Category Archives: Cloud

PowerBiz Solutions gains Microsoft Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency


PowerBiz Solutions today announced that it has successfully achieved the Microsoft silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency. Partners demonstrating professional and proficient capability in assisting small and medium sized businesses moving to the Cloud can attain this certification upon satisfying established performance criteria and providing customer references.

The competency demonstrations the continued dedication and commitment to excellence in enabling businesses to use technology as a business advantage to achieve their targets and objectives. PowerBiz Solutions continues to provide high quality technical expertise to enable small and medium business to be efficient and effective in the use of Microsoft on-premises and cloud technologies based on Windows Server, Windows 10, Office 365 and Azure.



PODCAST: Hybrid Cloud Strategy options

I spoke with Robert Crane from CIAOPS – Need to Know podcasts on the options that are available to small businesses in creating a cost effective hybrid IT solution.

Listen to the podcast here –

Your most common questions regarding Shared Computer Activation in Office 365 ProPlus answered

Microsoft’s Garage Series Team have released a video to answer the most common questions regarding Shared Computer Activation in Office 365 ProPlus.

  • How do I use shared computer activation and what do I need to download or enable in Office 365?
  • I’m a small business or bought Office 365 directly or via a 3rd party. Can I use shared computer activation if I don’t have Volume Licensing versions of Office?
  • Can I use Office 365 ProPlus with shared computer activation in my standard image? What if some people don’t have Office 365 ProPlus rights on those PCs?
  • Will shared computer activation work with Citrix XenApp, Azure RemoteApp or similar remoting solutions?
  • Can I replace normal, user-based subscription activation completely with shared computer Activation? Are there any disadvantages?

Watch the Video here.

To find out how to configure this, view the blog post  here –

Join me on 30 Jan at the Adelaide MVP Community Camp 2015

I will be presenting a session titled “The Best of Both Worlds – Maximising Microsoft Technologies in Hybrid Deployments SMBs. The session is not just for IT Professionals. If you are a small business owner, there will be some great nuggets of information to take back to your business for further thought and planning with your IT provider.

You can register for the event here –

Unlimited cloud storage on OneDrive for Office 365 subscribers

Yes, that is not a typo. Microsoft is offering unlimited storage on OneDrive for Office 365 subscribers.

This news was released via their blog here –

“Today, storage limits just became a thing of the past with Office 365. Moving forward, all Office 365 customers will get unlimited OneDrive storage at no additional cost. We’ve started rolling this out today to Office 365 Home, Personal, and University customers. “

What about OneDrive for Business? That will be coming in 2015! –

“We are announcing the removal of current limits on external users for all SharePoint Online plans. Specifically, the changes will be as follows. The external users limit for Office 365 Small Business and Small Business Premium will change from 500 to Unlimited. The external users limit for Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Enterprise plans (including E1 – E4, A2-A4, G1-G4, and SharePoint Online Plan 1 and Plan 2) will change from 10,000 to Unlimited.

Migration and Disaster Recovery to Azure using Azure Site Recovery

Microsoft Azure have announced the general availability of Azure Site Recovery services. The announcement by Abhishek Hemrajani is as follows.

“I am excited to announce the GA of the Disaster Recovery to Azure using Azure Site Recovery. In addition to enabling replication to and recovery in Microsoft Azure, ASR enables automated protection of VMs, remote health monitoring, no-impact recovery plan testing, and single click orchestrated recovery – all backed by an enterprise-grade SLA.

The DR to Azure functionality in ASR builds on top of System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Windows Server Hyper-V Replica, and Microsoft Azure to ensure that our customers can leverage existing IT investments while still helping them optimize precious CAPEX and OPEX spent in building and managing secondary datacenter sites.

The GA release also brings significant additions to the already expansive list of ASR’s DR to Azure features:

  • NEW ASR Recovery Plans and Azure Automation integrate to offer robust and simplified one-click orchestration of your DR plans
  • NEW Track Initial Replication Progress as virtual machine data gets replicated to a customer-owned and managed geo-redundant Azure Storage account. This new feature is also available when configuring DR between on-premises private clouds across enterprise sites
  • NEW Simplified Setup and Registration streamlines the DR setup by removing the complexity of generating certificates and integrity keys needed to register your on-premises System Center Virtual Machine Manager server with your Site Recovery vault”

The following scenarios are supported.

Costing can be found here –

You can read more from the blog post here –

Virtualization for Small Businesses


Join me this coming Thursday 20 March 2014 for an online presentation “Virtualization with Hyper-V and Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials for Small Business.” You can register for the session here –

I will be presenting the session in conjunction with the MVP Community Camp 2014, where MVPs from around the Asia Pacific Region will present online and live sessions on a plethora of topics.

Join us on Saturday 22 March 2014, if you are in any major city for live sessions – Especially if you live in Adelaide!

For more information, visit to register.

Some useful PowerShell Commands for working with Office 365

I had to diagnose some issue that a client was having with Office 365 Exchange. A lot of features are found “under the hood” and are accessible using PowerShell. Here are some common basic comamnds that will help in connecting to your Exchange Online account. Thanks to Robert Crane, Office 365 MVP, for his helpful blog ( in getting me started.

EDIT: There are new files to be downloaded in order to get the Powershell modules (

1. Install the Azure Active Directory Modules.

2. Set up your credentials to login to Microsoft Online. $cred=get-credential

3. Connect to the Microsoft Online Service. connect-msolservice –credential $cred

4. You can now use PowerShell command to view and manage your Office 365 account.

  1. Check expiry status of all users. get-msoluser –all | format-table userprincipalname, passwordneverexpires
  2. Display a list of all contacts. Get-Contact
  3. Here is a useful command reference –  [EDIT: Now relocated here –]

5. If you need to work with Exchange Online, you can open a session by running the following two commands.

  • $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $Cred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
  • Import-PSSession $Session

After this, you can manage your Exchange service with more advanced commands. For example, I had to cancel forwarding on a user account (which I could not see using the Web App or in Outlook) using the following command – Set-Mailbox -Identity <> -DeliverToMailboxAndForward $false -ForwardingSMTPAddress $null

I was also able to check the Out of Office settings using this command –

Get-Mailbox <> | Get-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration

How to manually configure Outlook 2010 for Office 365

Sometimes, the domain hosting company is not able to properly configure autodiscover CNAME records to enable the domain to work properly with the Office 2010 auto configuration wizard. In this case, it may be necessary to manually configure Outlook 2010 to connect to the Office 365 servers.

1. Login to the Microsoft Online Services portal at and open up the Outlook Web App.


2. Note down the address of the server – ie.


3. Open up the Add New Account wizard (From the Mail settings in the Control Panel)

4. Select Manually configure server settings or additional server types.


5. Select Microsoft Exchange or compatible service.


6. Enter the following information. The server name is the name of the Outlook Web App server, with an extra “mailbox” added in. ie. ->

Put in the user’s Office 365 email address in the User Name.

DO NOT CLICK the Check Name button yet. Instead, click on the More Settings button.


7. Navigate to the Connection tab, check the Connect to Microsoft Exchange using HTTP tick box and click on the Exchange Proxy Settings button.


8. Enter the information in as shown. Once again, use the name of the server as noted in the Outlook Web App screen.


9. Select OK twice, and then Click Check Name at the Add New Account screen.


10. A Windows Security window will appear. Type in the Office 365 credentials here.


11. If everything authenticates properly, the Server and Username Fields will be underlined and you can now click Next, and complete the wizard.