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Microsoft Delivers Office 365 Integration with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials

Microsoft Delivers Office 365 Integration with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials

I've been waiting for this since it was announced at TechEd 2011, but Microsoft today finally released the Office 365 Integration Module (OIM) for Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2011 Essentials. This lets you use the online services in Office 365 together with the on premise user management capabilities of SBSE in a seamless way.

"The OIM allows customers using Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials to run the core technology services they need on-premise and easily integrate with Office 365 for email and collaboration—without increasing management costs or complexity," the Official SBS Blog announced. "The OIM helps centralize user and server management, enabling small businesses to manage their users' access to services offered both locally and in the cloud from one single place, thus saving time and money. For example, a small business with SBS 2011 Essentials that already has a number of local users and has just subscribed to Office 365 can provision them all into the cloud with a very simple wizard."
When Microsoft first "demonstrated" the OIM at TechEd, the product wasn't anywhere close to ready so it just showed off static screen shots showing how it expected the add-on to work. Since then, the company delivered a pre-release versions of OIM in early November.
According to Microsoft, The Office 365 Integration Module for Windows SBS 2011 Essentials extends the features of the server Dashboard by providing seamless integration with Office 365 services. When you integrate Office 365 with the server, you can:
Subscribe to Office 365 or configure the server to use an existing subscription.
Perform the following Office 365 account management tasks from the Dashboard: Bulk create Office 365 accounts for network user accounts, assign new or existing Office 365 accounts to network user accounts, and manage the Office 365 account assigned to a user account throughout the lifecycle of the user account. (For example, deactivating a network user account also deactivates the Office 365 account that is assigned to the user account.)
Synchronize passwords for network user accounts and Office 365 accounts. This allows network users to sign in to Office 365 using their Windows password.
Link an Internet domain that you have set up on Window SBS to Office 365.
View information about your Office 365 subscription.
Access your Office 365 management portal from the Office 365 page of the server Dashboard.
The OIM is the third major add-on release for SBSE this year, after the Windows 7 Professional Pack Add-in for SBS Essentials and the Windows Phone Connector.
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