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Office 365 Deployment Models

Hannah Jernigan

Author: Hannah Jernigan

Hannah is a technical writer for the VMware End-User Computing technical marketing team.

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Office 365, the cloud-based version of the well-known enterprise enablement apps is often misunderstood as a single use case with a single form of implementation. However, a variety of factors result influence this use case, resulting in four primary deployment models. Today’s post reviews the available deployment models and highlights the differences to help you determine how to implement Office 365.

[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.

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:

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. If the existing master user location is on-premises, it often makes more sense use one of the remaining three options. Azure AD Connector, Azure AD Federation, and Azure AD Pass-through all bridge the gap between on-premises user storage, and authentication into a cloud service.

Office 365 Deployment Model Components

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