to have all these services in Cloud that our “Sr. Messaging Engineer” is running today On-Premises it would cost us more than $500000 per year. So I can say this for sure CLOUD IS NOT FOR ENTERPRISES.

  27. Mark Henrickson says:

    Agree with Dwayne.
    We have an Enterprise of 3000 mailboxes.
    And we have a “Messaging Superman” who is managing our Exchange, Lync, BES, EV & Ironport.
    Cloud Sales guy told us it will cost us around $500000 per year for ALL those services in the Public Cloud. I told him “CLOUD” IS ONLY $$$$ FOR CLOUD COMPANIES.
    BTW we pay our “Messaging Superman” $150000 per year

    • Andrew Mazurek says:


      You should sell services of your messaging SuperHeros to MS – I am sure they have spare cycles 🙂
      Again, cloud is for Enterprise, maybe just not for anything more than 1000 mailboxes – once MS puts proper support behind it that is. Concept is valid, execution not so much …

  28. Elvis Palombizio says:

    My tenant was scheduled to be “upgraded” this past Monday in a transparent fashion.. which equated into losing email access for all employees for over 12 hours.. It’s day 2 and the tenant upgrade is still not complete and my users are still having connectivity issues.
    Based purely on historical email volume on Mondays, there are 200-300 emails that are unaccounted for and to make matters worse, I have no clue if they’ll be resent.
    Saying Microsoft’s support has been lackluster would be too generous, it’s been downright atrocious. Not only did it take over 24 hours of phone calls, emails, and forum posts to get escalated, Tier2 is doing things that Tier1 should have done. Not having direct access to the Migration teams is also a huge problem. I just can’t get straight answers from anyone there.
    We’re a company of less than 50 employees, so the lure of outsourcing “commodity” systems seemed appealing so we could focus on the value-added initiatives, but I’ve probably spent more time setting up 365 and dealing with issues of integrating it with the on-premise AD that it’s eaten up any time savings from outsourcing in the first-place.
    Andrew, your quote of “Concept is valid, execution not so much…” is spot on.

    • Andrew Mazurek says:


      We are simmilar size. I believe that problem with MS is lack of experience from “mainframe” times.
      They treat their “flagship” product like revolving change this, change that … and so on. Unfortunately we have to run business on this. Their cloud offering is no different than Exchange on prem – not mature yet and frankly with the way MS changes their product (it will never be).
      When IBM was starting SmartCloud they just took Domino product without any changes and it works … maturity is both technology (MS is getting there) and support (see above).

      Have MS people email me (I don’t have “people”) – I think I can help.

      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        I will reply to my reply – as new to the product I just finished reading Tony’s blog “Some side-effects of the Exchange 2013 cumulative update strategy” – wow !
        Tony I would use Serious instead of Some. Boy we are here for a ride Cloud (not so much, on prem (the same) – now I am not wondering that companies are still riding on 2003 until it is not supported anymore. Someone please help me understand why are we willingly paying money for this ?

    • Kim says:

      After that experience, it is time to forget about Cloud & move to Exchange 2013 CU1 On-Premises 🙂

      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        Good news !!!
        MS is actually paying attention to customers, well perhaps to the way their spend their money – so there is hope. Look at their 180 turn with windows 8.
        Money talks 🙂

      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        There hope that MS is actually getting the message. Or at least getting the money talk.
        Look at 180 with Windows 8 … yeah money talks.

  29. John says:

    @ Our good friend Tony Redmond
    I think you are the ONLY one that is allowing the voice of Truth to be told with your Blog here & your Windows IT Pro Articles. Everyone else are selling out to Cloud Companie$ and getting commission.
    PLEASE write more Articles about the issue Elvis Palombizio having.
    Cloud Companie$ are Lying to us.

