What are some of the top changes coming to the next release of BPOS (Online Services) for education?

I have been asked this by several education customers evaluating our cloud solution so I put together a top 10 list of our proposed upcoming online services features (diagrams from our product teams or personal screen shots):


1) Single Sign On and identity federation with On Prem Active Directory

True federation using ADFS 2.0 and Microsoft Federation Gateway which allows for the ability to leverage your on prem AD credentials against our online cloud services.  This eliminates the need for the pseudo-SSO client, dual passwords, dual identities, etc.


2) Calendar federation with Exchange on prem (Free/busy or varied calendar details) and Live@edu’s Outlook Live

A popular request for hybrid scenarios where you can share your cloud calendar with external Exchange entities. Another popular request is to share online calendar information with students hosted on Outlook Live.  Read more about Exchange 2010 calendar federation on my post here.


3) Exchange Online Unified Messaging – can leverage voicemail in the cloud with your on prem PBX

There is a lot of movement with customers wanting to retire legacy voicemail systems in education. The upcoming Exchange Online release will now support voicemail in the cloud where your on prem PBX can send unanswered calls to Exchange Online for voicemail.  A session border controller is needed to support this design.


4) Office Web Apps

Office in the cloud will be popular in education since it will allow you to run applications like Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, and OneNote 2010 in any browser without Office 2010 installed locally. The nice part here is you can maintain fidelity with Office 2010 locally unlike other cloud office application like solutions.


5) E-discovery and Archiving native with Exchange Online

Exchange Online will provide native archiving, legal hold, and e-discovery which will meet a lot of compliance and regulation needs without having to leverage an add-on solution for Exchange Online such as Exchange Hosted Archiving.

6) Cross prem Exchange management – e.g. can migrate from on prem 2010 to cloud 2010 or vice versa

This is a useful hybrid feature if you have some of your campus on prem and some of your campus in the cloud. The Exchange 2010 on prem administration console has plumbing to support cloud mailbox management and migration, etc.

7) OWA browser parity – works with full fideilty with Safari and Firefox

Exchange Online will have full browser parity with Safari and Firefox which is a big ask in education.

8) External access and sandboxed application support for Sharepoint Online

SharePoint Online moving to SharePoint 2010 platform will bring about significant changes for the online offering including the ability to access SharePoint sites externally (read off campus users) as well as host custom SharePoint applications in a sandboxed fashion.

9) OCS Online federation with Live@edu IM and OCS on prem

OC Online will bring the ability to federate with students hosted on Live@edu or with OCS on prem (hybrid) or other OCS entities.


10) More granular administrative control and SMTP smarthosting

The online platform is providing much richer granular administrative control which is a common ask with multiple campuses/colleges and also the ability to provide smarthosting which is useful for multi-smtp domain hosting.


Here is our public announcement of the upcoming BPOS features released this week from the Worldwide Partner Conference:

Office Web Apps Updates
  • Word Web App
  • Excel Web App
  • PowerPoint Web App
  • OneNote Web App
Exchange Online Updates
  • Voice mail with Unified Messaging
  • Integrated archiving
  • Retention policies and legal hold
  • Transport rules
  • Multi-mailbox search
  • Conversation View
  • MailTips
  • Enhanced Web-based administration
  • Role-Based Access Control
  • Remote PowerShell
  • Free/busy between cloud and on-premises
  • Cross-premises management
  • Native migration tools
SharePoint Online Updates
  • Portal site templates
  • Extranet access
  • Anonymous Access
  • Multi-Lingual UI
  • Office 2010 integration
  • Tagging, Rating, Tag Cloud
  • Activity Feed, Social Networking, Note Board
  • Improved Wikis & Blogs
  • Content publishing
  • Navigation controls
  • Cross site-collection search
  • Phonetic search
  • People search
  • Visio Services
  • Excel Services
  • Sandboxed Solutions
  • Improved workflows
  • Improved SharePoint Designer 2010
  • Access Services
  • Better controls of FQDNs
Office Communications Online Updates
  • P2P A/V across firewall
  • File transfer across firewall
  • Presence with pictures
  • Federation
  • IM with Windows Live

Additional features will be available based on Communications Server “14” as part of ongoing service updates.

Platform Updates
  • Free/Busy co-existence
  • Single Sign On
  • Identity federation
  • Redesigned admin interface

More administration and access control

Comments (3)

  1. markga says:


    Timelines have not been announced yet but it is slated for this FY11 (before June 30, 2011). There will be a tech preview availble in the Fall timeframe.

  2. Preston Gallwas says:

    Big question:  When? 🙂

    Very interested in federation for SSO for Exchange|Outlook + IM.

  3. Preston Gallwas says:

    D'oh!  We're looking to implement something by March/April next year.  The price tag for Live@EDU (hehe) really interested management so now its just a matter of making sure it is going to work for us.  Thanks for the response :-)!

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