Posts Tagged internet service provider

Get connected… with Kordia

Cloud computing is initially seen as a way of reducing cost to a business. This is achieved, of course, by moving all “back office” services such as email servers, collaboration servers and communications servers into a shared platform. When we talk about Microsoft Office 365 in New Zealand, those services are hosted in a data center managed by Microsoft in Singapore (there is a “geo-redundant” data center in Hong Kong). That isn’t going to change, the “addressable market” is the important factor behind offering these services at such a low price. There just aren’t enough people in New Zealand for Microsoft to even consider building a data center here. Microsoft are very transparent as to where your data resides and how to get connected to it. Microsoft even go to the extent of making the IP addresses of their data center public information. They can be found here: http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/Office365-enterprises/hh373144.aspx

In a previous post I talked about the isolation New Zealand faces when it comes to being connected to the internet. I’ve had customers who have decided to adopt cloud computing without considering their internet connection. This usually proved disastrous, seeing connectivity fail completely in some instances. It all comes down to the due care that the ISP (Internet Service Provides) gives to routing traffic once it leaves our shores. Despite efforts from the government to enhance the connectivity to the internet via the UFB (Ultra Fast Broadband) initiative, this is only going to affect traffic within the country, its what happens once the data leave New Zealand that is important, particularly when it comes to adopting cloud services.

Until recently there have only been “loose” relationships held by our telcos with overseas ISP’s. For instance Telstra clear have an agreement with the global consortium Reach Global Services to route international traffic for their customers, this is known as a peering agreement. This agreement sees various routes used depending on the time of day, or even the nature of the data being sent. In my time working with BPOS and then Office 365 customers I haven’t found an ISP that offered a tailored link to the Microsoft data centers in Singapore.

Then along came Kordia

Kordia recently announced their intention to provide customers with a tailored connection to the internet, offering prioritized connectivity to the Microsoft Office 365 data centers in Singapore. This was to address the less than average connection provided by other telcos and assist IT companies deliver the best experience to their customers with an Office 365 solution. This was made possible by leveraging Kordia’s existing infrastructure in Sydney and the acquisition of a dedicated link to Singapore from the Sydney site. Where other telco’s may route your traffic via the USA to Singapore, Kordia offer the most direct route seeing ping times (latency) drop from the average 400ms to 150ms, making sharepoint online silky smooth. For the press release : http://www.kordia.co.nz/_blog/What%27s_new/post/link_to_Microsoft/

With any cloud solution the most critical thing to consider ahead of your deployment has to be your connection to the internet. For the best solution on the market today your first port of call has to be Kordia. Microsoft Online Services have been sold in New Zealand since April 2009 and to date there has been no telco other than Kordia offering an optimized connection to the data center in Singapore. Kordia also offer a certified SIP trunk for Microsoft Lync server (the only certified provider in New Zealand), this suited to an on-premise deployment only at this stage…. but we can hope this will integrate with Lync online at some stage in the future…. imagine, click to call land-lines from within Office 365 / Lync!

Simple maths really… Office 365 = Kordia

If you want to know more about the Kordia offerings please feel free to contact me nick@itprofessional.co.nz for more information.

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Before you start…

I’ve spoken about the simplicity of a cloud solution and what it can offer. Now I want to cover off the changes you need to make to your current environment before making the move to the cloud.

Most companies out there have a website or at least a domain name which represents their business name or brand. This domain name becomes a part of a businesses identity and is usually the suffix for every employees email address. The Domain Name System or DNS record is where this information is stored; this DNS record is usually hosted or administered by your Internet Service Provider or ISP. In some cases a dedicated DNS registrar i.e. Godaddy, Freeparking or Network Solutions may host the DNS record.

Note: DNS record account information can be one of the hardest things to track down. Make sure you have this information available before signing up to any cloud service.

Migrating to any cloud service requires changes to the DNS records for a company. This isn’t as scary as it may sound however it may be more challenging that first thought. Not all DNS service providers are created equal and the lack of customization can cause a roadblock for your migration. It pays to be on top of things and get any DNS issues resolved first with your service provider.

The DNS changes for Office 365 are very simple however there is one record which may not be supported by your service provider. This record is called the SRV record and is used for Lync online Federation. Federation for Lync is important if you want to use Lync with other companies or communicate with people who have accounts on other messaging platforms such as Live Messenger etc. If you do not need the Federation functionality of Lync then the SRV record change is not required.

The other records that need to be changed/modified are:

  • CNAMEThis is a redirect record, it allows Office 365 to determine that you own the domain in question and also allows your clients to automatically detect the settings for Exchange Online and Lync Online.
  • TXT – This record is used to assist Exchange
  • MX – The MX record or Mail Exchanger is the one record that can interrupt your mail flow. This record is only changed once the migration to Office 365 or any cloud based email solution is complete. Be careful the MX record change can and will stop you from receiving any emails! I suggest making any changes to the MX records on the weekend.

These changes are only required for the Enterprise Plans within Office 365, the P Plan or the Small Business offering allows you to use Microsoft to host your DNS records, you will still need to make changes to the Name Server of your DNS record, again this is done via your ISP or existing DNS registrar.

For more information go to the Office 365 support pages: here

Changes to DNS records are made either via a portal provided by your ISP or over the phone. 99% of the time the ISP will provide a portal which requires a specific syntax to make the change.  As I said before, some ISP’s may only give a very basic interface that may not allow you to make some changes. Make yourself familiar with the experience before proceeding with your migration.

Within Office 365 you are able to add as many domains as you wish and have multiple email addresses associated with every user. Once you have registered a domain name you can now use that as the default username for the services.

Ill talk about how to get your data into the cloud in my next post…

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