    • Elvis Palombizio says:

      Hi all,
      Just wanted to follow up with all of you as my Microsoft support story needs to be heard by those on the cloud, or considering it.
      On Thursday Night (May 9th), it appeared that the majority of the email that was not delivered on Monday came through.. Only 3 days late.. What bothers me is that the mailflow tool indicated that delivery had failed.. no indication of a retry.. My MS techs couldn’t respond either way as to whether the emails would eventually deliver or not. They apparently have no clue as to the expected behavior.
      The next day, my tech reports…. well, just read it exactly from them 🙂 “That is good news… I did receive an update from the product group that they did have reports of a “crashing event” on 5/6 in NAMPRD07 that may have caused the mail flow behavior you saw during transition. Once restored, the servers in the data center would proceed with processing any outstanding mail delivery in their queues. So it appears that the servers are processing through any backlogged delivery.”
      Wow, so the products group found out 5 days later about a “crashing event”.. Are you telling me that no one is actively monitoring the servers in the farm? If they are serious, why not inform the users on NAMPRD07?
      Now, if you think that’s outrageous, get a load of their response when I started talking about service credit.. “Service refunds are processed in the event that a “service incident” has been declared by the product group. When a service incident is declared, it is posted as an incident on the dashboard of your tenant portal. After a service incident is declared, you can request a service refund by contacting the frontline Office 365 support. They will ask for the following information:

      • Service request number (case number)
      Number of the SI (if available).
      • Date, time and duration of the SI.
      • Active mailboxes.
      • Customer (Billing) Months requested for adjustment.
      • Number of Users Impacted.

      If however a service incident was not declared, then a refund is not processed. In this case it does not appear that the Product Group identified this as a service incident, due either to the limited scope, or duration of the issue, so it most likely is not eligible for a service refund. I can try to submit a request for you, but as I said, it may not be eligible for a refund. Let me know how you would like to proceed. If you would like me to try to process the request, simply provide the info listed above and I’ll submit it for approval.

      Best regards,

      Holy crap, so since the product group didn’t declare an incident, there was apparently no problem?… What would happen if car makers followed this approach?

      In over 10 years in IT, this has been one of the most incredible exchanges I’ve had with any support group at any company. Is Microsoft trying to get people off of their cloud service?

      Elvis Palombizio

      • Hi Elvis,

        I have been chatting to a couple of folks inside Microsoft about the problem that you had. They would like some more detail to chase this issue down for you. Can you let me have an email address that I can give to them and they will make contact with you.


      • Elvis Palombizio says:

        While my goal wasn’t to burden you with helping me with a resource inside of Microsoft, I really appreciate you taking the time out your life to circle back to me on this. The toughest thing about Office 365 is not having a dedicated account or customer rep who can help light the fires.. My email is elvis.palombizio ?at? primeadvisors.com.

        Thanks again,

      • Not a problem. My view is that if we don’t help Microsoft to improve their support, we will all have problems in the end. Expect a call from someone reasonably senior.


      • Ler says:

        I got one word for you.

      • John says:

        Time to go back to have worked before.
        Exchange On-Premises

      • Patel says:

        As you see Exchange On-Premises wins now after this fiasco with Public Cloud.

  30. Adam says:

    I agree 100% with John.

  31. Pingback: Office 365 upgrade to Wave 15 is on its way - Scott Ladewig's {insert site name here} | Scott Ladewig's {insert site name here}

  32. Dwayne Washington says:

    As a CIO I can say this, the issues that you are having are NOT acceptable. Imagine if your In-House engineers did respond like this, I would Fire them.
    Time to do something with this “Cloud Experience”.
    I have to agree with everyone else here & say On-Premises is the way to go.

  33. Joe Johnson says:

    We had a customer with 2000 mailboxes, just moved FROM Exchange in Public Cloud TO Exchange 2013 On-Premises. Issues they had was very bad support, less control in the Cloud & security.

    • Andrew Mazurek says:


      What Public cloud Office 365 ?

      • Alex Jones says:

        I just moved a Pharmaceutical with 2500 mailboxes from Cloud TO Exchange 2013 On-Premises. They experienced horrible support & they wanted more control.

