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Networking - Optimizing your Network

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1h 10m

Microsoft 365 represents a combination of Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility offerings – providing the most complete set of SaaS technologies that Microsoft has to offer. With Microsoft 365, organizations can deploy a complete solution encompassing both devices and applications, along with applying security and compliance policies to protect the entire suite.

This course will help you as you plan your migration of users and data to Microsoft 365, including planning your identity and authentication solution, and the on-premises infrastructure needed to support your migration. We’ll also help you understand and identify your business requirements and use cases, to help drive your decision-making process when planning to transition your infrastructure to the Microsoft cloud. We’ll spend some time focusing on networking and discuss some of the networking decisions that need to be made to ensure an optimal migration experience, as well as the best experience for your users after migration.

This course will also help you to identify which data needs to be migrated to the cloud, and what the best migration method will be based on your scenario – we’re also going to cover the different types of user identities, how your users will authenticate, and how that’s going to affect your migration planning.

In addition to talking about these different components, we’re also going to run through a few demos – showing you some of the practical steps involved, along with some tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way. 

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Plan a Microsoft 365 Implementation, including the supporting infrastructure
  • Plan your identity and authentication solution, both on-premises and in the cloud
  • Identify your users, data, and mailboxes to be migrated to Microsoft 365
  • Plan the migration of your groups and user data to Microsoft 365

Intended Audience

This course is intended for people who:

  • Want to become a Microsoft 365 administrator
  • Are preparing to take the Microsoft’s MS-100 exam 


To get the most from this course, you should have a general understanding of networking & server administration as well as IT fundamentals such as DNS, Active Directory and PowerShell.


Let's start with the first item on the list: Networking. It's no surprise that with a cloud-connected set of services, your connectivity to these services is extremely important. 

The primary goal of your network design should be to optimize your end user experience by enabling the least restrictive access between the clients and the closest Office 365 endpoints. Now this doesn't have to be incredibly complicated. In fact, you don't need to have crazy high bandwidth, MPLS connectivity, or an Express Route to the Microsoft datacenters. In fact, Microsoft 365 services are intended to be accessed over the internet, and your deployment will function well if you keep a few key principles in mind. 

First, allow each site's network traffic to egress directly to Office 365 and no route back through a central site that might be potentially far away. Even if you have specific security requirements for certain network traffic to be routed back to your office for packet inspection before exit to firewall to the internet, your best experience with Microsoft 365 is going to be to identify traffic destined for Microsoft's network and allow that traffic to exit to the internet directly. The closer your users are to the Microsoft Global Network, the better it will be for them. 

If your network traffic needs to travel halfway around the country or to another country altogether, your users are going to experience very poor performance. Secondly, ensure that your users or sites are accessing local DNS for name resolution on the internet. I've seen it happen before where DNS lookups were configured incorrectly, pointing back to the head office rather than pointing to a local network provider. The resulting latency and name resolution, combined with routing users to a cloud application entry point that was geographically quite far away from where they were physically located, ended up introducing incredible lag and slow network connectivity to Office 365 services. 

Thirdly, it's recommended whenever possible to allow Office 365 traffic to bypass proxies and packet inspection devices. While these types of security systems are important to mitigate risks from general web traffic, doing things like SSL inspection and offloading can dramatically reduce performance, scalability, and the quality of end user experience when applied to Office 365 endpoints. Microsoft has designed their network for optimal performance and security, with the intention of reducing the need for client endpoint security for trusted traffic. In fact, treating network traffic from the Microsoft datacenters as trusted allows you to provide direct network paths to your on-premises infrastructure, while still maintaining a high level of security for the rest of your network traffic. At the end of the day, optimizing Office 365 network performance really comes down to removing unnecessary impediments. By treating Office 365 connections as trusted traffic, you can prevent latency and network delays from being introduced by packet inspection, as well as from competing for proxy bandwidth. 

Allowing local connections between client machines and Office 365 endpoints enables traffic to be dynamically routed through the Microsoft Global Network. For more information on network optimization and optimal configuration, go to the docs.microsoft.com site and look at the Office 365 Networking Overview and Network Planning and Performance pages.

About the Author

Jeremy Dahl is a Senior Technology Consultant who has spent the last 8 years focusing on Microsoft 365 technologies and has been an Office 365 MVP for the last 6 years. Jeremy is a self-proclaimed cloud addict who architects technology solutions that combine cloud technologies with on-premises solutions, allowing organizations to make the most of their existing infrastructure while still taking full advantage of the agility and scalability of what the cloud has to offer.

Jeremy can be found blogging about Microsoft 365 technologies on his website, masterandcmdr.com, and evangelizing the Microsoft cloud on Twitter.