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Microsoft Office 365 Deployment Models

Author: Camilo Lotero

Camilo Lotero is a Senior Technical Marketing Manager at VMware End-User Computing (EUC) focusing in Identity and Access Management. He has been with VMware for 5 years in various teams including Technical Support, Sales Engineering and Technical Marketing. Camilo has served as a technical advisor for clients across all different market verticals, as well as provide technical enablement across different teams within VMware. Camilo holds a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Microsoft Office 365 is well-known as a cloud-based option for enterprise enablement apps. Most organizations utilizing enterprise applications, also want enterprise grade security. One way to securely leverage Office 365 is through VMware Workspace ONE integration. However, Office 365 with VMware Workspace ONE integration is not a solitary use case. Rather, the way Office 365 is set up impacts Workspace ONE integration. Today’s post identifies four common Office 365 deployment models. It compares the available models to inform decision making about Office 365 implementation.

[Related: Better Together: VMware Workspace ONE & Office 365]

Introduction to Office 365

Office 365 is an offering from Microsoft’s comprehensive cloud-based stack, the Azure platform. The Azure platform also includes the following:

Common offerings from the Azure Cloud

The move from an on-premise infrastructure to the cloud provides the following benefits:

Advantages of moving to O365 infrastructure

Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud approach to content collaboration and email services. It provides a complete office experience…completely in the cloud! Available services include the following:

Office 365 Offerings

Office 365 Deployment Models

Even though companies use most of the same Office 365 services, every use case is unique. This leads to four typical deployment models for O365.

Azure Active Directory Pure Cloud

  • Master User Location – Azure Active Directory
  • User Credentials – Azure Cloud user credentials
  • Functionality – Delivers available Azure functionality

Azure AD Connect

  • Master User Location – On-Premises Active Directory
  • User Credentials – Password hash sync for user credentials
  • Functionality – Delivers available Azure functionality

Azure AD Federation

  • Master User Location – On-Premises Active Directory
  • User Credentials – On-Premises user credentials
  • Functionality – Delivers most Azure functionality

Azure AD Pass-Through Auth

  • Master User Location – On-Premises Active Directory
  • User Credentials – On-Premises user credentials
  • Functionality – Delivers most Azure functionality

Office 365 Deployment Model Components

One consideration to keep in mind when it comes to choosing an O365 deployment model, are the additional components required. The following table highlights the simplicity of the pure cloud setup as compared to the other available options. However, while simplicity is valuable, the business size paired with existing master user location dictates the feasibility of a pure cloud approach.

For example, if the existing master user location is on-premises, the pure cloud approach does not usually make sense. Instead, Azure AD Connector, Azure AD Federation, and Azure AD Pass-through provide more suitable options.

Components of Office 365 Deployment Models

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