      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        We are moving the oposite way – cannot justify the cost of running on prem for 60 users.
        Wish me luck 🙂

      • Elvis Palombizio says:

        We had another outage yesterday. My online archive was down for several hours for all users, and some users experienced intermittent issues with their normal mailboxes. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have gone with Office 365. I’m an optimistic person, but it seems that the support structure will take a long time to change to the customer’s benefit.
        Exchange Online was running well when there were no changes being made by Microsoft, but then again, Exchange on-premise these days runs very well too. I expected Microsoft to be able to run circles around my company’s ability to upgrade/migrate to wave 15 with their vast resources, but I was very disappointed.
        If email isn’t the primary method of communications within your firm and you can tolerate outages, then by all means, go forward with Exchange Online. However, just keep in mind that whatever you might save on software/hardware resource costs can turn into a larger cost on your Technology resources to nag, beg, plead with support to get your email working in a timely fashion.
        From the beginning, I wanted Exchange Online to work for me, but as the months have progressed and outages mounted, I’m tempted more and more each day to press rewind on all of the work I put in to design an highly-available infrastructure to support Exchange Online and bring it all back in. Do I want to? No, but Microsoft seems to be forcing my hand each day.

      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        Elvis do you work for Google ? 🙂
        This is another example of flawed service, or perhaps the issue is with the product. I tend to think that current Microsoft’s direction with CU every three months will also have serious impact on on prem solutions. If you are supporting a business that needs solid messaging, change is the last think you need. With MS history of poor quality of updates (RU5 – RU5 v2 – RU6 – RU6 v2 …) unless you have an army of smart admins and tolerant users you are in for a rough ride. I was ready to move to Office 365, as running Exchange on prem with redundancy that we enjoyed with IBM Domino is actually expensive and time consuming – and unfortunately Exchange does not have nearly the same functionality and security out of the box as Domino has.
        Sure, you can spend money on 3rd party products and complicate the environment introducing all sorts of failure points, but who really needs this? Unless you are trying to build IT empire – why?
        We are actually looking into converting back to Domino (no I do not work or get paid by IBM :))
        In our case, we have offices in Canada and Europe and Domino replication and clustering is simple, selective and tolerant to WAN issues. Journaling and archiving is easy (no need for extra licensing) – web interface is as good as desktop client, something that MS has to get to still …
        Servers can run on Linux (imagine saving on hardware and server OS licenses) … and so on.
        With Smart Cloud from IBM, it is easy to implement as hybrid solution as well (yes you can mix Domino versions) – this will take care of your DR. Having said that – MS still has time to reevaluate their approach to Exchange – they did with Windows 8.

  34. Bruce Jackson says:

    I agree with Joe & Alex.
    We are bombarded with ads from Public Cloud companies today, Public cloud companies got sales guys like “used car sales man”.
    I have also seen several companies MOVING back to Exchange On-Premises after bad experience in the Public Cloud.

  35. Bruce Jackson says:

    And it looks like Elvis Palombizio (above comment) is another company MOVING from Public Cloud TO Exchange On-Premises.
    We are now hearing about these stories every week. Also a Tip to CIOs, if you make a mistake like this it will cost you your job, so think twice before moving to Public Cloud.

    • Andrew Mazurek says:

      Tony – are they serious ?
      For Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 organizations, at least one Exchange 2013 Client Access and one Exchange 2013 Mailbox server must be installed in the on-premises organization to run the Hybrid Configuration wizard and support Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployment functionality. We recommend combining the Exchange 2013 Client Access and Mailbox server roles on a single server when configuring hybrid deployments with Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 environments. All on-premises Exchange 2013 servers must have installed Cumulative Update 1 (CU1) or greater for Exchange 2013 to support hybrid functionality with Office 365.

      • Bruce Jackson says:

        Andrew, Save yourself headache and go Exchange On-Premises 🙂
        You easily spin up 2 VMs on your HQ site & 2 VMs on your DR site, on each VM install CAS / MB. You will now have DAG, HA & site resilience. This is cheap & Easy 🙂

      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        Thx Bruce – this is what I have done … now to secure this (OWA and ActiveSync) extra gear … to make it really resilient and HA extra gear (invest in Barracuda, F5 or Kempt :)) … to access archives from Outlook client Office Pro Plus … to add shared Corporate address books on mobile devices without convoluted solutions we can always get SharePoint Microsoft says … Frustrated yes … frankly I am trying to work myself out of the job and implementing Cloud solutions should help me … The way I see it now, once you let Exchange in = permanent employment and with the new and “improved” Microsoft CU cycle overtime is guaranteed 🙂 … there has to be a better way to put Outlook on users’ desk … I will be starting a separate blog in order to lessen pollution on Tony’s page. Looks like I will be the only one blogging on it, but at least it will help me vent.

      • Elvis Palombizio says:

        I have no affiliations with any technology company.. I’m just providing an unbiased opinion. If I had any bias, it would be towards Exchange online since I’ve made a bet on it.. You have to be strong to admit you might have made a mistake 🙂
        I haven’t decided to go back to on-premise yet since I’m an optimist, but at this time, while the technology is certainly there, the execution is lacking due to the bottom line.

        Best of luck however direction you go!

      • Andrew Mazurek says:

        Elvis – I do not think that Cloud move was/is a bad decision. One would expect that MS would put proper infrastructure behind this. Maybe once Wave 15 (Tsunami perhaps :)) upgrade is done this should stabilize (I hope) – if not Wave 15 maybe the last wave ever.

  36. Moe says:

    For Enterprise Public Cloud is not worth. Cloud sales guys keep saying “it is cheaper. But as we can see from this Article you cannot put a price tag on horrible support you will get from Exchange in Public Cloud.
    Also if you do the Math, an Enterprise with 2000 mailboxes will pay around $200000 per year for Exchange in the Public Cloud.
    Issues they will face are bad support, less control, security, less features.
    Now you can have a “Messaging guy” that cost $150000 that can give you these services, Exchange, BES, AD, EV, and Lync.
    And for Hardware spin up 4 VMs and you are good.
    So as we can see for Enterprise CLOUD IS A BAD DECISION 🙂

    • Sam says:

      Decision makers for IT need to be VERY careful and not to fall for the Sales pitch from IT articles from IT websites or on phone. They need to look at all aspects of the move to Public Cloud. We are seeing very aggressive sales/marketing from Public Could companies today. Be very Careful, if you make the decision to move to the Public Cloud & it does not work well as we are seeing here you as the decision maker will lose your job.

      A friend lost his job as IT manager because they had to move back to Exchange On-Premises.

  37. Hans says:

    Public cloud infrastructure (Office 365) is under serious questions, as users starting to seriously questioning public cloud security and integrity after the NSA scandal.


    • Andrew Mazurek says:

      Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  38. Hans says:

    Maybe Public Cloud for Enterprises such as Office 365 was to get all these companies data in one public place and then allow Backdoor Access.
    And Enterprises were really buying this “Public Cloud” BS and allowing Backdoor Access until the NSA scandal news went public now.

  39. Patel says:

    WOW so all these Public Cloud hype (Office 365) was to have all these corporate data in ONE place and then give Backdoor Access to it 🙂 nice

  40. Elvis Palombizio says:

    I don’t think we’ve gone a single week without at least one user being affected by downtime with Office 365 in one form or another. The entire solution has proven to be much less reliable than hosting it internally.

    To make matters worse, an intermittent voicemail issue we were having has only gotten worse with WAVE15 (callers not able to leave voicemail, just receiving dead air)..

    If anyone considering the move to 365 is reading these comments, I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have on my experience, but unfortunately, it’s looking like the move to 365 was a flop and I’ll be bringing it all back 😦

  41. Lee says:

    Everyone I talked to for the last couple days saying Public Cloud service such as Office 365 has Backdoor Access now that NSA scandal became an international news.

  42. Patel says:

    You guys seen the new Office 365 commercial?

    “Get Office 365 we will never lose your data. Even if our servers crashes and we lose you data, no worries NSA has it” LOL

  43. TJ says:

    Yep just saw LOL 🙂

    “Get Office 365 we will never lose your data. Even if our servers crashes and we lose you data, no worries NSA has it” LOL 🙂

    • Andrew Mazurek says:

      Anyone remenbers Citadel Takedown by Microsoft ?
      Read this http://www.abuse.ch/?p=5362

      • Al says:

        After the blockbuster international news of “NSA Backdoor Access to the Public Cloud servers”, we will see demand will decrease sharply for services such as Office 365 or Google apps.
        Companies will favor On-Premises now, such as Exchange 2013 On-Premises with encryption.

  44. Ray says:

    Due to many concerns about Public Cloud such as news of “NSA backdoor access to the Public Cloud servers” many enterprises are looking into building a solid Private Cloud infrastructure today.
    With Private Cloud infrastructure companies will also utilize Exchange On-Premises on VMs.

  45. Dave says:

    Hi After reading your blog I felt should just add my 2 cents as to why your support is well for lack of a better so crap when O365 went live in EMEA they had a support team of 100 Agents in ireland and Soifa that were extremly well trained and need to know more about Exchange and Sharepoint so that they could talk to someone like yourself and be able hold there own and not come across as well dumb a____ss. And here is where it all changed in Jan 2013 they dropped all those agents and switched to a new vendor so they are a good 5mths up and running paying half the wage and getting a 1/4 of the experance so calls are being pushed to US and escalated so i do beleave them they say that are swampped.

    Team Manager | Microsoft Online Services

  46. Elvis Palombizio says:

    Anyone have any good reference material for reintroducing an Exchange on premise? I haven’t found anything helpful online and I need to reintroduce a 2013 server so I can migrate from cloud back on premise.


    • Elvis Palombizio says:

      That should read “for reintroducing an Exchange server”

    • zumarek says:


      so it is that bad ?

      • Zoltan Erszenyi says:

        Zumarek, yes, it can be *that* bad, depending on the environment. For a 250-seat client in Citrix, where Cache mode is not an option (http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX135084), users have to access their e-mail online. That means that if 250 users hit the cloud to retrieve or send e-mail across a 4Mbps link, then it starts to hurt. And if users are routinely sending and receiving 10-15Mb attachments because that’s what they do as normal business, then it will hurt really quickly even harder. That was the case of my client whom I migrated off the cloud.

        Cloud is not for everyone.

      • zumarek says:


        I really enjoyed reading your reply to Elvis.
        Are you on 2013 or 2010 ?
        Elvis had support and availability priblems did you have this problem vascwell ?

      • Zoltan Erszenyi says:

        Zumarek, my client is on 2010. My onsite contact signalled that they had support issues too. Availability in this case wasn’t an issue. Re support, see my previous commend earlier in this tread about removing a stuck move request.

    • Zoltan Erszenyi says:

      Elvis, I have just completed exactly that a short while ago. To my knowledge there is no reference documentation. Depending on whether you have your Exchange schema updates and objects in your AD from a previous (now decommissioned) Exchange on-premise deployment, you may be able to use Steve Goodman’s article at http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/office-365/exchange-online/migrating-standalone-office-365-tenant-exchange-2010-part1.html.

      The main point to take away is that a user cannot have two mailboxes: if you introduce Exchange on-premise and you mail-enable a user who has an Office 365 mailbox also, then ADFS and DirSync will disable the cloud mailbox.

      Give Steve’s article a thorough read, make sure you understand it well, and adapt it to your particular situation. Additionally, I recommend you to open a free trial account and test your scenario. For full functionality you’ll need two public IP addresses (one for ADFS and one for Exchange), a registered domain and two publically trusted SSL certificates (one for ADFS, one for Exchange). With a bit of ingenuity you don’t need a SAN cert for Exchange as long as you use autodiscover.yourdomain.com as the common name – it’s only a test, so it is perfectly acceptable. That way you can get a free trial certificate (there is no free trial for SAN cert but there is for simple SSL certs). The Office 365 Enterprise account trial only lasts one month, and ensure that once it ends, it will not automatically be turned into an on-going service and you don’t get charged – I called Telstra to confirm. To gain access to the trial account you’ll need a credit card and a registered business – at least that’s how it worked for me in Australia.

      Good luck!

  47. Elvis Palombizio says:

    Yes, it’s that bad.. believe me, it’s not a decision I made easily. I’ve been dealing with an intermittent issue with Online UM not answering calls in a timely fashion (over 30 or 40 seconds) which is especially frustrating to end users and clients. UM support has been unable to give me a straight answer for months on this as to whether they can fix it or not… some days they are still trying to reproduce the problem, other days it’s they think they might know what it is but are not sure, and yet other days its “we need more logs”… It’s been going on like this for 4-6 months.. Add that to the seemingly weekly issues with Outlook clients not updating in a timely fashion (OWA is fine) and it’s just been an incredibly draining headache for me.

    The overwhelming majority of the issues started when our tenant was upgraded to Wave 15, but the voicemail issue was happening before the move as well..

    Zoltan – that’s for your info and I’ll look through the article to see if it can help me out!

  48. Elvis Palombizio says:

    None here either..

    Zoltan – Do you have references to Exchange 2013. When I installed Exchange 2013, it detected a hybrid organization and I ended up installing Exchange referencing the MyTenantOrganizationConfig file.. After the install was completed, all the EAC will show me is three options on the left side and none that allow me to modify the actual server roles themselves (strange).


    • Zoltan Erszenyi says:

      Sorry Elvis, I haven’t.

      • Lee says:

        This great Zoltan 😉 thanks for helping the community to move back to Exchange On-Premises in time of crises in Public Cloud.
        I know couple cases Public Cloud was a disaster and they had to move back to Exchange On-Premises but the IT manager lost his job.
        I will look you up Zoltan in LinkedIn.com 🙂

  49. A little late to the party…but a key cost some of you are missing is on-premesis licensing. Sure, it only costs $x salary for your uber-exchange guy, but your per-user cost for on-prem licensing is quite expensive. It’s fairly straightforward…if I am missing something please clear it up for future readers.

    Assumption is ~80 users, 3-year lifecycle. Costs are On-prem/O365 midsize. Products covered are Exchange/SharePoint/Lync/file server (i.e. move to SkyDrive Pro).

    Year1 cost is $75k/16k.
    Year2 cost is $5k/16k.
    Year3 cost is $5k/16k.
    Year4 cost is $75k/16k.

    Over 3 years you’d pay $85k for on-prem, and $48k for O365 (midsize). Granted you will potentially have support issues, but much less so for the midsize/enterprise plans. So think of it this way – you halve your CapEx (we’re not even discussing hardware/environment concerns here) and potentially slash the skill-level and time requirements for IT Ops support staff.

    Assuming your internet connection can deal with it and you’re not trying to be super-fancy (SharePoint, specifically) with custom everything – i.e. you just need out of the box functionality – how can this NOT be a serious discussion of moving toward the cloud? Our CIO looked at the cost comparison and immediately put the on-prem stuff on hold until we had a solid understanding of Office 365.

    What am I missing?

    • Chris,

      I won’t quibble with your costs as costs vary enormously from company to company. And I am on record at many conferences as saying that a) I won’t deploy on-premises Exchange for a startup company and b) the same applies for most small to medium companies (anything under 1,000 seats) who cannot afford all of the surrounding costs for an on-premises deployment. Staff costs are just one part of the equation.

      The calculation becomes enormously more difficult for medium to large enterprises, especially those that are widely distributed and/or multi-national. Issues like data privacy become more important and migration to the cloud more costly and extended (and they need a plan B to get back from the cloud too).

      In any case, you’re responding to a rather old post at this point. The service evolves all the time so new information is always becoming available. Stay up to date with my WindowsITPro.com blog and posts like http://windowsitpro.com/blog/comparing-office-365-numbers-total-exchange-installed-base.

      – Tony

  50. nick1 says:

    you can try to perform a quick repair the existing office installation.
    I don’t recommend an online installation as it may reset the activation settings.
    for more understanding, I hope the below link should be useful for you.

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